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Collect Heirloom Seeds Through Seed Swaps | Spring 2013 Out Here Magazine

Heirloom varieties are increasing in popularity among garden growers because of their genetic purity and enhanced flavor. But growers may have difficulty obtaining some heirloom varieties from traditional seed catalogs or retail stores.

Seed swaps offer an easy solution, affording buyers and sellers an opportunity to share those varieties. Seed swaps are exchanges that can occur on the Internet, by mail, or in person.

Seed swaps offer an easy solution, affording buyers and sellers an opportunity to share those varieties. Seed swaps are exchanges that can occur on the Internet, by mail, or in person.

"Heirloom varieties are an interesting aspect of gardening for many people, and they may not be covered in a lot of the seed catalogs … so it's one way to look for seeds that may not be very common," says Susan Littlefield, horticultural editor for the National Gardening Association.

The association is one of several organizations that provides a seed swap.

The Internet is the fastest way to identify and locate seed swaps in the interactive age. Some seed-swapping websites include Seedswaps.com; The National Gardening Association's garden.org; and The American Horticultural Society's site at ahs.org.

Find seed swaps in your area by checking with university horticultural programs, local Master Gardener programs, and farmers' markets.