Tag Archives: 9th Annual Seed Swap

Seed Starting Tips -Spring

2017-03-20 11.29.05

If you attended the 9th Annual Seed Swap you now have loads of seeds for your gardens. In this post we’ll give you some basic vegetable and herb seed starting tips to help you on your way to a bountiful garden.

This is last opportunity to plant some cool season crops! Many cool season crops are planted in late summer or early fall for harvest over winter and spring. However there are some vegetables that can be planted in early spring if they are fast maturing. Cool season crops are those that grow best and produce the best quality when the average temperatures are 55°F to 75°F and are usually tolerant of slight frosts.

Warm temperatures will force some crops to “bolt” which means it will go into flower mode rather than leaf/stem growing mode. And for things like Broccoli where we eat the immature flowers this is not good if the flowers mature faster than we can harvest and enjoy them!

Look for information on the seed packet or online to see how long each variety takes to reach maturity and plant those that will be ready for harvest within 60 days or less and/or are slow bolting varieties. We’ve marked crops with an * to note which you should ensure are fast maturing.

Some Summer crops can be started indoors now or in a sheltered area with heat applied to prevent the seed from rotting. Summer crops require heat and while crops in the Tomato family can take 1-2 months until transplanting size squashes, melons and beans only take a couple of weeks so shouldn’t be started indoors until mid to late March. Many herbs can also be directly sowed in the garden for harvest and enjoyment later in the season.

Seed to start indoors or in a warm sheltered area:

  • Artichoke
  • *Broccoli
  • *Cabbage
  • *Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • *Collards
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leek
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes

Seed to direct sow/plant outdoors (all but root crops can be started indoors if desired):

  • Asian Greens (bok choy etc.)
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Chives
  • Fenugreek
  • Lettuce
  • Mache
  • Mustard
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Turnip
  • Borage
  • Calendula
  • Cilantro
  • Clover
  • Dill
  • Lemon Balm
  • Parsley

NOTE:  These are recommendations pooled from successful farmers and gardeners according to our “typical” seasons. Use this information as a good starting place but don’t interpret it as absolutely perfect for every location. Some years may vary and some yards have unique microclimates so don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you and your gardens.

Many thanks to Sherri Scott, CSLL seed librarian and Grub Grown Nursery owner, for her wisdom in compiling these seed starting resources.


Gift Baskets at the Seed Swap!

Gift Baskets-edited

GARDEN O’DELIGHT fundraising gift baskets will be available for suggested donation at the 9th Annual Seed Swap! The seed swap is Saturday, February 3rd at the Trinity Church in downtown Chico from 12-3pm.

ALL proceeds will help fund the 10th Annual Seed Swap and Chico Seed Lending Library! Each basket has a specific theme based on the items inside -from Trees to Seeds to Kids. See below for what is inside each basket.

HUGE thanks to the local businesses who donated items: Magnolia Gift & Garden, Hodges Nursery, The Plant Barn, Floral Native Nursery, Grub Grown Nursery, Fanno Saw Works, The Bookstore, Butte County Good Food Network and more!

All donations above fair market value (FVM) are tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor, Earthshed Solutions, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Donations can be made by credit card or cash at the event. Gift basket suggested donation prices are based on fair market value of the items and range between $25-100 depending on the basket of choice and your generosity.

Gift Basket Details


(FVM $83.20, Suggested $70-90)

  • $25 Magnolia Gift & Garden gift certificate
  • 7 ½” Hand Pruners
  • 7” Folding Pruning Saw
  • Shear & Scissor Sharpener
  • Garden Gloves
  • 10 Plant tags


(FVM $41.65, Suggested $25-45)

  • $10 Grub Grown Nursery gift certificate
  • 2 -4″ potted Herb Plants
  • Dried Herb Tea
  • Garden Gloves
  • Bulb Planter
  • Container Herb Seed from Renee’s Garden
  • 11 Seed Starting Pots
  • 10 Plant Tags


(FVM $44.23, Suggested $30-50)

  • 1 gallon Flowering Perennial from Hodge’s Nursery
  • Book: 1001 Questions Answered About Flowers by Norman Taylor
  • Garden Gloves
  • Rainbow CA Poppy seed from Renee’s Garden
  • Seed Balls (with wildflower, pollinator and native grass seed)
  • Wooden Handle Trowel
  • 10 Plant Tags


(FVM $59.85, Suggested $45-65)

  • Book: Why We Garden, Cultivating a Sense of Place by Jim Nollman
  • 1 gallon Flowering Perennial from Hodge’s Nursery
  • Bird Feeder
  • 10 Plant Tags
  • Garden Gloves
  • Garden Trowel
  • Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden seed from Renee’s Garden
  • Seed Balls (with wildflower, pollinator and native grass seed)


(FVM $68.24, Suggested $50-70)

  • $10 Grub Grown Nursery gift certificate
  • Mushroom Garden Art
  • Mycorrhizae package
  • Mycelium: Wine Cap Stropharia (Stropharia rugoso-annulata)
  • Wooden Handle Garden Spade
  • Garden Gloves
  • 10 Plant Tags


(FVM $62.34, Suggested $45-65)

  • Book: Grow, Cook, Eat: A Food Lover’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening by Willi Galloway
  • Three Sisters & Cover Crop seed mix from Renee’s Garden
  • Seed Storage Envelopes & Labels
  • 12 Seed Starting Pots
  • 2 pair Garden Gloves
  • 10 Plant Tags
  • Garden Trowel
  • String Dispenser
  • Seed Balls (with wildflower, pollinator and native grass seed)


