NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Winter is the best time to spark your spring fever with a hot cup of tea, seed catalogue and wish list in hand. SFA Gardens and Resilient Nacogdoches welcomes fellow spring fever sufferers to join in Nacogdoches’ fourth annual seed swap beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Brundrett Conservation Education Building at the Pineywoods Native Plant Center.

Additionally, seed savers are invited to share stories and growing tips on their favorite saved seeds with Dr. Perky Beisel, SFA associate professor of history, and SFA graduate students. Recorded interviews and plant photos will be stored online with the East Texas Historical Association for current and future gardeners.

The seed swap tradition is not only about gleaning seeds. By creating a space to share stories and growing tips, gardeners strengthen the Garden Capital community in all its forms: people, plants and seed stock.

“The seed swap is great because you get to talk to the grower and learn how a particular crop does around here,” said seed saver Ryan Ragsdale. “I always come home with something I’ve thought about growing but never actually bought before.”

Leftover seeds will be donated to the Nacogdoches Public Library’s Seed Library and shared with school and community gardens.

“The purpose of the NPL Seed Library is to develop a collection of heirloom seeds that grow best in this area and to revive endangered seeds,” explained Elia Ali, circulation clerk and organizer of the NPL Seed Library.

The SFA Gardens seed swap is free and open to the public. Healthy refreshments generously provided by the SFA Sustainability Committee. Donations are gladly accepted and support Nacogdoches Naturally, the SFA Gardens afterschool gardening club. For more information, contact Jocelyn Moore at [email protected].

How the Nacogdoches Seed Swap works

All viable flower, herb, vegetable and tree seeds may be swapped, whether purchased at a nursery or saved from your own garden. Viable seeds are typically not more than a few years old and have been stored in a dark, dry and cool environment. Saved seeds that thrive in the East Texas climate are highly encouraged.

Participants should bring their seeds labeled with the variety and year collected or bought. Seeds do not need to be individually packaged. They can be brought in their existing packets or containers. Envelopes will be provided for attendees to take home small samples of seeds.

Volunteers will help attendees display their seeds on appropriate tables — vegetable, herb, flower, tree, mystery, etc. After all the seeds are displayed, swapping begins. There is no limit to the number of seeds participants may take home, but generally, participants should bring home about as many seeds as they brought.

New to gardening and don’t have any seeds to bring? That’s OK! There are always plenty of seeds to go around, and newcomers are welcome to take home what they need to begin their garden.