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Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

Posted by mmqchdygg Z5NH (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 13, 07 at 15:13

As the previous hostess of a recent Seed Robin, I was contacted by an unsatisfied participant that the Robin wasn't worth the time/money to have participated. I know I shouldn't feel guilty; it certainly is not my fault. The offerings simply weren't something this person found inviting, but they felt compelled to state their dissatisfaction, and I feel that there's maybe something worth discussing here.

Just asking for some thoughts on if or how we can improve the Seed Round Robins.

Some observations:

  • The terrific FAT robins often are circulating with 'familiar faces'- that being seed choices that have circulated over and over again. While this is great for newbies, those who have participated in seed robins before may have all they need/want of these tried & trues.
  • With the above in mind, it becomes 'not-worth-the-postage' to send a fat seed RR on.
  • The hostess becomes the proud owner of a thousand packets of Purple Liatris at the end of the Robin.

    What are your thoughts on how to improve our Seed RRs? I could think of some suggestions, but it all falls back to the same old song & dance:

    1. You take a gamble when you participate in a Seed RR.
    2. While some participants may add 'New & Exciting' offerings, the majority of the Robin is 'what everyone has already' (save the newbies), and you are not guaranteed to have the 'new & exciting' items when it reaches you. Not everyone playing is willing to/or financially able to go out and purchase the latest & greatest on the market to grow, enjoy, and subsequently share seed from.

    I don't see any of this changing, unless we all rip out our garden spaces and put in all new stuff. You can't enforce putting in 'X' number of new or specialty items because that will exclude those who simply don't have the offerings to contribute.

    Is there even a way to improve the varieties circulating in Robins?

    Would it be better to simply "learn the hard way" that after a certain point, we all KNOW that seed RRs may not produce anything new & exciting for us? That we should 'expect' that a fat robin may not be worth the postage to us personally since we've been around the boards and have traded much, and probably already have all that is potentially being offered? And knowing these facts, we make a conscious decision to participate or not.

    There are those who can afford to grow the latest & greatest. There are those who cannot. There are those in the middle who like to trade for the thrill of finding the needle in the haystack, and there are those whose contributions will never 'match' what they found to take out (ie: Rare & expensive Japanese Morning Glories found and Purple Liatris contributed.)

    My point is not to 'police' the seed RRs.

    Should we put up "Special" seed Robins? Would they even go over and be successful? Would folks be willing to 'sacrifice' their best offerings in hopes that others will do the same and make for an 'over-the-top' Seed Robin?

    At one point, one of the members did do a "named" seed robin, but part-way through, it was discovered that the participants either didn't understand the rules, or were simply not abiding by them, and the Robin was very 'generic' for many on the back-of-the-line.

    What are your thoughts?


  • Follow-Up Postings:

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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    hello
    I did my first RR's at the end of last year, and I don't think I will do it again. it is no fault of the hostess and no fault of most of the perticipants, I was in the middle of the named RR and tryed to help get it back on line, I ended up with small trades (3 or 4 seeds each) and the rest unknamed seeds. I put many commercial seeds I was saving for the robin, only to be told the robin was still full of gereric seeds.

    other RR's had so many "gifts" in the box or envie there was little room for seeds.

    unless you post everything you take and everything you put in there is know way to find out who is loading the RR with things like "mixed flowers" "herbs" and "daisy"

    I use self control and only put one or two packets of each kind of seed in a robin, but in some of the robins I have found 5 or 6 packets of the same seeds put in by the same person.

    well I've preached long enough.
    have a great night
    michelle


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
      Fri, Apr 13, 07 at 19:48

    Hi Tina,
    The only RR for seeds I participated in was the OBF one.(I did do Beth's magazine one and that was definitely worth the postage.) I found some nice seeds and added a lot that I had saved just for the RR, so it was a good experience, and I would think the people after me thought so : ) But I can see how a RR could go bad quickly as you have stated above.
    I have participated in a few swaps where everyone sends all the seeds to the hostess who then redistributes. They each had specific seeds to be sent. One was cottage garden seeds only from your garden, one was unusual/rare or named seeds, and one was tomato seeds. They all went exceptionally well. Everyone donated wonderful items, even reading other participants wish lists to send appropriate items. I got back great stuff! I know the other participants felt the same way. I think to get the best seeds this is the way to go. This kind of swap keeps people honest. Plus postage even with the return stamps was inexpensive.
    This is a lot of work for the host, but of course with everyone sending good quality seeds, the host is at least getting some goodies for the work. Now, I did see one such swap recently where the hostess messed up a bit, but I think that is not the norm. Also, I might be leery of sending all great items to a newbie who just might disappear with everyone's seeds. With the new Rate and Review forum though it would make it easier to decide whether or not to participate.
    Remy


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    Good point on the special send-to-hostess-for-redistribution swaps. Those DO seem very successful, and are nice specialized swaps which keeps costs down for everyone, but yet knowing that they are all interested in the same items and getting what interests them.

