Tag Archives: collecting

How & Why to Participate in a Seed Swap

Seed swaps refer to the many different ways people can exchange seeds they?ve grown themselves. A seed swap can be done through a community event, online, or simply between friends. However you choose to do it, there are many benefits to preserving and sharing seeds. Let?s look at some of the reasons why to swap seeds and how to get started.


1. You Save Money

If you buy fresh seeds every year from a garden center, catalogue, or other supplier, you know the costs can quickly add up. Whereas, saving your own seeds and trading them with others is completely free, other than taking a little time in the process. You will also find many unique varieties that simply don?t exist in the catalogues.

2. You Get Quality, Local Seeds

The majority of store-bought seeds come from somewhere else. And the parent plants could have grown in conditions completely different from your local environment. This makes it hard to predict how those plant varieties will fare in your garden.

Seeds you get from seed swaps are typically grown by other gardeners who live near you, which means you already know they can grow well in your local area. Also, the longer you save your seeds, you may find they?ll get stronger and better each year as they continue to adapt to your local conditions over many generations.

3. You Help Maintain Genetic Diversity

Our world is rapidly losing genetic diversity as both plant and animal species throughout the world are becoming extinct at an alarming rate. It?s estimated that farmers used to grow about 80,000 species of plants prior to industrialization. Currently, they rely on around 150 species.

The primary reason for this is to create predictable, uniform crops that can be easily harvested and processed on large-scale farms. Needless to say, this does not support plant diversity. It also creates a very dangerous situation where disease can kill off a certain variety of plant, and there are no other varieties to take its place. We need as many different varieties as possible to ensure a healthy, secure food supply for the future.

Related: Why It Matters to Buy Heirloom Plants and Seeds

4. You Support Non-GMO Seeds

A particularly insidious development in the industrialization of seeds is genetic modification. Various food crops have been genetically altered to fit into the industrial agriculture model even better. Genetically modified organisms have been linked to certain health risks, as well as adding disturbing mutations to our already dwindling gene pool of plants. Growing and sharing your own seeds is a way to keep genetic modification out of our gardens and our food.


1. Collect your favorite seeds

Seed collection typically involves gathering either dry or wet seeds. The easiest seeds to start with are dry seeds, which are produced by most ornamental flowers and herbs. Simply wait until the flowers have matured and gone to seed, then break open any pods or seed heads and shake out the dry seeds into a paper bag for storage.

Most vegetables make wet seeds that need to be cleaned and dried before storage. This is a straight-forward process, and you can find more details on processing wet seeds here. Once you have your seeds dried, they should be stored in a paper bag or envelope in a cool, dark location.

2. Share your seeds

Seed swapping can be as simple as trading some seeds with a few friends, or you can go bigger and attend a community seed swap near you. Ask a local garden center, gardening club, or botanical garden if they know of any seed swaps happening in town.

If you can?t find a swap locally, try starting your own. Mother Earth News has a great overview of how to organize a community seed swap. You can also donate your extra seeds to organizations like Seed Savers Exchange, who work to preserve and distribute rare and heirloom seed varieties.

3. Go online

Many sites offer online seed swapping opportunities, such as the National Gardening Association, Houzz, or Reddit. You?ll usually need to be a member of a site in order to participate, but once you?ve signed up, you can often advertise what you have or ask for varieties you?re looking for. Once you?ve made a match, you can either arrange to meet up locally or mail your exchanged seeds.

4. Start a seed lending library

A seed library works by allowing gardeners to ?borrow? seeds at planting time, and then save some fresh seeds at the end of the season to return to the library for the following year. If you?re intrigued by the idea, shareable has a great description of how to create your own seed lending library.

5. Grow your seeds

Another important step in seed saving is to keep the cycle going. Plant your saved seeds, as well as any new varieties you?ve gotten at a swap, every spring for a fresh crop. Then collect seeds in the fall again to share and grow next year.

Related on Care2

How to Share Extra Bounty from Your Garden with the Community
6 Tips for Starting Your Own Vegetable Seeds Indoors
10 Facts Why GM Food Is Bad

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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How & Why to Participate in a Seed Swap

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10 Uses for Rainwater

Collecting your own rainwater is an excellent way to conserve this precious resource. A basic rainwater collection system catches rainwater from your roof or other surface and channels it into a container for storage.

Rainwater itself is generally clean, but it can pick up microorganisms, pollutants and debris when it hits your roof. This is why systems for rainwater use inside your home often include filtration or other treatments for safety.

Outdoor rainwater collection systems dont need as much treatment because the water is typically used outside. One of the easiest rain collectors to make is a repurposed old garbage can. Whereas, you can install a rainwater cistern if you want a larger system.

There are many different uses for collected rainwater no matter what type of rainwater harvesting system you have.

1. Drinking and cooking

Rainwater can actually be very high-quality water for human consumption. Its relatively pure and doesnt contain any chlorine or other chemicals, which are often used to sanitize city tap water. The problem starts when rainwater is collected from roofs or other dirty surfaces. You can make rainwater safe to drink by installing a filtration system, boiling or distilling the water. Some systems can also directly collect clean rainwater to use for drinking.

2. Bathing and laundry

Washing clothes accounts for about 22 percent of indoor water use in the United States. Showers take 17 percent, and baths 2 percent. If you used harvested rainwater for all of these, you could reduce your municipal water use by over 40 percent. Depending on how clean you want your washing water, you could use either treated or untreated rainwater. SFGate has some suggestions on how you can treat rainwater to use for showering.

