Fewer than 25 seeds???

Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)November 11, 2008

What seeds do you sometimes send in quantities of less than 25 seeds?

What seeds would you gladly trade for that were is a quantity of less than 25 seeds?

I know several things are what I consider 'special', or 'sort of special' and I would be satisfied with a lot fewer than 25 seeds.

Some things I have to trade, I have stipulated a quantity of less than 25 seeds.

Things that come to mind, that I would be happy/satisfied receiving in just 6 seeds would be

Tomatoes-I like to grow a variety, and really only need one or 2 plants of any particular variety.

peppers-again, I do not want or need 25 plants of any one variety

Sweet Peas-again, I prefer variety, and 6 seeds (or even less) would suite me fine

Morning Glories-again, I prefer variety, and some of the more special ones are quite expensive if bought commercially.

Iris-I recently offered up some iris seeds to 3 different varieties. I think I sent 10 seeds of each variety. Given the space a mature iris rhizome needs if planted correctly, 10 irises would make quite a display.

I recently collected small quantities of seeds from numerous named Lilac Bushes. I have not decided just what quantity I will offer up in a trade, but it will likely be 6 seeds, which would be stipulated either in my post, or on my trade list. I would much rather share something that was sort of special with numerous members, as opposed to sending the whole quantity of 15, 20, or 25 seeds to just one member. I suppose one could add that multiple trades of that item might be available upon request.

What are your thoughts on different varieties of seeds.

I have read several places (I think) that 1/4 teaspoon is a good quantity for particularly small seeds. Well, that certainly does not hold true for a lot of seeds that are especially small, such as sedums, rose moss, and so many others. One might trade 1/2 ts of poppy seeds if they were grown and harvested seeds, but if a member was sharing some commercially bought seeds the 1/4 ts measurement would certainly not apply, in my humble opinion. I have received in very small quantities of very small commercially bought poppy seeds and was thrilled that the member had shared something so special with me.

While I agree that 25 or more seeds is the norm for most things, what do you think are the exceptions to that rule?

Maybe Hybrid commercially bought Sunflower Seeds?

Maybe other Hybrid commercially purchased seeds?


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I prefer to grow fewer plants of more varieties so less is more in my mind.
Also, if I have taken the time to put it on my "want" list, I would be happy to have only a few seeds.
There are few species that I would need more than a dozen seeds of in any case. Exceptions would be seeds that are often broadcast rather than individually sown.
I usually package 20-25 average size seeds for trades, but very large, expensive or hard to find seeds may have considerably less in a package, which I disclose to prevent any confusion.
I don't let having only a few seeds of something keep me from sending it to someone I know would like to have it as a bonus or in a wish list swap.
Some is better than none.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 1:25PM
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I know most of my MGs are certainly stingy in the seed department so I couldn't possibly trade 25...shucks sometimes 10 is to much!! If it's something I'm looking for, I'm happy to get what I can. I usually stipulate what I have when initiating or answering a trade.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 2:22PM
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I think Id be open to small trades of almost anything, with one qualifier. I want to KNOW that its a small trade up front. Its no fun to be surprised with a tiny amount especially when you've sent a ton of seeds in return.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 6:25PM
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tree or bushes ill put small amount of seeds in. 12-15
who needs 25 trees? lol if they do i could just give em 2 pks.
i think if you let people know on your page you only have a few seeds in a pk its good.

i will trade a 25pk of seeds for a lesser count if its somthing i want. i look more at what seeds someone has rather than count.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 8:02PM
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SusanC(9b/10a Sunset 17)

I indicate on my trade page if the seed trade quantity for a particular seed will be less than 25 seeds. I trade big bulky seeds like Brugmansias and Runner Beans in smaller quantities; generally 15, sometimes 10. (Does anyone really want 25 Brugmansia plants?) I may also trade in smaller quantities if it is a plant that is very in demand but is hard to collect from/a stingy seed producer. Also, if I have seed left over from my own sowing, it may be only a small quantity, but I'll offer it up to share and indicate that it's a small amount.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 9:48PM
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I rarely purchase seeds but some of my traders do and I know that rare/hard-to-find seeds can cost a lot (plus S&H) and probably don't come with many seeds to a pack. I know that seeds for hardy cyclamen, podophyllum, hellebores and certain tree seeds are expensive, so if a trader is kind enough to share with me I am really happy to even get just a few.

