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How Much is Enough Seed to Give for Trading?

 
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I have way more than enough vegetable seed from seed saving to use for myself next year so I plan on donating or exchanging some of the seeds with others. Before beginning though, I'd like to know what the most efficient method for determining seed quantity per envelope is when hand-counting isn't an option (especially for smaller mustard and lettuce seeds). I would use my kitchen scale, but it is only precise to one gram and many of the seeds I'm measuring weigh less than a fraction of a milligram. Maybe I need to find a more precise scale.

I would like to hear what strategies any seed savers here use to make sure they trade enough of a given kind of seed for their recipients to use during the year. I want to make sure I give people enough seeds to use during the year.
 
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I use measuring spoons. Quick & simple.
 
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I also typically use measuring spoons. I wish I had a couple that were 1/16th teaspoon, or 1/32nd teaspoon. For very small seeds, I might measure by the "pinch" or by the "very small pinch".

I often measure out a quantity, and count the seeds, so that I have a good feel for how many seeds are in the packet. I write it on the seed jars. For example, wheat a few years ago was ~105 seeds per teaspoon.
measuring-seeds.jpg
[Thumbnail for measuring-seeds.jpg]
Counting seeds per teaspoon
 
Ryan M Miller
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Su Ba wrote:I use measuring spoons. Quick & simple.



I was considering this method too, but I was concerned about being able to pick up small, round mustard seeds with a pair of tweezers. I'll try this and let you know how it goes.
 
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Su Ba wrote:I use measuring spoons. Quick & simple.



For plant tissue culture I use some extra small measuring spoons, a dash, a smidgen, and a pinch labeled. These would be highly useful.

I am still fairly new to seed trading. However I have in recent years conducted a few trades. I would say base in part your generosity in trading on how much seed you have and how many people you plan to trade with.

For tomatoes (which are a trading mainstay for me):

At minimum: For most domestic tomatoes I would say send at least 4 seeds. With 4 seeds you can usually get a plant and save your own seeds. That said someone gifted me a single seed of a few things this year. One grew and will set seed, another did not.

At maximum, if only trading with one person, you might send as much as half of your supply.

For outbreeding wild tomatoes: send 50 seeds minimum if you grew the seed yourself and know your trading partner doesn't have  any other plants of the species.  For inbreeding wild tomatoes, send a few more seeds than for domestic but not necessarily 50, also send germination instructions if necessary.

General advice:

If you didn't grow the seed yourself: send less.

If you only have a tiny amount: send less.

If you have an excess of something: send more

Consider sending at least the amounts commonly found in commercial seed packets.

Consider neatly taping all envelopes to an index card or piece of cardboard. Mail in a bubble mailer

If in doubt communicate with your trading partner.
 
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William Schlegel wrote:

Consider sending at least the amounts commonly found in commercial seed packets.



This is my starting place, with the grace note that I aim to emulate the expensive branded seed packets, not the cheap dollar store packets that sometimes have shockingly few seeds.

In truth I try to communicate enough with my trading partners to know a little bit about their situation, so I'll know what they are doing and how much seed they feel they "need".  Then, if I have enough, I can try a little harder to send on a scale commensurate with their planting ambitions.
 
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