Want free plants...organize a plant swap in your area,

storygardener(5/6 central oh)May 25, 2003

Hi folks.

Plant swaps are SO much fun and a great way to trade your extras, connect with other gardeners, & get new plants.

I have lots of extras each year...I give them to friends and family. But, for the past 5-6 I've gone to plant swaps too. I went and helped organize some in Michigan when I lived there and have organzed a couple in Ohio since moving here.

This spring - we had over 50 folks come (with a pot luck dish) and over 800 plants for swapping. We did a round robin swap. It was great fun - despite the rain. I came home with some named and unnamed daylillies, unsusal herbs, heirloom tomato plants and all kinds of goodies.

Often garden clubs, nature centers, and even my library in my former town sponsored a swap. Keep your eyes open and you can find these. Or...organize one yourself.

Check out the Get-togethers Forum here at the Gardenweb. There might be a swap near you coming up.

It's fun and a good way to get new plants.


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Storygardener, that sounds like so much fun. Can you tell me exactly how a round robin swap works-does everyone take a turn and keep going until no plants left? I am trying to figure out where a swap could be held, have you done it on private property or are you getting permission at a park or something? Any info would be appreciated, I would love to go to a swap!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2003 at 10:48AM
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A more casual approach is to have a "surplus plants" day in the neighborhood. Everyone digs up and divides whatever they have too much of and sets them out front. Labelled is nice.

Neighbors take what they want, everyone strolls around looking for interesting things, and there is no work for anyone.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2003 at 11:11AM
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I'm going to a plant swap in June that was organized on the Florida Garden Exchange here on GW. Usually, if you want to sponsor one, announce it on your state exchange forum and you'll get a lot of people. It seems there is a whole local contingent from within 50 miles of me that do a swap every year. It's going to be fun to meet them!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2003 at 6:40PM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

Cindybelle - We actually did a motified round robin at this swap (or we would be there for hours!). The first two rounds everyone selected one plant each time. Rounds 3 & 4 - each person selected 2 plants each time. Then it progressed to the next round - select three. The next round select four and so on and so on. This goes fairly quickly. With our 800 plants or so...we were done swapping in no more than 30 minutes (approximately).

I've been to swaps thru the Gardenweb where people have had them at their homes.

Also, at parks. Some parks will let you reserve the pavillion for a small fee (or a large fee - so shop around) You can just go to the park...and use the picnic table without the pavillion - but, run the risk of being rained out. Had we not had a pavillion - I am not sure 50+ people would have come. I've always told people that the plant swap is free..but, if they want to throw in a dollar to cover the cost of the pavillion ...we wouldn't argue with em. Most people gladly will pay a dollar to have shelter, bathrooms close by. We've always included a pot luck - so it was nice to have this space reserved. You don't have to do it that way, though.

Different areas do swaps in different ways. Sometimes people just meet at a park - set up a card table with their plants and start swappin'. Maybe you could check out lots of the threads about swaps at the Get-togethers forum and see what others do too. ( the swap I just did was the one "Ohio Plant Swap and Potluck planned for May 17") I would be glad to answer any questions for you!!

Lazygardens....I LOVE your idea of surplus gardens day. It made me giggle because most of my neighbors plants came from my gardens. Great concept!!!

Growncrazy...you are right about it being great to meet people that you've only talked to in cyberspace. That was really fun. Enjoy your swap!!


Here is a link that might be useful: Get togethers forum

    Bookmark   May 25, 2003 at 9:11PM
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Storygardener,thank you. I also like the idea of a neighborhood swap, but only one of my neighbors has anything resembling a garden, the rest have a few bushes, some hostas, and either impatiens or geraniums in a pot near the front door-no objection to any of those, but not much to work with in terms of a swap. So I'm thinking a larger scale plan would be better. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2003 at 5:31PM
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Check out the Ozark Region forum (discussions & exchanges) for some great posts leading up to our first annual MO Swap that was held May 4th. Then read all the posts about how much fun we had swapping plants and meeting new "old" friends. There are photos and a newspaper article also. Attendance was around 50 folks from MO & AR. Plants were plentiful and food was delicious. The people were the GREATEST!
We had such a wonderful day that we are already set for a Harvest Festival come October!!!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2003 at 6:41PM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

Ada...I read the posts about your MO plant swap. Sounds like fun & GREAT pictures, too.

