Plant Swap monthly at the Maxwell Centre and lessons learnt!


Inspired by Tayport’s PLANT initiative we thought we’d try the same idea in Dundee. We gathered all our surplus seedlings, seeds, cuttings, fruit canes and pots and set them out in a little stall in our community garden.

Despite the rain and fog, about 50 people joined us to share their own things, from lovage, angelica and scented geranium to beetroot, carrots, tomatoes, oca and even recycled pots for seedlings a bag of comfrey to make some fertiliser!

Families, couples, younger and older people were all thrilled to be able to share and have a little chat about what they were growing and ideas.

To keep us all safe during these COVID times we set up a one way system with hand sanitising available for when people arrived and left. People were all great at keeping their distance and patiently waiting for their turn!

Here are some tips from what we have learnt:

  • Cover the seed swapping area if there is any chance of rain
  • Clarify that people don’t have to bring something along to be part
  • Two hours seemed the right length of time, we had a steady flow of people throughout although most came at the beginning
  • Have tags and pens to identify plants coming and going
  • Have a wheelbarrow or big bag of compost and small pots to divide trays of seedlings whilst you are there
  • Have boxes for those that come unprepared!
  • Chatting to discuss what people want and need is really important to make it more likely for them to succeed at growing
  • Leave a little form for people to write their emails on so you can notify them of the next events (we completely forgot this time!)
  • It was good to have two people there so one of us could nip out and go and get special requests (special tomatoes, uprooting herbs, cuttings…!)
  • Take requests before the event so you can have some things ready (we’ll be doing this next time)
  • Donation box for those who want to give something back
  • For social distancing and keeping the one way system working put up as many clear signs as you can and encourage people to keep moving around the tables to keep the queue flowing
  • You can also swap gardening books, tools, and most importantly advice and experience!

Published by manuelagrows

Community garden mentor at the Maxwell Centre

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