Plant Swap in Iowa!

By Maridell (Maridell) on April 2, 2012

Spring just would not be quite right without the opportunity to meet up with our internet garden friends in person for some talk, food, AND PLANTS!

The gathering in Iowa has been taking place for several years and plants have happily been moving from one garden to another. Many of them end up in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska and Missouri! So think about it. You have plants that are needing to be divided, right? Or maybe a plant that is just no longer right for your garden. Well why not swap what you have too much of for something you don't have? The gathering in Iowa will give you the chance to do this.

2012-03-31/Maridell/b02950 2012-03-31/Maridell/fdcf18

It is a fun time - if not a bit competitive. The swap itself starts with either one person, or a small group getting the word to go grab a plant....and the race is pushing or tripping allowed!!!! The swap continues with taking turns selecting one plant. As the selection gets smaller the swap becomes a free for all. You will definitely have the opportunity to go home with lots of new plants. If you are new to gardening and don't have much to swap, don't be shy PLEASE come, we all want our extra plants to have a good home and it might as well be yours!!!

You actually have two opportunities to score some plants: you can start a list at the end of this article on the thread provided of items that you have and items you want. Other gardeners will see your "have and want" list and reply if they want to plan a separate trade with you. So you may end up bringing two groups of plants to the swap: those that you are trading with another person(s), and those that you are adding to the group of plants to be swapped.

Here is what to expect when you arrive for the swap. Plants are normally given an area outdoors and are grouped by growing conditions (sun, shade, perennial, annual). Veggies and herbs might have their own section. When you arrive bring out your plants and deposit them in the section that best describes them. While you are doing this make sure to keep your eyes open for plants that you hope to grab during the swap! IF YOU HAVE TRADES DO NOT SET THOSE PLANTS OUT - MAKE SURE TO FIND THE PERSON YOU HAVE A TRADE WITH AND DO YOUR TRADE PRIVATELY.


A little prep work you might want to consider: take a walk around your gardens at home now and see what is in condition for digging up. Because I still feel a bit new at this I somtimes I dig up and pot plants a couple weeks in advance so that I can keep an eye on them and make sure they are healthy and growing before I bring them to the swap. If you have not already saved containers to pot your plants in - start now. Anything will work, pots from plants you purchased last year, yogurt containers, coffee containers, dixie cups, milk jugs, you name it, we have seen it! Keep your plants light; instead of rocks for drainage use newspaper. Put your name and the name of the plant on each plant. You can use mail labels, popsicle sticks, old vinyl window slates, you can cut up strips out of a cottage cheese container, anything that works! Once you are ready to head to the swap a tarp or large rubbermaid containers (even the lids will do) will come in handy to protect your car from dirt and water.

Be prepared to share a little information about plants after the swap. You may have a gardener with a few questions before they head home with your plant. Here are some of the plants I brought home from the swap last year and pictures of them coming up in my garden this Spring (early!):


2012-03-31/Maridell/927b35  2012-03-31/Maridell/bb891e


Wild Columbine

 2012-03-31/Maridell/9a6c3f  2012-03-31/Maridell/8f75bf


Easter Lilys

 2012-03-31/Maridell/cb453f 2012-03-31/Maridell/9b1e04


Golden Tansey

 2012-03-31/Maridell/f8013f 2012-03-31/Maridell/1b3bd9

A few quick date and location details:

Nannybee (Nancy) 's house N of Boone, Iowa (Cmail TwinLakesChef for directions)
Saturday May 19th

Arrive between 9 and 10 AM to get your plants unloaded

Potluck at Noon
Bring a side dish as Nancy is providing brats and burgers & buns
Bring own beverages

Following that will be a group picture
Then door prizes and plant swap.

Here is the link to the Article on G.I.G.  Go on over and sign up so we know you are attending and also sign up for the potluck.

Related articles:
Gathering of Iowa Gardeners, GIG, Iowa Round Up

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G.I.G. Gardeners of Iowa Gathering

Formerly known as the Iowa Round-Up, we now have a new name. We have been meeting, eating, & greeting since 2003.

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