Isn't it super to all get together??!!

Thanks for telling us about it.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2003 at 9:32PM
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april_50(Thumb of MI)

Our Garden Club held our annual plant exchange last Saturday. We use a local park and set up a "check in" table and then several picnic tables for the plants. You check in what you have to trade and get little tickets 10 plants = 10 tickets. You may then go to the plant tables and "buy" with your tickets. This is how I started my garden 5 years ago. After my 3rd visit to the trade, the ladies ask me to join the Club. We have a very nice turn out, weather permitting. We do have to watch for unfair traders that bring large flats of common ground cover and want 48 tickets in exchange. We just limit them and they usually don't return. We have a blast and most traders stay all morning to see what might show up. Call the local chamber of commerce and see if there is a garden club in your area. Ask them to promote an exchange, still early in the season to do so. Most of all...have fun!!!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2003 at 10:50PM
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I went to the plant swap you organized and it was great. I probably got $75 to $100 dollars worth of plants and all it cost me was a small backache. (from digging up spare plants I had) Good food too!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2003 at 11:55AM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

Hi Shadowgardener!!!

Thanks for your kind words!! I had fun too. After you mentioned how many dollars worth of plants you got...then - I had to figure out mine. It was at least $100.00 dollars worth of plants for me, too. (Including all those heirloom tomato plants...I am so excited)

OO- what fun! Yummy pot luck food & new plants.

Sorry about the backache & I had one too - but, oh, so worth it!


    Bookmark   May 30, 2003 at 1:51PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

The Georgia GW forum is having their third plant sale so far this season! We love to share!
And the community garden club which I belong to has two community trades/sales per year.
Both of these are a great way to not only obtain more plants but make friends with people who also like to trade. I have lots of folks who stop by and either leave or take plants home with them.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2003 at 4:11PM
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April_50 thanks for the detail, that sounds like a really good way to go. Do you do anything for newbies? I was thinking maybe ask everyone to bring two extra plants for newbies, and ask newbies to bring something besides food, maybe plant pots, or stakes, or seeds, etc. Any other ideas are welcomed, thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2003 at 8:39PM
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Girlgroupgirl!!! Hi there!!
I just wanted to let you know that they are organizing one over on the Alabama forum. We are just trying to find out where to have it at. Talking about the pot luck as well.
I will have to mention the round robin and the check in with ticket idea...that would make it more organized.
Thanks for the great ideas

    Bookmark   May 30, 2003 at 11:59PM
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I have been organizing plant swaps for years, and it is the most fun!!!! Check out the link below for more info, and if you want to plan one in your area, I will tell you how. Have a great day!

Here is a link that might be useful: plantmeet.com

    Bookmark   June 4, 2003 at 2:23PM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

I am so excited. Next week I will go a plant swap at my garden club. It will be the first one I've attended there. Their fall plant swap is one of the reasons I joined last year.(I organize a GW swap in the spring- but don't have time to do it in the fall).

They are a great group of down to earth people that love gardening like me!!

I'll keep you posted.

good gardening....Beverly

    Bookmark   September 12, 2003 at 9:06AM
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These are great ideas. Our local Hosta Society has a "companion plant" swap every spring. They also use tickets but the kind that come in pairs, each with the same number. Each person gets one ticket for each plant they bring, and the other ticket is saved until everyone has arrived. Then, the matching halves of the tickets are randomly put in the plant containers. At the end of the meeting everyone has to search for the plants that match their ticket numbers. This works because the plants all have the same growing conditions as hostas - or are hostas!

At other swaps I've attended, the plants were traded face-to-face. You see a plant you want, show that trader your plants, then see if you can make a trade. I've been disappointed when the other gardener didn't want anything I had, and have traded for something I didn't particularly want because I didn't want to bring my plants back home.

I like April's idea of "buying" plants with the tickets. This would work better for a swap where not everyone had the same growing conditions and it makes the value of each plant equal.

