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wanted: help! - ideas for setting up local exchange

Posted by hevarts z7 PNW WA (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 6, 07 at 10:55

I am in dire need of you guys' hints, tips and advise!!!

I have decided to help set up an plant exchange at our church. There are many, many ladies that garden who are ecxited to share their babies. And I, being in a new home, am excited to adopt them! :)

The thing is, I have never been to a Plant Exchange!!! All my plants in the past were either bought at a nursery, plant sale or were given to me from friends and neighbors.

HOW DO I DO IT? It seems simple enough - bring plants, take plants, etc.... but how do you organize it?

PLEASE HELP ME WITH YOU IDEAS!!!! I would love for this to become not just a "church" event, but a community thing!!!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: wanted: help! - ideas for setting up local exchange

Well, it's easier if it's people who can communicate on a forum like this prior to the swap, but it's not necessary. Just tell people you are having the swap - posters up at the church and maybe something in the church bulletin about it, postings on your local forum, notice in the Garden Activities section of your newspaper. Then set some guidelines - that part is up to you as the organizer but I can offer some suggestions.

1st, decide what you want this to be. Is it really a plant flea market? If so, then anyone can bring anything they want. Then you stand back and let the bargaining begin! You'll probably get some folks there who are trying to sell their plants. If you are OK with that, then it's fine. But if you want to make sure it's really an exchange, then be specific when you advertise the event.

If it will be a community event, why not hold a bake sale at the same time?

If it's a GardenWeb event, instead of full community, then you can suggest everyone bring a dish for sharing. At our swaps, the plants are only part of the story. It's largely about getting people together who usually only communicate on line. We've become friends so it's fun to be able to meet and share a meal. The Florida swaps have been wonderful parties.

Suggest that plants be clearly labeled so that recipients know what they are getting and can look up how to care for it.

Understand that some people will bring tiny cuttings and some will bring nicely rooted plants in gallon pots. Not really equal. But you can't control that so let everyone do their own swapping. Typically, at our swaps, a few things are truly swapped and many, many plants are just given away. Most gardeners end up with too much of something and need to give it away so they can plant something else!

Four hours is a good time frame if food will be involved. Less time is probably better if it's strictly about the plants. Suggest people bring a folding chair and wear their favorite garden hat. Bringing something to drink is a good idea too. We have some people who bring a small folding table to set plants on - that's especially helpful if the plants aren't large. Maybe your church would be willing to provide the tables but be prepared for them to get muddy and wet.

We provide name tags but that's because it's always a GardenWeb event so it's nice to see everyone's GW name and their real name! For a community event it might still be nice to have the basic "Hi my name is Kate" kind of badges.

At my swap last summer I expected 25 people and ended up with 50. It was a blast and if I could, I would be doing it again this year. If you have any specific questions, either post them here or send me an email and I'll be happy to help if I can.

The best part is just seeing what happens when you get people together!

Kate (

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