Gather your grow lights, seed trays, and extra seeds. It s time to put those extra seeds in an envelope and swap them with your neighbors at the fifth annual seed swap organized by Toledo GROWs Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at Toledo Botanical Garden, 5403 Elmer Dr.
Basically the seed swap is a gardeners pep rally, says organizer Michael Szuberla. Toledo GROWS is the community gardening outreach program of the Toledo Botanical Garden. Our first seed swap was an office cleaning effort, and the event has grown exponentially each year. Last year we had about 600 gardeners from throughout the region including Detroit, Cleveland, and Ann Arbor. He says they expect close to 1,000 gardeners this year.
We feel that this event is extremely relevant in today s economy. People can get all the information and resources they need to start a garden at home.
Bring your extra seeds to the Toledo Botanical Garden Conference Center in an envelope. Label them with their plant name, the number of seeds, and any growing information. The biggest key is to have them well-labeled for the next gardener, Mr. Szuberla. says.
You can also share starts of your most vigorous houseplants. Be sure the starts are potted in fresh potting soil and clean containers. Label them with variety and basic care instructions.
People are welcome to come empty-handed; however, those who contribute seeds to the event receive more tokens. You walk in the door and exchange your seeds for tokens. We will organize the seeds with the rest of the donations and you can go around the room spending your tokens. This year, we have received our largest donation in the history of the seed swap. Olds Seed Co. sent about 400 pounds of flower and vegetable seeds for us to give away.
You might plant the same tomato seeds every year. This is a great way to try a few different varieties without spending any extra money. It also helps preserve unique local and cultural strains, as many gardeners grow plants that are unique to their ethnicity or taste, Mr. Szuberla says.
There will be bluegrass music, kids activities with the Toledo Museum of Art s Family Center, and lots of free samples, he added. You can also get some guidance on what to do with the seeds and what varieties might grow well in your yard from area garden experts.
Gardener s workshops will cover such topics as backyard gardening made easy; gourds; gardening for maximum nutrition; bugs and birds; urban chickens, and edible ornamental landscaping.
They top off the evening with the All Species Ball. Its a masquerade ball held at the Ward Pavilion at Wildwood Metropark, where people dress up as their favorite non-human, Mr. Szuberla says. We get some really crazy costumes. The event raises funds for Toledo GROWs small livestock program. Last year was our first ball and we raised about $1,000. We are expecting to double that number this year.