Seedy Penpals – What a Brilliant Idea!

I am joining in with this simple and  life affirming Seedy Penpals Scheme – I have always sent a few seeds here and there and love the simplicity of this. I just wandered into the ‘cool room’ and surveyed the wreckage of the seeds that haven’t been sown this year and always regret and would love to share them, a mix of seeds I have saved, ones I have bought with great enthusiasm and so on.  I don’t know if I can match up to all the ideals of the scheme but I think it’s a good starting point for anyone.

Sadly we can’t do this with people outside the UK and EU but there’s nothing to stop you setting up your own Seedy Penpal scheme in other countries.  I tried once sending seeds ‘out of bounds’ and they didn’t germinate for the person I sent them to, so I suspect it’s probably not worth doing, quite apart from the legal aspects of it. I also often end up with too many small seedlings for my tiny garden, and frantically give them away as I suspect most suburban gardeners do, but I don’t see as how I can send those through the post.  I am sure many gardeners are in the same position. We should have local seedling swaps, a project for another growing season perhaps?

Edit : You can read all about the scheme on Carl Legge’s site and on Mel’s Edible Things site and sign up. Carl is a fount of knowledge and kind support about all sorts of things, and his enthusiasm is a joy. Mel is new to me but I am editing this post as I realise this is a joint project from them both. Hi Mel, I am going to spend some time on your site very soon, it looks great!

Here is an excerpt from his site to give you an idea of how it works…

Seedy Penpals is a great way to share seeds with like-minded people. We all like to send and receive surprise treats: with Seedy Penpals you get to grow them too (and eat some).

Seedy Penpals is also a great way to

  • Meet and make new friends who share your interest in gardening
  • Find new blogs you may like
  • Share your experience of different plants and how to grow & care for them
  • Increase your knowledge about how to grow & care for plants
  • Save & share your favourite varieties
  • Protect plant biodiversity
  • Conserve and promote heritage varieties of plants
  • Make sure your surplus seeds are not wasted

Who can join?

Anyone who would like to join is welcome. You can be:

  • a complete beginner, or
  • someone who knows they have green fingers
  • young, or
  • more ‘mature’

We’d like to see:

  • bloggers or non-bloggers
  • Tweeters or non-Tweeters
  • UK & other EU residents only (due to seed export restrictions)

To read more Click Here and join up and who knows what you will be growing next year!

Here are three things I have grown from seed this year. Some beautiful scented sweet peas and my attempt, yet again, at growing sweet peppers, this is the Lipstick variety and one of the tomato varieties I am trying.

You don’t have to blog, or tweet or anything like that to join in, so what are you waiting for?

It’s been a crazy year for growing stuff in the UK, we had a very cold dry spring and then loads of rain but something will always grow and well, isn’t that a good enough reason? I dunno.

One final pic of the Lateh tomato, a variety bred in Moscow, Idaho and distributed here by the Real Seed Company. It has a reputation of being one of the earliest around and able to cope with cold short growing seasons. This is the first ripe tomato, grown outdoors this year, amazing!

21 thoughts on “Seedy Penpals – What a Brilliant Idea!

    1. Joanna Post author

      thanks Charlie! I am thinking long and hard about your cheesecake… I don’t think I could make it just for the two of us, but it looks absolutely fabulous :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am waiting for some of the others to ripen now… I also have one called Urbikanni which is Russian and they look very promising. I don’t have a greenhouse or polytunnel, maybe if and when we move. Sorry that you are in wrong country, maybe you can start one up where you live? xx Jo

  1. Elaine Fisher

    What a great idea – will certainly join up. This year we are reaping the rewards of sowing some Chard seeds – they were sown and then we went off to France thinking they would probably not grow, given they were left in the care of our 19 year old daughter, but they did and they look wonderful.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Oh that would be great if you joined up! We didn’t grow chard (yet) this year but you can see what has survived the ravages of the weather when we meet ;) Glad to hear that B is looking after the garden for you :)

  2. heidi

    This really is a good idea.
    I share seeds within the family- between my niece, sister and I – so we can take pretty much the whole packet up. But if I had some it would be a great idea and I’m pretty sure there is a network up here in the US. I know there is a seed sharing program for heirloom seeds- some of the older varieties of tomatoes ,et cetera.
    BTW- I love your sweet peas- such a deep hued beauty.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I share seeds already with people and one Twitter friend and I swap little plants sometimes on an irregular basis. This is a way of extending that I guess. It’s not quite as formal as an heirloom seed network but I suppose it could develop that way. The sweet peas are wonderfully dark and very perfumed, in stark contrast to the pink perenial ones that want to rampage round the garden each year; I am letting them do that at the moment, but they have no scent and don’t last well if you pick them going a strange pale blue as they fade. We plant sweet peas in memory of Brian’s Dad, who loved them :)

  3. drfugawe

    Oh yeah, this is a good way to do this Jo! What a great idea – I’ll be looking for a US based program – the only ones I’m aware of are seed-saver efforts, which I used to take part in – but I found that if I let me plants grow long enough to produce seed, I couldn’t use that garden space for other things.
    Thanks for posting this, Jo.

    1. Joanna Post author

      It’s a good idea isn’t it? Have to say that the mustard greens are doing splendidly. We had those with kohl rabi, garlic and red pimentos and a squeeze of lime juice last night together with our fish supper :)

  4. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Lovely tomato! And what a great idea about the seed swap – hope you have some fun with it. We have only just figured out how to grow seeds in winter – we bought a heated mat. The seeds were just sitting in the potting mix not moving otherwise. Have just planted out our first batch!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I have tomatoes on the other plants too but they are growing in deep bags with a willow frame on the patio and are just beginning to turn yellow. Shhh, hoping we don’t get blight on them…. Good on you getting a heating mat, I hope to learn more about when to germinate and grow different sorts of seeds, it is all so complex when you start really looking into it and I am very amateur :)

  5. Jan

    Apart from being such a great idea I just love the idea of being part of a seedy group! I could go to seedy nighttime meetings and spend a day with my new found seedy friends and we could meet in seedy places. It’s high time I got out a bit before i go to seed myself. This will be logged in the seedy part of my brain:). Now it’s lodged there I just know I’m going to have a seedy afternoon at work! Oh dear, I just never did leave childhood behind.

  6. Cas

    Now you will all need to have a good supply of little paper envelopes for your seeds and I came across this site to help you use up old seed catalogues and junk mail

    Ed: Click here for Cas’s link – lovely home made seed envelopes!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Those are pretty! What a great idea! I have some little envelopes that I got a while back for sharing seeds but these look far nicer :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I haven’t thought that far yet… have to tidy up the piles first – brill that you are doing it too Claire :)

  7. Bridget

    Ripe Tomatoes outside…amazing! I’m just about to get the first one from the polytunnel. Seedy Penpals is a great idea. I must read up more on Carl Legge’s site. In our area we have a seed swap every Spring followed up 8 weeks later by a plant swap.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I have some bigger ones growing in bags close to the house wall as well, which are almost ripe, a different variety called Urbikany, I think they are Russian and again are very early; I love growing tomatoes, the smell of the leaves and the pollen takes me straight back to childhood. Sounds like you are well organized with your seed and plant swaps already Bridget xx

Comments are closed.