    I hadn't seen many of that type recently; thanks for bringing it back up as an excellent option!


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    I believe it's a good idea to have some guidelines with seed robins; IE. what is acceptable and what is not. Explicit instructions are helpful if done in a way that benefits everyone. I agree with micyrey that a notebook be placed in the robin. This way everyone can write down what they took out and what they put in.

    I also like the Wish List Robins, I participated in one and received exactly what I wanted.

    I have also been disappointed in several robins.

    This is a good topic.


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    I've only participated in a couple of robins & they have been the ones where the host collects & distributes the seeds. I've been satisified, but I didn't go into it expecting specific seeds, as I would through a regular swap. I've looked upon them as a surprise-"Christmas morning in an envelope"! Yes, I've gotten some common seeds, but what is common somewhere else may be unusual here, & it gives me the opportunity to try things that I may have never considered. Would I rely on round robin swaps for all of my seeds? No, but if you can look it with a spirit of adventure I think it's entertaining & a way to find new favorites.


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    OK,here's my 2 cents worth, or maybe it'll be worth a nickle.
    I started doing a couple RR's years ago (99&2000) and then quit. It seemed a waste of money due to the "gifts" One box cost me $29.00 to mail. That is ridiculous.
    Also, so many of the seeds were poorly labled, miss-labled old etc. Some I recognized as ones I sent out in swaps two years before.
    The one way to have a little control over that is to start the robbin out with a list of what it contains. Divide the seeds into "common" or "Special" or some such designation then have everyone write on the list what they took out and what they put back.
    Have rules like: each pack you put in must have your name, a collected (or bought) date on it and be roughly equal to what you traded it for. No trading marigolds or turnips for Streptocarpus or hellebores.
    This will depend on everyone checking the package carefully when it arrives. It needs to be on the honor system and can certainly have problems. If people are greedy or dishonest... well that is already a problem sometimes and is chance we all are taking.
    On the "send to the hostess swaps", I did Butterfly gardens and sunflowers last year and thought that both went better than I ever expected. Very pleasant surprises. Will we be that lucky again?? Maybe,maybe not.
    In general, it seems that the quality of the recent RR's (the ones I was in anyway) were rather poor. No blame on any hostess but perhaps that people felt they were a good way to get rid of seeds they just didn't want.
    A better way to get rid of surplus common seeds is to donate them to someone who is doing a major Welcome Newbie type give away. Don't try to trade them off unless it is a fair trade. Give some thought to the next people who will be getting the robbin.
    I'm feeling cynical today but people are people and there will always be some who want something for nothing and there will always be some who will complain.
    There is no way to please everyone.
    Tina you are a brave girl to have posted this.


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    Hi. I just participated in my first RR - the Green Team. I did it mainly so that I would have "experience" with a RR in case I wanted to try to do one of the more selective ones.

    I noticed that there were a lot of duplicates in the envelope, and not a lot of variety. My bigger concern is, if some of the seeds have been circulating for a very long time, they probably aren't going to germinate. I think that the seeds should be marked with a date as to when they were put in the RR, and after they have circulated a while with no interest, they should be taken out, or put in a separate baggie marked "old seeds."

    I also think there should be a limit on how many packets of the same seed are allowed, and everyone should put their gardenweb name on the seeds they added. Maybe they should also e-mail the host/hostess with a list of the seeds they are adding.

    I have an idea, too - a RR for "from your garden only" seeds. I might even have enough next year to participate.

    Becky
    ramazz


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    I havent done a RR for that very reason I am a newbie with what I am sure are fairly common seeds (even though I am quite tickled with what I have) the only thing I can think of is maybe being very specific as to what kind of RR it would be for newbies, advanced gardeners, veggies, ect maybe make a rule of you cant add a type of seed already in the box.

    I think you have some good ideas and great suggestions
    Amy in MS

    So many people here have been so generous with what they have been willing to trade me for or SASBE I would be afraid that even what I think is a specail seed is likely to be fairly common to most


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    Well lets not go on the "honesty" system! The hostess tells what the robin is leaving with....the next person posts what was in the robin when received, and what they take out, then the next person can verify that? Just a suggestion, I like to deal on the honor system too, but lets face it, too many people out there that do not honor us! Now please let me say, I'm certainly not speaking of JUST NEWBIES! Believe me some of us have seen it many times unfortunately and not with newbies, actually I've seen it go on for years and always wondered....WHY? Does this person get by with this over and over????????

