The weather is getting warmer, and spring (and outdoor gardening) is almost upon us. DC State Fair may seem a long time out, but preparation for your contest entries can start today! For example, you could start some seed now that you’ll plant in your garden–or share with other local gardeners at the DC State Fair Seedling Swap! DC State Fair–and you–will be at Columbia Heights Community Marketplace, on 14th Street and Park Road NW, from 10 AM to noon on Saturday, May 14, swapping seedlings and sharing DC-area gardening tips-n-tricks.
A single seed packet often contains dozens, or even hundreds, of tiny seeds. Each seed can be a fully productive plant–but could you grow 50 tomato plants of the same variety yourself? Why not sow those extra seed in little pots to share with your neighbors and get seedlings of varieties you’ve always wanted to try? One tip: Plan to start extra tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, squash, pumpkin, and okra, for example, for the swap. Herbs are also excellent swap plants, but such veggies are more likely contenders in DC State Fair contests this fall! It’s not too late if you haven’t already started seed (but do start them in the next week or so so they’ll be ready to plant by mid-May).
Please show up as close to 10 AM as possible if you plan on swapping, so everyone has the opportunity to learn about all the varieties and discuss growing tips. If you don’t have seedlings to swap with others, come on by anyway, there will be a stash of extra seedlings just for you! (If you have never started seed before or are looking for a quick how-to, there are many available online. There are also sow-date calculators that can tell you when seed should be sown indoors and later transplanted or direct-sown outdoors. April 15 is about the average last-frost date for this region.)
Columbia Heights Community Marketplace is graciously providing the space for the swap. It builds and strengthens the Washington, DC, neighborhood’s culture, community, and economy through local, sustainably produced food, entertainment, the arts, and community service. The Marketplace says it is excited to host the seedlings swap for area gardeners on Saturday, May 14, because it fits with the organization’s educational goal of teaching Columbia Heights residents about sustainable, local food production.
So whether you’re from Columbia Heights or beyond, whether you have seedlings or not, and whether you even have a garden plot or not, come out on May 14 and swap them seedlings!