More than 80 community members joined University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners for the second annual community Seed Swap on Jan. 27 in Yorkville.
“This year’s success shows there’s an interest for events like this,” said Sarah Fellerer, U of I Extension Master Gardener program coordinator. “Hundreds of kinds of seeds were available for free, and participants also could bring seeds to share with others. The Master Gardener volunteers had educational materials and demonstrations. I don’t think anyone left empty-handed.”
The Master Gardeners already had many seeds on hand, including a wide variety of vegetables, flowers, native plants and herbs, and some community members did bring seeds to swap with other home gardeners.
Tanzi Melton of Sandwich came to share not only her own seeds from dozens of hand-labeled packets, but also her experiences with them.
“One of the biggest benefits [of a seed swap] is growing relationships,” she said between conversations with Master Gardeners and community members.
Melton said she saves and dries her own seeds, but also likes to seek out unique varieties to try.
“I like seeds with a history,” she said. “It’s important we learn to save seeds again. For our generation, it was not something that was taught. It’s sad to know we’ve lost varieties.”
At the event, the Master Gardeners provided information on saving seeds, as well as handouts about planting dates, growing tips and more.
The volunteers also were on hand to answer questions about the many different varieties, such as size, light needs and more.
Connie Kollmeyer of Yorkville said she came for heirloom, organic, native and companion plant seeds, and said she found what she was looking for.
“Every table has good stuff,” she said as she perused the native plant options with her friend Carrie Rosier.
“I could listen to the conversations here all day,” Rosier said. “It’s great to talk with the Master Gardeners and with other home gardeners, and learn what works for them.”
For information on seed types, saving seeds and more, visit go.illinois.edu/kenMGseedswap2018.