(FVM $85.90, Suggested $70-90)

  • $25 Floral Native Nursery gift certificate
  • Burlap Pot Cover
  • Container Kitchen Garden seed mix from Renee’s Garden
  • Apron
  • Garden Gloves
  • Garden Trowel
  • 10 Plant Tags
  • Seed Balls (with wildflower, pollinator and native grass seed)


(FVM $74.17, Suggested $55-75)

  • $20 Plant Barn gift certificate
  • Light Snipper/Pruners (bypass blade)
  • Cat Treat Greens seed mix from Renee’s Garden
  • Wooden Handle Garden Fork
  • Plant Hanger
  • Garden Gloves
  • 10 Plant Tags
  • Magnolia Gift & Garden T-shirt


(FVM $55.37, Suggested $40-60)

  • $10 Grub Grown Nursery gift certificate
  • Garden Bag with Kid-Size Trowel, Fork & Spade
  • Small & Large Kids Handmade Aprons
  • Garden Gloves for Kids

#10 KIDS

(FVM $59.80, Suggested $45-65)

  • Book: Grow Your Own for Kids by Chris Collins & Lia Leendertz
  • Kids Watering Can
  • Small & Large Kids Handmade Aprons
  • Rainbow Kitchen Garden seed mix from Renee’s Garden
  • Garden Gloves for Kids


For More Information

9th Annual Seed Swap

FB header'18

The Chico Seed Lending Library (CSLL) is hosting the 9th Annual Seed Swap, a community event in celebration of seed, seed saving and the joy of the Spring gardening season. This annual exchange of seed will take place on Saturday, February 3rd , 2018 from 12-3pm at the Trinity United Methodist Church (285 E 5th St) in downtown Chico.

Again in 2018, we will open up the seed swap at 11:30AM for people who have home-grown seed & seed stories to share, face to face, with local seed savers.

Home Grown Seed Share 2017

The Seed Swap is a FREE EVENT and will include the open exchange of seed as well as plants, bulbs, and cuttings, and scion wood in a ‘potluck’ style setting. There will be food and drinks for sale, gift baskets for a CSLL fundraiser, plants and seed for sale in addition to local non-profits, music, and fun for all ages.

For 9 years…

Chico’s Annual Seed Swap events have been a great way to bring our community together to share seed, plants, and gardening ideas.  In addition to the traditional exchange of seed there will be the opportunity for participants to exchange plants and scion wood too. For those who may not know, scion wood is the top section of a healthy tree branch, typically a fruit tree, which has been cut in order to be grafted onto a different tree or root stock. Exchanging locally adapted fruit trees, in particular, is a huge asset to local food security.

There will be local vendors selling plants, seeds and fruits/vegetables. Delicious food will be for sale, generously donated by Chico Natural Foods Cooperative. Drinks will be for sale by CSLL -like hot apple cider, coffee and various teas. There will also be unique gift baskets filled with seed, garden items and local foods available as a fundraiser to support the Seed Swap and Chico Seed Lending Library.

basket fundraiser
Fundraising Gift Baskets 2017

How the Seed Swap Works

The seed exchange itself functions in the same manner as a community potluck: there will be more than 8 tables for seed each labeled with a different type, such as warm and cool season vegetables, flowers, native plants, herbs and more.  Participants place their clearly labeled bulk or packaged seed on the appropriate table then continue around to the other tables to gather seed that others have brought.  Often whole packets of seed are left on the tables, but opening them and taking only what you need and sharing the rest is in the nature of the Seed Swap.

one seed = one plant

We ask everyone who participates in the Seed Swap to remember that 1 seed = 1 plant. Please ensure you do not take more than you need. Over the years we’ve seen how popular this event is in our community and we’ve also seen people taking boxes of seed away with them. This type of participation only detracts from the purpose of the seed swap… which is to share seed with everyone.

Providing seed to share is not required but please bring your own pen and envelopes or other containers to store your new seed -it’s a real help to everyone. The exchange of root divisions, cuttings, plants, scion wood, and garden harvests is also something people enjoy doing at the Seed Swap. This annual community event is always free and a fun way to celebrate the approaching Spring season for all members of our community.


You can Volunteer to help with the Seed Swap by signing up to work a shift or two such as event set up or helping serve food. Signing up to volunteer is simple and done online at the Seed Swap volunteer signup website: www.volunteersignup.org/WPDR3. Volunteers are greatly appreciated and receive a bonus for their help.

volunnteer online signup

Seed Swap Hosts and Sponsors

The Chico Seed Lending Library (CSLL), Earthshed Solutions and the GRUB Education Program have hosted the annual Seed Swaps since its inception 9 years ago. The Trinity United Methodist Church is generously providing the location for this event and Chico Natural Foods Cooperative, Redwood Seed and Sustainable Seed Co. are sponsoring the 9th Annual Seed Swap.

Would your business or organization like to SPONSOR the 9th Annual Seed Swap? Contact us at info@chicoseedlendinglibrary.org. You will receive promotion in all of our marketing of the Seed Swap as well as a booth space at the event.

Donations keep the   Seed Swaps going strong…

The Annual Seed Swap and the Chico Seed Lending Library (CSLL) are fiscally sponsored by Earthshed Solutions, a 501(c)(3) public charity. If you wish to make a tax-deductable donation to help keep the Seed Swap going strong you can do this online or contact us at info@chicoseedlendinglibrary.org.