Seed Swap Firmly Planted on Long Island

Fast and furious, seed swappers swooped in to get a start for spring gardens.

The first annual seed swap organized by the Long Island Regional Seed Consortium on Saturday was a blooming success. More than 200 people showed up with bags of their own seeds, which they spread out on desks in a lab at Suffolk County Community College, creating a snowy day indoor market where all the currency was what knowledge you could share.

Michael Herts of Shinnecock was touring the room offering asparagus seeds to anyone. The pea shaped seeds would take three years to produce but would continue to be productive for 25 years, he said. “Plant them about eight inches deep and fertilize around the third year,” he said. He was also sharing his stash giant marigold seeds.

The plant community is tight-knit and the news of the swap swept quickly bringing practiced gardeners, serious farmers and younger people looking to get their gardens off the ground. One woman said she was driving by the entrance to the college, saw signs for a seed swap and was sucked right in.

The event started with a talk by Steph Gaylor of Invincible Summer Farms and the founder of the consortium. She was super please with the turn out and the number of volunteers who manned tables, signed people in and helped clean up. The consortium will begin its mission this year in earnest with soon-to-be scheduled workshops and plans for a bigger and better swap next year.

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Eileen M. Duffy

Eileen M. Duffy DWS holds a diploma in wines and spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Her book on Long Island wine Behind the Bottle came out in 2015. Visit her website, eileenmduffy.com, to find out what else she's working on.