I've been "elected" to be in charge of our neighborhood association's plant swap next spring. We have a meeting next week and I can't wait to bring up some of these ideas. It's going to be so much fun!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2003 at 6:04PM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

Wild Rose...I love the idea of the tickets at your Hosta swaps. I bet that's great fun for all you hosta junkies - ending up with another hosta.(*giggle) That would work well in that particular situation.

Have fun at your assoication's swap!


    Bookmark   September 13, 2003 at 9:33PM
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CindyBelle... What part of NJ are you from? What county or what exit?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2003 at 12:46AM
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pdxjules(8, Portland, OR)

See the Exchange Forum, by area, and Calendar/events section. OldHerb hosts Fall/Spring Potluck Swaps in Portland Oregon, with one this Sat Sept 20. YAY! I have boxes ready to go.

Next weekend Sept 27 is a big Seattle area Exchange. For info and piz on that one, see the Pacific NW Exchange fourm. I hear 110 people attended the last one.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2003 at 1:19PM
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I'm going to one this weekend! Already arranged some great trades, all for stuff I'd probably be throwing on the compost pile otherwise.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2003 at 5:59PM
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hi, i live in a small town of georgia and have never heard of this, was wondering if any of the readers has seen anything like this here.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2004 at 6:34PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

We have a Georgia plant swap in the Atlanta area at my place. Check out the Georgia garden forum!


    Bookmark   March 14, 2004 at 7:09PM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

Yes, it's that time of the year again. Check the get-togethers forum and the your regional forum for any local plant swaps in your area. It is one of the best most fun ways to get free plants!!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2004 at 6:53PM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

Hi again...every year I pull up this thread to remind folks of the fun and frugality of plant swaps. Check out the Get-togethers forum or the exchange area of your closest regional forum.

Hope you can find one near you!!

Enjoy...Beverly (Storygardener)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 12:48PM
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michiganmom(z5 S MI)

Thanks Beverly

I really appreciate the reminder that Spring is just around the corner as I look out at my yard covered in soggy snow. The bright sun and warm days makes the snow fun to work with though (I have 3 sons).

I'm trying to attend some exchanges in my area this year. My middle son's soccer games always interfere with the exchanges though.

I'm hoping to meet some other mid and southern MI gardeners this year.


Leslie, MI

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 3:59PM
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gardenfaerie(z5b Michigan)

Hi Doreen,

I'm hosting a plant swap in Ann Arbor on May 7, 11:00 to 2:00. Email me for directions if you're interested.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 6:16PM
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kendal(8 PNW)

For those in the Puget Sound (WA) area we had a plant swap on the 7th of this month. The next one is in Nov. There is a Pacific Northwest Exchange forum. I got two 6 Ft clumps of black bamboo in exchnge for part of my Sum and Substance hosta. If I had to buy the clumps at a bamboo store I probably would of paid about $60-75 each. A big savings *G*


    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 8:50AM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

Central Ohio is having their annual May plant swap & potluck on Saturday, May 21 2005 in Hilliard. Check out the Get-togethers forum for more info.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 4:35PM
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Yadda(8-9 TX)

For those of you in the Houston, Texas area. And for those of you that would like more info on how some plant swaps are run. Yadda out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fort Bend County Plant Swap Website

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 1:38PM
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katie88(z8a NC)

I'm hosting one in Rutherfordton, NC on August 27th. This is near the Biltmore, Asheville, the Blue Ridge Parkway . . many lovely sights to see. So far 71 people have responded. I look very forward to meeting many GW people, friends I've come to know 'on here', no Newbie will go home empty handed, working on how to keep confusion to a minimum now (going to send an Update letter so prearranged swaps/rides can be set up now, also want name tags worn -- any suggestions very welcome) especially since August is a common VAC month (gardeners divide perennials, some will wish to totally do away with plants to make space for new cultivars, go through seeds to plan next year's garden and much more), many are taking the week or weekend to come to the swap from afar and then visit friends in the area and/or VAC. All is open to swap -- plants, seeds, tools, birdhouses, gourds, magazines, books . . . if you can fit it in the car and want to trade may be the time.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 5:48AM
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