NATIONAL SEED SWAP DAY – Last Saturday in January

National Seed Swap Day | Last Saturday in January
(Last Updated On: January 25, 2023)


National Seed Swap Day on the last Saturday in January serves as a reminder to gardeners that spring is on its way. It is also an ideal time for gardeners to gather and swap seeds in preparation for starting seeds indoors.


Click play and enjoy a story about National Seed Swap Day featuring our founder, Marlo Anderson. If you enjoy the 2-minute show, subscribe with your favorite podcast player.

The seed swap is a fundamental part of human history. Seeds were one of the first commodities valued and traded. Today, modern gardeners collect and exchange seeds for many reasons ranging from cultivating rare, heirloom varieties to basic thrift. The exchange of seeds perpetuates biodiversity, too. It is an act of giving and the ultimate form of recycling.


  • Exchange seeds with friends, attend a local seed swap, or help organize one.
  • Post your events online so they are easily found using #SeedSwapDay
  • Experienced gardeners offer seed collection, labeling, and preservation tips. 
  • Generate interest in your seed swaps. Plan urban gardens or community gardens. Not only do they improve the look of your community but they also provide nutritious food, too.
  • Offer classes for starting seeds indoors and successful transplanting. 
  • Be sure to include children. They love to garden!
  • Attend local events and show your support by volunteering.
  • Share your seed swap events and use #SeedSwapDay to post on social media.


The first annual Washington Gardener Magazine Seed Exchange was held in Washington, DC, on January 26, 2006. Kathy Jentz, the editor/publisher of the magazine had the last Saturday of January named an official holiday and National Seed Swap Day was born. After that event’s success, seed swaps in other cities across the nation have joined in celebrating the day each year on (or around) the last Saturday in January.

Submitted by guest columnist Kathy Jentz

Seed Swap FAQ

Q. How do I harvest seeds for a seed swap?
A. Collect fully ripe seeds of an individual plant lay them out to dry on a plate and expose them to the air for several days. The length of time will vary depending on the seed, but 2-3 days should be sufficient for most seeds. Place them in a labeled jar or envelope so you can easily identify the seeds. When you’re ready to swap, place seeds in individually labeled envelopes.

Q. Should I provide planting and growing information with the seeds?
A. Information such as when to plant, types of soil that worked best for you, sun vs. shade plant, and germination info are helpful to others. If you can provide these details, please do. However, not every gardener keeps track of this information.

Q. Are seed swaps a good way to start gardening?
A. Yes. While most people swap seeds to add variety to their gardens, gardeners also enjoy spreading their love of flowers and vegetables to new gardeners.

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