Some of my cooler plants set very small quantities of seed or they are hard to harvest (for example, many hardy geraniums have seed pods that explode when ripe, so if you don't get them at the right time, tough luck) but I always try to put that in the description.

And as susanc stated, if I have leftovers from trades, sometimes there are only a few of each variety, and I try to indicate that as well.


    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 12:13AM
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plant-one-on-me(MI 5b)

I am thrilled just for the chance to start something new and am happy just to get 6-10 seeds of anything I don't have. My space is more limited and I am very patient and know most things will spread on their own or I can collect my own seeds in the future.


    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 10:43AM
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jaleeisa(6b Oklahoma)

For me, I'm always thrilled to receive something really special or interesting to me (not necessarily rare, just something I'm really wanting) Should have seen me when a friend mailed me 8 black Tacca seeds out of the blue! I was dancing through the house and everyone thought I'd finally lost it completely... until they saw what the seeds were! Alright, so those are rare and expensive, but I get excited over much more common stuff too :P In a trade, I always note if something a small trade, and those usually aren't listed on my page, unless it's something less common, they just come up in the course of negotiation. Especially if I see it on someone's wants list.

If I know it's a smaller amount during the negotiations, it's fine because I've agreed to it. Usually, especially with trees, shrubs, veggies, etc, I only need a few seeds, and like Sue, I like variety! Flowers, depending on what they are, how big they are and the space I have for them, it's fine too. I agree that broadcast seeds I wouldn't want to receive 10 or 15.

I've gotten to where I'm like Sue and recap the entire trade from both sides and make sure we're in agreement. I always note when smaller amounts are being exchanged on that, then I usually print the email to include with my end.


    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 6:08PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

I do my best to package seeds with 25 in a packet whenever I can. Larger seeds usually get 10-15 seeds.

tiny seeds are usually packaged in either 1/8 tsp or 1/4 teaspoon depending on how much I have of the seeds.

It also will depend on how many seeds I have of that plant and a lot of times, I am so excited to offer seeds of a particular plant that I will package them in smaller amounts so that more people have an opportunity to grow it.

Morning glory seeds, especially the Japanese type will always have fewer seeds in the packet and a lot of people, like myself, will have them available for trades for other morning glory seeds.

That's because the Japanese type make so few seeds to begin with.

What I really think is the most important thing is to post how many seeds are in each package on your trade page. It shouldn't be a surprise when you get your trade in the mail that you are getting only a few seeds in the trade.

Some people won't mind getting only 5 or 6 seeds of a certain type and others will be upset or disappointed. by showing the number of seeds for each trade, then there will be no surprises.

There are some traders who really do want an equal trade. same number of seeds per packet and same number of varieties or they will not trade.

I'm more than happy to trade several packets of seeds for just 1 in return, especially if it is something I really want.

Like Kathy, if you have what I really want, I don't care how many packets I send you or if I do an SASBE to get those seeds.

Must admit though, a few years ago, I did a trade with a member and my packets where labeled "about 1/8 teaspoon" and my trade page listed it that way as well.

I sent 4 packets with that amount of seed in each one and the trader e-mailed me very upset. 3 of the packets where "just shy of 1/8 teaspoon of seeds"

I e-mailed her back that I was sorry that it wasn't a perfect 1/8 teaspoon, but the trade was listed and the packets labeled "about 1/8 teaspoon" and that means a little more or a little less, not exactly 1/8 teaspoon.

She was a very angry trader and made it clear she would never trade with me again.

