As part of the T.E.T Climate Week we held a seed swap on the 9th March at TAAG. Over recent years it has become illegal to sell seeds that are not on the ‘official’ seed list. This has resulted in many old, unique seeds being lost – partly due to them not being submitted for seed trials, or they were not available at the time. Coupled with this, reinstatement on the list whilst available, requires an annual fee.
To overcome this problem Lawrence Hills set up the national Gene Bank and Heritage Seed Library whereby you can become a member and then be given seeds. Alternatively, there is a growing ground swell of people who are meeting up and exchanging seeds. Indeed, this has become so popular that even ‘Gardener’s Question Time’ recently took place at Brighton’s Seed Swap (play it again online).
So here in Teignmouth it was really good to see so many gardeners bringing their seeds to exchange or taking seeds home for a donation towards the cost of the venue. Tuckers, the seed merchants from Ashburton, had kindly donated many seeds, both vegetable and flower. A short talk was also given about the history of seed saving and ways to be most successful in this satisfying activity. Wonderful refreshments were also enjoyed.
With more than a dozen people we have now started a list of interested people so that we can form a local Teign Estuary Seed Bank. We will then hopefully run a Seedling Swap in the spring and a Food Swap in the autumn besides making the Seed Swap an annual winter event. If you are interested please do send your name and contact details to T.E.T.
Meanwhile, an excellent book to get you going is Back Garden Seed Saving: keeping our vegetable heritage alive by Sue Stickland, or Seedswap: The Gardener’s guide to saving and swapping seeds by Josie Jeffery (a very pretty book).
Submitted by Fran