    Sorry, I just have NO time in my life for deadbeats & thiefs! WE must all be careful is my point.

    Tina, Kudo's!!!!!!!!! This needed to be discussed!
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    remember the RR last fall that was all give aways???? Take your share and pass it on? Was that Grove Spirit???
    Regardless of who it was, I thought that was so neat but somewhere along the way it disappeared.
    Some people are not honest and some are not responsible :q(((
    Sassy, what you are suggesting is exactly what needs to be done but when the RR gets to be a couple hundred packs of seed that is a tedious amount of counting and paper work.
    If you skip counting things you are not taking and two or three people later "matilda" reports:
    " the seed log says there should be 3 packs of heliotrope Marine Queen and there is only one here".....
    You don't know if
    A) they were not there when you had it
    B) someone between you and MAtilda took them and did not record it or,
    C) Matilda filched them and is trying to get away with it.
    Even with a seed log and counting it is still on an honor system. Sometimes whole boxes just disappear.
    Most of us enjoy the trading enough that we do it right and in good faith so we will be able to participate again, but, it is a commitment and the world does not honor commitments like it used to.
    Well, It's Sunday Morning and I guess this is my sermon.
    Sorry, It's time for choir practice ;q)
    BB


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    I tend to prefer swaps, as I don't generally like to be dealing with anything but seeds. As the hostess of the recent Theme Garden Swap, though, I can tell you, it is a LOT of work to host a swap. It took up pretty much my entire month of January to get it right.

    I have participated in two outstanding robins, though; the first was hosted by Gardenwitch and included a journal, which was absolutely fascinating. The second one, hosted by Nettasaura, was a Victorian craft/seed robin - I'm afraid I was the "deadbeat" on this one - I thought I'd have time to craft, but didn't. I did exchange seeds, and passed the robin on, with a note of explanation to the players (the crafts were absolutely beautiful! Some of you are very artistic out there!).

    Generally, though, I like to stick to seeds, and although the themes of many of the robins are clever, picking out stuff can get complicated. I don't even do partner swaps, as I have been embarassed to receive a pricey box when I have assumed a simpler budget.


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    The RR that Garden Witch did was excellent. Very well planned and a lot of fun. However the hostess has since disappeared.
    I wrote to her a couple times but got no answer and have not seen her posting at all.
    Has anyone seen, heard anything from her?
    BB


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    There are several members named gardenwitch...any idea which one is her?

    gardenwitch

    gardenwitch58

    gardenwitch_2006

    gardenwitch_novice


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
      Thu, Apr 19, 07 at 20:58

    Hi Tina,
    It was Garden_witch. She was very involved with GW and then disappeared. Her RR, that Beth spoke of, was very detailed in instruction and there was suppose to be a second one. I had someone give her a reference for me so I could join the second one, but it never happened because of how she vanished. Anyway, the link is to the intro to her RR.
    Remy

    Here is a link that might be useful: Sisterhood of the Traveling Bubble Mailers RR


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    oh yes, that was a very nice rr. i loved the journal. remember someone had offered to transcribe it so we all could have it for the future? right around the time that one ended, she disappeared. i often think about that one. there's a lot of people that disappear. i guess like me, one day POOF! (someone, please think about me and miss me LOLOLOL)

    maryanne


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    Hi Tina, Here's my editorial on the subject:

    I hate round robins, but I especially hate ones with little "gifts" in them. Unless somebody spends a LOT of money on the little gift, I don't want it. LOL!

    After looking at over 100 wintersown jugs with nothing sprouting (about 50% of my total), I believe the last thing I want are seeds from somebody's garden. Why? Because so many people don't know what a seed is. I have a lot of lily seeds with no visible embryo, a lot of grass seed with things that look like they are seeds, but are not. Did you know that every Liatris "seed" isn't? And to put it bluntly, MOST Liatris "seed" isn't seed? MOST grass "seed" isn't seed? MOST Lily "seed" isn't seed? A LOT of Marigold "seed" isn't seed? A LOT of F1 "seed" isn't seed. They are hollow and not viable, but they look just like the seed. The trouble is there are a LOT of flowers out there that set something brown that people assume is seed because it looks like the seed without doing a germination test on it. (and I have been guilty of this myself, so I am pointing fingers all around.)

