When I was growing up in a small midwestern town, neighbors and family members frequently exchanged starts and plants. My parents had a lilac bush from my grandfather's house, and an apricot tree started from seed from my grandfather's sister. From the neighbors, lilies and irises, sempervivum and sedum.
In an era when we can go to the big box store, or grocery store, to buy our plants, why exchange with each other?
Here are my thoughts -
* Those big box store plants are probably grown in a regional nursery and shipped a long distance. They have a role, but they don't give access to the true diversity of plants that exists in our gardens.
* Informal exchange encourages people to share varieties that grow well for them.
* Screw M!ns!nt! and their hegemony of genetically modified varieties! Diversity matters!
* Exchange of old varieties supports preserving them for future generations.
* By saving seeds and propagating plants, you learn and pass on knowledge of how to do so for future generations. People used to grow all of their plants that way. It's often easy, it's fun, and it's an important type of cultural information.
* Treading plants is a cheap way to experiment with plants that you might otherwise not grow.
* It's fun to say, "That tree came from my atheist friend in Georgia", or "my friend gave be starts for those peas", or "I grew that myself from a cutting".
* Replace those "!" above with "o".
* Heritage varieties are often better tasting and more interesting than modern hybrids. Comparing "Black Krim" and "Cherokee Purple" tomatoes to the grocery store genetically modified "rubber ball" tomatoes is like comparing cashmere to vinyl.
Feel free to add comments. If you have plants or starts to exchange, think it's a good idea, or not, feel free to comment. I will put some of mine in the comment section.
Here are a few that I have exchanged or obtained via exchange -
Victoria Rhubarb - can exchange root starts in the fall. If I know ahead, I can let it go to seed in the summer and collect seeds. Victoria makes huge stems, early on red/pink and later green. Takes about 3 years to get rhubarb from seed, 2 years from a root start. Victoria is a heritage variety so should grow true from seed. Mine was a discarded "rescue" from the grocery store, fortunately labeled, and is very productive. I also have "Glaskin's perpetual" that I grew from seed, also a heritage variety - not as large as Victoria, takes longer to reach productivity form seed, but is more red. Finally, I have "Cherry Valentine" which is much more red, but I don't know if it is true from seed, since it is more modern.
Multiple fig varieties. Figs grow in warmer USDA Zones, I am in zone 7 or 8, you can grow them south of the Mason Dixon, and on the west coast. If interested let me know and I'll describe the varieties. Figs grow easily from foot-long prunings taken in the winter (hardwood cuttings).
Multiple grape varieties. Also easily grown from hardwood cuttings taken in the winter. One year I chopped up my prunings and used them for mulch, and dozens sprouted and grew into unwanted grape vines.
Chinese Chives - seeds collected in summer, starts probably about any time.
European Chives - as for chinese chives
Heritage onions (2 varieties of multipler onions) - sets collected in summer, planted in fall or spring.
Heritage garlic (2 varieties) - same as for multiplier onions.
Sempervivum (unnamed, collected from my parent's yard) - probably any time of year. These are the "hens and chickens" that europeans used to throw on their straw roofs to grow and ward of lightening. I doubt that it worked, but they do grow nicely and multiply nicely. Heat tolerant, dry tolerant, freeze tolerant. I have some that I use for a small "living roof".
Various sedum varieties - as for the sempervivum.
Veggie - wise, I have slacked off collecting my own seeds. I am planning to try again next year with a heritage tomato - my favorites are the ones mentioned in the original post, Cherokee Purple and Black Krim.
I am interested in heritage snow peas, and maybe some chili peppers if they are heritage varieties that grow true from seed, medium heat (Cayenne, or hungarian paprika varieties).
This takes some planning ahead, since each plant has its best season for saving and propagation.
I am experimenting on how to do this, but i am trying to link to my photo album, "Joan's garden from family and friends. Let's see if this works.
Now, my next problem is how to change the avatar for this album. Anybody know?
Joan, No idea on how to change the avatar! If I find out I'll let you know! Love your album.
I may have some seed to exchange. I only do standards/open-pollinated varieties. I also prefer ornamental edibles. Can send fig cuttings, but only from my fig taken from cuttings from Fort Pulaski, Savannah, GA. The trees were likely palnted at the fort well over 100 yrs ago and VERY far from any water hose, so they thrived in an abandoned spot without any care.
Have yardlong beans to trade any maybe some tomato seed, one of which is a cherry tomato, Tommy Toe, that won a taste test in Australia. Have Musquee de Provence pumpkin seed, very ornamental pumpkin- a moschata.