A Gardening Tradition
Since 1959, the American Horticultural Society has sponsored and coordinated a seed exchange among its members so that gardeners throughout the United States have an opportunity to try growing a wide variety of new and heirloom plants.
Each fall AHS members send in seeds collected from their gardens to share with other members. AHS staff and volunteers compile a list of the submitted seeds along with information about how to grow and care for them. The seed list and order form are then posted on the AHS website in mid-January.
All AHS members can order seeds from the exchange, but those members who donate seeds get first choice when ordering. This can be an advantage because some rare or uncommon seeds can be in short supply. There is no charge to order seeds, but a donation is requested to cover the costs of shipping and handling.
Preparing Seeds for the Seed Exchange
Seeds must be cleaned and dried as thoroughly as possible before packaging.
Collect enough seeds of each variety to fill a minimum of 75 orders. For very small seeds, one order would be enough to fill the tip of a teaspoon. For large seeds such as beans, it would be 5 to 10 seeds.
Label each package with both the common and botanical names of the plant.