    A swap is different from a RR in many respects, especially in the accountability, but there is still a lot of chaff being swapped. And reswapped. A reswapped. I wish I had a picture of all my empty WS jugs. I wonder if I can reuse that Miracle Grow soiless mix for my large pots? :((

    And now that I've gotten all that off my chest, the other 100 jugs that did germinate have some super-cool stuff in them. I could never have afforded the huge selection of seed I am now growing on to planting size. So as negative as I sounded above, and as much as I b*tch, I still love those swaps!

    I do have a bunch of crappy &/or common seed here for SASE if anybody wants it. BUT I am going to put a large "2006 or before" on every package in magic marker so you can't reswap it out!

    Lime


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
      Fri, Apr 20, 07 at 18:40

    Hi Lime,
    It is true sometimes people send stuff that is not seed or seed that is not viable, but it is much too early to give up on WS jugs. I planted out like 80 last year, 70 germinated, and everything is what it should be. I should say not from RR's but swaps.
    If someone sends you seed that is not seed, you should let them know. I would want to know. I did email a trader to tell her it was all chaff and no seed of a certain hard to get variety, but not to worry about it. I just wanted her to be aware. She actually tracked down viable seeds and mailed them to me as a surprise later on!
    This year I got a few "I know that seed isn't what it is suppose to be" seeds, but I sowed them anyway just for the fun of it. I probably am at about half of 125 jugs with sprouts, some are really cool items too. Until temps are staying warm, some seeds will not germinate.(Thank goodness it is finally getting warm!) I had things sprouting up until the beginning of May last year. If you read the WS forum enough, you will see stories over and over about dumping the soil out, then at a later date, the plants are growing.
    So keep the faith a little longer that you will get more sprouts : )
    Remy


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    Hi Remy,

    Oh, logically I know the seeds might still germinate, but those jugs are literally driving me nuts. I cannot stand the trashy look -- probably because I never had a good out-of-the-way place to stash them. I can see them from the house and I know the neighbors can see them, too.

    I think I'll go through the ones that haven't germinated one by one and decide if I realy, really want the plants if the seed should germinate later on or if I can live without them. I bet that clears out about half.

    Not everybody puts their name on the seeds, and I didn't write down the ones I got in trade as I was getting them. I think I had illusions of actually remembering because the trades were so important to me, especially in the first month or so before those giant swaps started. HOW could I have forgotten?

    I got a lot of nice seeds from you, BTW. I know this because you put your name on them. :))

    Lime


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
      Sat, Apr 21, 07 at 20:42

    Lime,
    Lol! Yesterday, when I came home from work I went out back to look at my jugs. My new next door neighbor said hello as I'm on my hands and knees peering into the jugs while holding a pen and note pad like a crazed scientist. Thankfully this is out back and he is young and the containers don't seem to bother him. But he has to be wondering what the heck I'm doing.
    Maybe you could keep an eye out for some larger retangular containers to accommodate the jugs next season. I've seen a few pics where people made them look pretty nice.
    Lol about forgetting! That part of why I label everything, and if anyone does have a problem they can contact me. Plus my "Martha" like habits.
    : )
    Remy


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    mmqchdygg,most of the seed swaps I have been part of have been great.I know the one remy did was awesome and I felt bad because she had to put so much into it,but if not for her,(and the other good host that donated their time to host)so many of us would not be growing what we are today.The one rr I did was the red group and by the time it got to me,I felt disappointed,but it was by no means any reflection on you or any other hostess.I just felt some frustration when you wait and wait and by the time it gets to you,all thats left is where someone dumped tons of okra,sunflowers and mg and I don't grow any of those.It is a risk.I was just in a swap and it is probably one of the worse ones yet.I did not send vege seeds and specifically asked to please not be sent veges,and guess what I got back,,lol yep,veges and stuff I will never use like wheat and quack grass..lol.It is all a risk.In time,I think we know who does the good swaps and who to not participate with.I even sometimes get my own seeds back.
    Hey lime,don't knock old seeds.I will take any you don't want.I got some of yours last yr.,sowed them this yr. and my seedings from those are doing just as good as commercial seeds.
    Maybe there can be swaps for just the ordinary stuff that is passed,and I do think Lime has hit on marking the pkts with markers,and some for seeds that some of us has bought new plants,grown and harvested.I don't have a clue how one would keep the traders from dumping in old seeds or stuff we all have though.I for one enjoyed just about every swap I was in and hope they are repeated and then there is a few,I wouldn't sign up for ever again.I have started a list of the great ones and the ones to stay out of.I just hope you and remy and netta and drippy do host again.(and a few others)I learned a great deal from your swaps last yr. and they were so much fun.I guess I am saying the ones like you all did were the best and I know the others that played thought so too.I am glad you started this thread.I too havehad grips and been disappointed but there has been so much good that by far out weighs what was not good.I do think it is very unthoughtful for someone to put in thank you gifts and expect all the others to keep paying to postage to forward it.The gift should be sent directly to the host.
    moonphase


