Seed Swap set for Jan. 29

Cooperative Extension is seeking seeds as part of a seed swap.

Cooperative Extension is seeking seeds as part of a seed swap.


It may be the middle of winter, but the weather we’ve had recently doesn’t seem to reflect that fact. Sunny skies and relatively warm temperatures have already got me thinking about springtime and planting. There’s an event planned next weekend that will undoubtedly provide some additional inspiration to those of us with gardening daydreams.

The UNR Extension Douglas County Master Gardeners program hosts the first Seed Swap from 9 a.m. to noon on Jan. 29. The event takes place at the UNR Extension Douglas County office, 1325 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville.

Intended to encourage new gardens and to build community, the seed swap invites the public to come and peruse a variety of seeds that have been donated by local-area growers. These seeds have been sorted and organized into varieties of vegetables; herbs; and ornamental annuals and perennials known to thrive in our high-desert and mountainous climate, some of which are native to the area.

There’s a suggested donation of $5 to attend. Interested gardeners of all levels are welcome, and UNR Extension Master Gardeners and experts from the Carson Valley and surrounding areas will be on hand to answer horticulture-related questions throughout the event.

One of these experts is Gardnerville Ranchos resident and VitalBeeBuds nursery owner Lorraine Fitzhugh, whose business focuses on developing regenerating habitats for pollinators. 

Fitzhugh said the seed swap is a way to unite all interested gardeners, from beginner to master level, who would like to learn more about topics including pollinator impact on vegetable gardens, creative techniques to increase harvests, selecting easy and successful seed varieties that do well for beginner gardeners, and the when and how to germinate particular kinds of seeds.

“I always love this time of year and imagining what I want to do in the garden, but that can quickly become expensive,” Fitzhugh said. “I love sharing seeds because it’s a way to build stock in an economical way and can allow for mass plantings. If you have the room, that’s the way to go.”

It’s not too late to donate seeds. Fitzhugh explained that this is a great time to collect them because of a process called cold stratification, in which a seed will break open and decompose more efficiently after having a required number of cold exposure hours. Because of our freezing temperatures in December, now is an ideal time to collect seeds and seed pods as opposed to the fall, when that minimum amount of time in the cold may not have been met.

Anyone wishing to donate seeds to the swap is welcome to do so through Friday and can bring them to the UNR Douglas County Extension office by 4 p.m.

“We’d appreciate folks still bringing seeds in on that last day,” Fitzhugh said.

Masks are required at the swap per state mandated mitigation measures. Anyone experiencing symptoms of illness is asked to refrain from attending the event.

Questions about the seed swap can be directed to UNR Extension Horticulture Outreach Coordinator Jessica Gardner at 775-782-9960 or

Amy Roby can be reached at


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