Anyways, I think it ends up being the decision of the trader as to how many seeds are in the seed packet and it should be listed on the trade page.

I do mine like this.

dianthus siberian blues, about 1/4 teaspoon - 8 trades

I also post a link to a pic of the plant whenever I can.

I think links to click on are better than the picture on the trade page as there are still a lot of people that dial up and not high speed internet access.


    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 7:55PM
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i'm in agreeance, i don't think you need 25 seeds at all!! unless i'm going to plant a whole row of something, i would rather have more little trades of something else. like maybe other flowers or veges. LOL if its a basket type thing, ohhh man, maybe 15 LOL. but i'd rather 5-7 of the seeds. unless they are the ones that might not germinate.then i'd want maybe 12-15 of them. but i see no reason to want so many, unless you get the ones like datura's or liatris or the heavy "breeders". but i get some people who want alot, i mean a real alot. they are just greedy, and make no bones about it. when my vigna and some of my other rare one's do start to, they will be less, i hate to be all like that but i paid lots for them babies!! and i just love them to pieces and i don't know, that's just how i feel!! LOL i agree with the tomato's, but maybe 8, only because i kill half of them, i don't know how. ~Medo

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 8:03PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

I like more. Here's why: pilot error - I winter sow very heavily and if something goes wrong, I need backup. Also, when I send to noobs, I want to be sure they have plenty to hold off pilot error and perhaps some to trade. I guess I don't worry about it so much with the vets, but I like to protect our noobs. Some donations are already packaged up, and if I feel a pack isn't as plump as I would like - I add a few.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 1:14PM
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holy crap fran lol i dont know what i would do if someone measured out seeds i sent. i dont measure im good at counting the small seeds. i sprinkle on white paper n scoop them in the envy counting as i go. i can use a paper envy kinda like a dust pan lol. i know with most small seeds theres 50-100 in a 1/8 teaspoon. or even "about' a 1/8. those small seeds may not look like much but if you count them out there is alot more than you think.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 3:44PM
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hmmm fran, i wonder if you and i had the same trader, i had one that read my page and even though at the time, mine said8-10 seeds per trade, she said ya i read that, but i think if you don't have that many seeds then you shouldn't be in this or something to that effect. she cursed my garden and all of its plants. but the funny thing was, before she got my seeds, it was like we were the best of friends or something, we were emailing back and forth, she sent me alot, so i just thanked her and apologized profusely and asked what i could do, blah blah blah and then when i seen there was absolutely no way i could make her happy, i just traded hers off. i didn't use any of them. it just made me sick. i don't see how people can be so entirely hateful over seeds. they were'nt even rare. just regular, some even weeds some would think. LOL

i use the 1/8 t but i tell ya, i have 3-4 of them, and they all measure differently. so that just don't count!!! LOL hmmm i wonder which one she was going by?? **grinn** ~Medo
(whispering-did ya tell her, its no sweat off my back?? *giggle* **big smile**) ~Medo whose going thru a onery streak cuz its so late and i'm running on something but i dn't know what! LOL

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 2:13AM
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angelady777 (was angelady on GW) - Zone 6(6)

Wow, this is a really interesting thread. I'm grateful so many people have responded. It was certainly one of my biggest concerns when I started trading. I was frantically looking for information on how many seeds is a good trade just to find nothing in writing anywhere about it. I was totally afraid that I'd mess it all up and be blackballed! LOL

Now that I've done it a little while (and I started with only commercial seeds knowing nothing about rare seeds vs. common seeds), I think that 25 seeds in most cases is way more than most of us are planting of everything. For flowers, 25 sounds fair, but for veggies, most of the time for those of us that like variety, we're not going to have 25 plants of each variety.

Then, you do have to consider that us newbies do kill some of our plants in the beginning as was previously mentioned, but we can still save seed if we just have one or two healthy plants out of the bunch, right?

