Often a container plant will explode with growth, produce a lot of seeds or grow too big for the balcony garden. Balcony gardeners don’t have much space to work with, so a lot of pruning must be done, many seeds can go unused and large plants need to be given away, sold or thrown away. But there is another solution to these problems: a plant swap.
There are plant swaps all over the country, usually held in the early spring (just before planting season) or early fall (time to dig up plant bulbs). At plant swaps, people get together at a set time and place and set out plants they’ve propagated or don’t want anymore, old plant containers and anything else that is garden-related. People make deals and swap or pay money for plants, gardening books and magazines, plant containers, birdfeeders and other garden supplies. Some plant swaps even allow other trades to be made, and people without plants or garden supplies can trade in books, kids toys or anything else for plants or anything else available. New gardeners are welcome to attend, purchase plants and ask the grower any questions about how to grow what plants they’ve just purchased.
To find a plant swap in your area, do some searching online or contact a local garden club. If there are no plant swaps in your area, think about starting one yourself!
Planning a Successful Plant Swap
If you are to be successful with a plant swap, you’ll need to get the word out. Make sure you let people who may want to participate know in advance so they have time to dig up their garden and or propagate plants by taking cuttings. Choose a spot, such as someone’s front yard. If your swap is rather large, a local nursery may allow you to use their parking lot as good will toward potential customers. A nursery may also help get the word out about your plant swap. Work together. Work with a local garden shop, garden club and/or a large group of gardening friends to put the plant swap together.
Next, get the word out to local people who may want to just stop by the event and purchase garden items. Put an ad out on Craigslist, put up signs around the neighborhood, send out emails and maybe even ask to post an ad at your local garden shop.
A great moneymaker, especially for a gardening club, would be a bake sale table. Set out snacks, juice and coffee for sale. If all goes well, you may want to plan a yearly event!