3. Flushing toilets

This is another huge water drain. Toilets use almost 27 percent of water in your home. To use collected rainwater instead, try keeping a bucket of it next to your toilet. When you need to flush, pour the rainwater straight into the bowl of the toilet. This will automatically flush your toilet. Make sure your bucket can hold the amount of your toilets tank. For instance, if you have a toilet with a 6 gallon (22.7 liter) tank, use at least a 6 gallon bucket of water

Another option is to plumb a pipe for rainwater directly into your house and connect it to your toilet for flushing. Check out a very low-tech method to do this.

4. Watering lawns, gardens and houseplants

Rainwater is naturally designed to water plants, and it can easily be used for your indoor and outdoor gardens. You can use rainwater in watering cans to water plants by hand. You can also attach any rainwater storage tanks directly to an automatic irrigation system.

Passive systems to conserve and collect water in your soil are also helpful. Plant garden beds along the edges of your driveway, or at the bottom of a hill, to take advantage of waters natural movement. Also, try planting a raingarden at the ends of your eavestroughs to catch any excess runoff.

5. Composting

Water is essential for proper decomposition of your compost pile. Make sure you water your compost with the rest of your garden. Harvested rainwater is also good for compost tea. Home Composting Made Easy describes a simple way to make compost tea.

6. Water for wildlife, pets or livestock

You can use recycled rainwater for birdbaths, troughs, or other containers for wildlife to visit. Rainwater is also typically safe for pets or livestock to drink or wash in, especially if you have a method to collect clean rainwater directly.

7. Outdoor ponds and water features

Rainwater can be filtered for use in fountains or other water features with pumps that could get clogged. Otherwise, you can fill outdoor ponds and pools with any type of collected rainwater.

8. Rinsing vegetables

Dirty rainwater is great for rinsing vegetables straight from your garden, especially root vegetables. Try filling a large bucket with rainwater, adding some carrots, potatoes, beets or other hard vegetables, and swish them together to knock the soil off.

9. Washing vehicles and equipment

Washing outdoor items is another excellent use for untreated rainwater. Cars, garden tools, lawnmowers, tractors and even the driveway and sides of your house are all perfect candidates.

10. Fire protection

A rainwater catchment system with a large storage tank could give you some extra protection if you live in an area prone to wildfires. Make sure you also install a good pump so you can access the water quickly if needed.

12 Ways to Get Rid of Aggressive Weeds Without Resorting to Roundup
Weeds That Are Good for Your Garden
20 Ways to Conserve Water at Home

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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10 Uses for Rainwater

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The Band Wye Oak’s Main Attraction

Mother Jones

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Wye Oak

Courtesy of Merge Records

Jenn Wasner has one of the great voices in music today, whether she works in the folk-pop duo Wye Oak, the electro-leaning Dungeonesse, or Flock of Dimes, which spans both. Increasingly, however, she’s been blurring the stylistic lines between her projects, with the difference now seeming to be her choice of collaborators rather than the sound she achieves. Collecting tracks recorded between the previous two Wye Oak albums, Tween finds Wasner and multi-instrumentalist Andy Stack in peak form, ranging from techno-dreamy (“Out of Nowhere”) to epic and muscular (“If You Should See”) to sleek and breezy (“Watching the Waiting”). As always, Wasner’s evocative singing is the main attraction. She balances stoic melancholy and hopeful resilience beautifully, and her deft vocal overdubs are breathtaking. Next, keep an eye out for a Flock of Dimes album, due in late September.

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The Band Wye Oak’s Main Attraction

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AT&T Is the NSA’s Best Friend

Mother Jones

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New Snowden documents indicate that AT&T has been the biggest and most cooperative supplier of internet and phone data to the NSA:

AT&T has given the N.S.A. access, through several methods covered under different legal rules, to billions of emails as they have flowed across its domestic networks. It provided technical assistance in carrying out a secret court order permitting the wiretapping of all Internet communications at the United Nations headquarters, a customer of AT&T.

….In September 2003, according to the previously undisclosed N.S.A. documents, AT&T was the first partner to turn on a new collection capability that the N.S.A. said amounted to a “ ‘live’ presence on the global net.” In one of its first months of operation, the Fairview program forwarded to the agency 400 billion Internet metadata records — which include who contacted whom and other details, but not what they said — and was “forwarding more than one million emails a day to the keyword selection system” at the agency’s headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.

….In 2011, AT&T began handing over 1.1 billion domestic cellphone calling records a day to the N.S.A. after “a push to get this flow operational prior to the 10th anniversary of 9/11,” according to an internal agency newsletter. This revelation is striking because after Mr. Snowden disclosed the program of collecting the records of Americans’ phone calls, intelligence officials told reporters that, for technical reasons, it consisted mostly of landline phone records.

US spying on the UN was stopped in 2013 after it was first reported, but it was never clear just exactly how much spying had gone on in the first place. We still don’t know, but one of the documents in this new collection says the NSA was authorized to conduct “full-take access,” and that the amount of data was so large that it flooded the NSA’s technical capability unless a “robust filtering mechanism” was put in place. Sounds like a lot of spying.


AT&T Is the NSA’s Best Friend

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Energy Dept. Is Told to Stop Collecting Fee for Nuclear Waste Disposal

Because the program that the fee was set up to finance is no longer in operation, people should not have to keep paying for it, an appeals court ruled. Taken from:  Energy Dept. Is Told to Stop Collecting Fee for Nuclear Waste Disposal ; ;Related ArticlesColorado Governor Proposes Strict Limits on Greenhouse Gas Leaks From DrillingContest Aims for a Cleaner-Burning Wood StoveObservatory: Clues to the Origins of Big Cats ;

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Energy Dept. Is Told to Stop Collecting Fee for Nuclear Waste Disposal

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