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    moonphase were you talking about my swap being the worst ever i tryed not to give people veggis who didnt want them and I did not send quack grass outi took out at least 3 to 400 packs of my seed to send back before i closed the envies i took a xtra handfull out of my seed bag and put them in everyones if you got veggis that is how and i posted that on the thread i thought i was being thoughtfulby sending so many xtra if that made it a bad swap well im sorry every one else seemed happy about the xtras
    candycow


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    candycow,I would not offend you or anyone else by saying so and sos swap.Every swap is different to each player.What I think may be great,another may think it terrible and vice versa.Lord knows and most of the host here,I sure goofed on some of my swaps,but Thanks to them,now I know exactly what the different swaps mean.I am in alot of swaps and have been in alot of swaps.Please do not take offense here,for I surely do not want you to feel that way.Now I will go back into my corner and hush.
    moonphase


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    No one should take anything personally of what's said on a "Discussion thread." We are not talking about specific swaps, everything that is said is an OPINION. So please feel free to let us know what your thinking! I've hosted many swaps (including seed swaps), and love the feedback! If we didn't discuss problem issues, we wouldn't learn anything, and we would end up with the same problems over and over. This thread is very interesting! Swapping doesn't come with a rule book, LOL! ;)


    Deb


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
      Tue, Apr 24, 07 at 12:34

    Moonphase,
    Thanks! I enjoy saving seeds and sharing them. My husband thinks I am quite nuts, lol. So I truly had no problem sending out so much.
    You are right though, what one person thinks is great can be not so to another. Like the sunflowers and morning glories you mentioned lots of people just love them.(Though I hope the quack grass was really quaking grass, lol) And I was in a RR and took okra, lol.

    Deb,
    Well said : )
    Remy


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    • Posted by shimla 5 Upstate, NY (My Page) on
      Fri, Apr 27, 07 at 23:39

    I like the round robins just the way they are! This has been discussed more than once over the years and I think it's fair to say the contents of these RR's are always going to be of the same quality.

    I look forward to joining the robins every year. I never join the ones passing around gifts so the box costs on average $4.50 to ship. Cheap entertainment. I get such a variety of seeds that I can't find on the 10cent racks. I've grown some beautiful flowers from these boxes. Some things I don't even collect seeds for because I know I'll find them in a box next year. And there are times when someone immediately ahead of me will toss in a packet or two of something unusual. I think of it as a bonus because I'm really not expecting anything grand to be traded in these boxes. I always send the box back out in better shape than it landed but not everyone does that because I've gotten some real dogs. It's just the way it goes but even at that I still find stuff :)

    I've hosted before so I know how the boxes come home. Someone stole my last box so I stopped hosting. I felt bad for the last person that didn't get it (she was a newbie) so ended up replacing a whole box for her to keep. I don't have time for that, it's a heck of a lot of work to pack a box to begin with. If that hadn't happened though, I would have kept sending out boxes because it's a great way to share with the newbies.

    Rather than trying to improve the general RR's, I like the idea of creating different types of group swaps altogether. People are very creative on the board and are coming up with some great ideas. This gives everyone an equal chance to trade tailored to their own needs.


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    RE: Discussion: Seed RRs- Same items recirculating

    I participated in one round robin swap and the box disappeared right when it was supposed to be mailed to me. It was devastating as it was my first one and I was afraid it would ruin my name in future swaps. After some lost sleep and some very persistent folks got it going again, it showed up and the previous person apologized, I believe. After that, I was afraid to sign up again, but being new to the round robin, got some great things. It may or may not have been old seed, but it was new to me and I was grateful. Some germinated, some did not, but I agree that without it, I wouldn't have benefited or experienced the joy of generosity of others on this page. It truly is a great community and I was happy to be part of it. Thanks to all the wonderful people here! Remember that sometimes folks are well intended and life throws you curveballs and that we were all newbies once. To me, there is nothing better than opening the mailbox expecting to find a bill or flyer only to find seeds instead. Thanks to all hosts who take the time to try to bring joy to others! LizinNH


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