Swapping Seeds

Springing into winter

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It’s hard to imagine planting seeds in the ground when the terra firma is frozen solid, but, believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to see in your spring and summer gardens—whether it’s an heirloom tomato patch, green beans that reach toward the sky, a zigzagging line of red and orange poppies, or simply enough lettuce to keep you and your family in the green for a few months.

Although you probably won’t be able to head outside and get your hands dirty for a little while yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning for the future. For example, it’s never too early to write up a list of what you’re hoping to grow this year, and think about where you’re going to put whatever you choose. 

Seed catalogs are a great place to get bright ideas, but might we suggest you also look for inspiration closer to home? “Getting Seeds Into the Hands of the People,” a Community Seed Swap happening Sun., Jan. 27 at the Majestic, aims to not only get people excited about the upcoming planting season, but also provide them with the organic matter to make their digging dreams come true. 

Put on by Sustainable Bellingham, the event is not just intended for those with leftover seeds from the last year or two on their hands. Even if you don’t have anything to swap, organizers say you’ll be welcome to show up and collect your fair share of growing goods. 

If you’re bringing seeds to swap, there are a few rules to follow. Whatever you do, don’t bring Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) along.

As part of its mission statement, Sustainable Bellingham is dedicated to “becoming self and community-reliant (not self-sufficient) at the local level and rebuilding communities based on the local production of food, energy and goods as well as the relocalization of governance and culture.” GMOs have no place here, in other words. (Squash seeds are also on the “thanks, but no thanks” list.)

Participants are also asked to label their seeds—which can include heirloom seeds, packaged seeds, edible tubers and seed potatoes—and bring extra envelopes to share. After the doors open at 1pm, organizers will school attendees on “swap etiquette” and share stories. At 2pm, Celt Schira will lead a “Basic Seed Saving” talk. Other than that, those who show up are welcome to trade seeds until the doors close.

Judging by the pictures from last year’s event on Sustainable Bellingham’s Facebook page—which feature dozens of warmly dressed people hunkered around a variety of long tables sussing out the seeds—the event is obviously a popular winter destination for those who are counting the days until the ground thaws and they can start producing their own food and flowers again.

Even if you don’t have a lot of space to plant or haven’t been able to muster up the enthusiasm to get excited about spring, it’s a good bet that attending the Community Seed Swap will give you ideas—whether they’re big, small or somewhere in between. The days are already getting longer, and, before you know it, you’ll be cleaning dirt out of your fingernails and complaining about weeds.

SVCR-0603 Buffet_ 770x150 CW
More Outdoors...
Bike & Build
Pedaling for a purpose

A few days before summer became official, recent Western Washington University graduate Sean Petersmark dipped his bike’s rear tire in the Atlantic Ocean in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

By the time he dips “Simba’s” front tire in the Pacific Ocean at Bellingham’s Marine Park on Thurs.,…

more »
Filthy Fun
The dirty days of summer

When I spent summers on Lummi Island as a kid, getting dirty was part of the equation. Blackberry picking by the side of the road often turned into full-scale food fights that resulted in me, my siblings and other assorted youth being covered toe-to-head with pulpy stains—so much so that…

more »
Marmots and Moraines
A walk beside the Easton Glacier

The weather forecast was at its midsummer best: sunshine, blue skies, warm temperatures. We’d set aside a few days for some much-needed R&R in the mountains. Baker beckoned.

We slid into the Mt. Baker National Recreation Area trailhead parking lot in late morning and slipped on our…

more »
Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Wednesday Market

12:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Brewers Cruise

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Music at Maritime

6:00pm|Maritime Heritage Park

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

The Gun Show

8:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Village Books 5 Point Film Festival
Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

5Point Adventure Film Festival

10:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Bow Little Market

1:00pm|Belfast Feed Store

Garden Dedication

3:00pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Blues, Brews & BBQ

5:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Vintner Dinner

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Riverwalk Summer Concert Series

6:00pm|Riverwalk Park

Move to Amend

6:00pm|Mount Vernon

Fiction Writing Group

6:00pm|Village Books,

Elizabeth Park Concert Series

6:00pm|Elizabeth Park

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

Andrew Subin 5 Point Film Festival
Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

5Point Adventure Film Festival

10:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

What's Next?

9:00am|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Wild Things

9:30am|Lake Padden

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Ferndale Farmers Market

1:00pm|Cherry Street

Barbecues and Beach Parties

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Ferndale Street Festival

6:00pm|Downtown Ferndale

Summer Concert Series Finale

6:00pm|Seafarers Park

Art Party

6:00pm|Tillie Lace Gallery

Farm Tunes

6:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Final Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Historic Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham

Final Dancing on the Green

7:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Wine and Music

7:00pm|Artifacts Cafe and Wine Bar

A Little Night Music

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center


9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

see our complete calendar »

5 Point Film Festival Northwood Steak and Crab Andrew Subin Artifacts Wine Bar Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Swinomish 2016 Village Books Bellingham Farmer’s Market