I also was very grateful for more generous trades in the beginning because I didn't have too much to trade with and anything extra was helping my efforts in trading. I was and am just grateful to get 5 to 10 seeds of anything that I am asking for, but I want to know if that's all I'm getting if I'm sending 25 seeds to them in exchange. I might still send that many, but I just want to know is all.

It's kind of surprising to me how many traders do not put how many seeds per trade on their page. I'm not worried about it, but it was hard to figure out how to know what to send them when they didn't say what they were sending you. Now, I just send the 25 (maybe more depending on those that I have lots of).

I don't think that just because it's a small seed that we need 50 to 100 seeds/plants of that item. I noticed that a lot of people seem to expect more seed when it's small, but I figure is how many plants that I want, right? Why do I want more plants just because the seed is tiny? (LOL) Maybe it's just me, though...

As for simplifying it for newbies, it's probably best just to say to expect to trade 25 seeds per variety unless they're less common or rare seeds. I had no idea what that was so just seeing others lists where they showed less seeds per trade on certain things helped me. They might not put how many seeds per trade on everything else on their list, but on this particular item, they would, so it sort of made it more clear. Also, when you're new (or like me still at this point), I'm not going to pull out a teaspoon measurer for all my seeds. I just quickly scoop 25+ seeds into my seed packet and close it right up. Maybe I'll feel differently when I'm harvesting 1,000's of seeds and think that measuring is easier then, though?


    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 4:54AM
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dirtdiggin(8b NW WA)

As a 1+ month newbie, I can say this...I've had large trades (which gave me extras for possible trades along the way) and I've had small trades, which gave me items I didn't have and I will grow them out and collect seed. I've even gone so far as to educate myself on exactly how I can keep the touchy seed pure for future trades. I'm grateful for every trade. In fact, some of those little trades - 2-4 seeds - I am treasuring and will probably take more care in planting them to ensure a healthy plant or two from them. LOL

I agree that it's a nice thing to know ahead of time, but I still won't base my qty of shipment, to them, on their qty to me. If I have lots, I'll send a healthy qty. If I don't, I'll tell them and go from there.

Due to the fact that I don't want my seeds to sit and not be used and have to throw them away, I usually send qty based on how many I have. So if I have hundreds, I send more...then maybe someone can have a few trades later on, on me :)

I think an unreasonable person griping over a small trade ought to move on...or maybe they will begin to see the benefit in any size of trade. Getting nasty is simply unaccceptable and it shocks me that someone would be so heartless to a fellow trader.

I see a few folks I've traded with here on this thread and I have to say I treasure each and every seed I've received from you :) Thank you.

Just my point of view...I love trading :)


    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 3:11PM
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angelady777 (was angelady on GW) - Zone 6(6)

Very nicely put....


    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 1:29AM
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dirtdiggin(8b NW WA)

Thank you Angela :)

Fran...the term 'about' is the key to keeping those frustrated people from getting nasty. Unfortunately, there are a few in a crowd that will do anything they can to prove a point. The "1/8 tsp" instead of "approx 1/8 tsp" is enough for someone to create a problem....well not for the norm, but for that small percentage of folks that look that proverbial gift horse in the mouth.

Even when I count each and every seed, I still use the word approx...or I say 10-15, 20-25 or something like that. Cause if you count wrong....you'll get the noose.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 2:21AM
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I have never counted/measured seeds I've received, lol. Who are theses people who have the time to measure stuff out to the exact amount?
This reminds me of a few years back, the "chaff police" were out in full force. There were traders who expected seeds clean like they bought them. There might be a few of them still floating around, but the chaff hysteria has subsided.
I've always taken the 25 count as a general rule for common average size seeds. Like say Zinnias or Cosmos, they produce seed in abundance and the seeds are easily countable, but not too big.
I don't need tons of seeds. I only have so much room and I like to try new things. So I would rather get less of more varieties.

Tomatoes and Peppers- I usually do about 15 unless the trader wants more. Sometimes I have a lesser quantity, like 6 seeds, that I will offer for someone who wants a special variety.
Morning Glories- at least 6. Some are very stingy and I expect no more than 6.
Other plants that make really big seeds or not a lot of seeds like Daylilies or Peonies- I try to give at least 6.
Commercial seed, I usually don't give a lot, and I don't expect a lot. Only so much come in a pkt.
Difficult to harvest seed- (Try harvesting seeds from Veronica Gentianoides, and you'll know what I mean, lol.) I try to stay in the 15 seed range, but it varies.
Exceptionally rare seed- I'll give what I got and take what ever I can, lol. As I said on another thread, I found 3 seeds from my Salvia Black and Blue. This is an exceptionally rare occurrence to get any seed from that plant.
Tiny Seed- I don't measure. If I look in the baggie and see what seems to be a decent amount to start that plant, I'm ok with sending it. Just because it is tiny, doesn't mean they all won't germinate and become large plants. As you said Sue, 1/4 tsp. would be a heck of a lot for those really tiny seed. !/4 tsp. might be all I collected of those kinds of plants.

If I'm sending seeds to a newbie and I have decent amount saved of a more common abundant seed producing plants, I'll send extra when I can.
Humm... I think that's all, lol.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 12:38PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

Thanks for all the input everyone. A lot of it will be incorporated into the new Seed Exchange FAQ once I get to going on it.

Not meaning to highjack this thread, but wanted to share what I recently discovered about collecting/saving butterfly bush seeds. I took a recycled business sized envelope with me out to the bush. I clipped just a small portion of a faded bloom that had the seed pods split open. I turned it upside down, and lightly tapped it against the inside of the envelope. All of the tiny splinter sized seeds dropped into the envy, with no chaff whatsoever. Though I only did a few faded blooms, I probably got about 1/4 ts of seeds which would be actually thousands of seeds. If and when I can brave the cold again, I will get more collected from other varieties. I never had much luck with snipping off the faded blooms and dropping them in a brown bag. I ended it with a lot of chaff, and could barely find or see the seeds.


    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 2:06PM
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Nancy zone 6

I'm with everyone here, I'll take what I can get of seeds I am looking for. If I can get just one plant to maturity, I'm delighted, & that usually isn't a problem. I think if you are up front with what you are sending, no one can be offended. I have more objections if I think the seeds are old or not what they were supposed to be. I especially hate growing some seeds, once I had to wait for the 3rd year for the plant to bloom, to find it was not what it was supposed to be.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 8:51AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

bumping as "fair trade amount" was asked about on another forum.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 9:17AM
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mastergarder2003 Lixey(5 MI.)

Sometimes you get lots of extra seeds and sometimes you dont but over all I am very happy with the Gw Swaps. I like the gal who said sometimes you have alot of something so I stick in a extra what ever that makes up for the low paks you might send It always makes me smile to get a surprise. I do try over all to give out 25 but sometimes you get extra Gw seeds you dont have 25 of. to swap later so around we go gain with the same ideas above. ha.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 8:39PM
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personally i try to have about 35 seeds per trade it depends on the plant yes but i feel im more veg then not but i will admit it is dissapointing when you send 35 seeds to get 6 back theere also have been many commertial seeds on my list on the past as well (note both mentioned are like tomatoes for tomatoes or peppers for peppers)

i do thinnk giving the "noob" oppurtunities to make mistakes is a good thing this upcoming year will be my 2nd year with starting seeds

then what if the seeds have a bad germination rate? i can think of one specifically i saved seeds from my own stevia plant planted about 200+ seeds into a cell to start seeds 2 germinated and none made it to gooing outside

most dont *need* 35 plants of something but if some seeds dont come up or whatever happens then they should then have spares

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 10:31AM
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mikey-gardener(6a,6b, kcmo)

I think if a person gets too many seeds, then they should only plant what they want and trade the rest, better yet, give to some one in need who may not have but would really enjoy. "Give and it shall be given to you, pressed down, shaken together and running over" has been my thought and what I live by

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 7:53PM
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