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It’s fundraising season again! The Taos Seed Exchange and the various seed swaps cost money. They are free community services that run on donations of money, seed, and volunteer love. I donate my own time and money as well, but life isn’t free!

Approximate expenses this year are:

Advertising for the big seed swap – 250-450
Supplies (envelopes, paper, ink, pens, scissors, markers, tape, signs, etc) – 100
Postage (for seed donations received) – 75
I might have to buy a table for one seed exchange station – TBD, but maybe $25 or so.

The goal for this year is $600. It is lower than last year, because the Taos County Cooperative Extension Service of NMSU has donated the room at the Juan I Gonzales Agricultural Building. We are also sharing the cost of advertising. What a blessing! But I still have to raise the rest.

At the bake sale in February, we raised about $160. Thanks to everyone who came, traded, ate delicious goodies, and donated! It was so much fun, and I got excited about the seed and gardening year ahead!

There are donation jars at the seed exchange stations. Or you can buy Renee’s Garden Seeds to use as your trade item, if they are available. There is always a way to support us!

Please donate via PayPal below, or contact me for other payment methods. I do not have non-profit status, so this is not tax deductible! Know that it is going to a wonderful cause, and a much-needed service in our community.

Many heartfelt thanks!

14.8.26 renees zinnias_8870


Now is the time to think about seed saving come fall! Certain varieties must be isolated from others, and you will get the most production if you do succession plantings. Think about all that now for best results.

A Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and Farmers from The Organic Seed Alliance is almost a small botany and how-to text book. It is complete, if you want that much information. I highly recommend it!

Sheryl Joy of Native Seeds/SEARCH wrote about seed saving in the home garden. She offers up her own experiences and subsequent advice in Saving Seeds in a Small Garden.

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange also has a great post about Garden Planning for Seed Saving.

So before you draw a single map or order a single seed, know what plants you want to seed from, and how to grow them.

Happy Gardening!

pepper seed, taos seed exchange


Saving Tomato Seed


Tomato seed is one of the easiest to save. It’s also one of the few seeds you can save without having to sacrifice the fruit! Eat your tomatoes, and save the seed!

I learned from this video from Seed Savers Exchange. The woman explains each step she is doing on camera. The instructions are very clear and written out.

Webinar: Tomato Seed Saving

Good luck!


Bursting with Gratitude


I wrote this for the Taos News, but it did not get published. Their guidelines allow for a limited number of thank you’s, and I just could NOT cut anyone out to get it in print. So herewith is my public Thank You to everyone who helped pull off the 2nd Annual Taos Seed Swap!

The 2nd Annual Taos Seed Exchange Seed Swap on March 28th was a great success! I want to publicly thank everyone who gave time, seed, money, ideas, hugs, food, and heartwarming support. I am blessed to be surrounded by such loving souls.

Seed was donated by dozens of non-GMO seed companies, seed banks around the US and in Spain, and gardeners from around northern New Mexico, southern Colorado, and even Austin, TX!

I could not have paid for this without the help of more generous people in my life: My sister, Nina Moustafa, BARK (Bleuzette La Feir), Susan Kohl, Meg Meiser, Brigitte Barlos, Karen McCurtain Blair, and Mary Katz. Strangers are generous, too! The donation jar at the event was full, and gardeners made and continue to make donations at the Taos Seed Exchange stations around town.

Louise Blair of the Quality Inn was easy and pleasant to work with, returning calls promptly, and offering whatever we needed. And the coffee was plentiful and delicious!

Julie Osmanski created a beautiful ad for Tempo in the Taos News, and Shane Atkinson gave it thoughtful visibility. Thanks, too, to Virginia Clark for laughs and support.

Jayde Swarts made a beautiful ad for the Santa Fe Reporter, too, and the placement was perfect.

Aaron Mangum of AMZ Sign & Print donated signs and made a fantastic banner.

Thanks to every radio station that ran a PSA from Alamosa to Santa Fe, and all the extra shootouts on KNCE. Thank you, Stephanie Lynn!

My set-up and delivery crews eased a lot of stress! Julie Osmanski, Presy Baca, Karen McCurtain Blair, Merly James, Harrison James, Sandy Norton, Ron Hagg, Rochelle Rex, and Lia Blase made this early morning chore effortless.

Rochelle Rex and Presy Baca helped pack up the seeds, dismantle the displays, and load my car at the end of the event. That’s an overwhelming job for one person, so I can’t express enough appreciation for the help!

And of course, thank you to everyone who came, traded seed, bought seed, and talked gardening! It was a thrill to meet so many people I know online only, to see old friends, meet new friends, and to network. I can’t forget the people who were there in spirit, too. I am looking forward to next year!

If you missed the event, there are Taos Seed Exchange stations set up every day at Pieces, More Pieces, the Dixon Market, ReThreads, KOKO, Taos Herb, and the Habitat ReStore. Consider them perpetual seed swaps! Many thanks to these host businesses for being passionate about the project.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone that’s been supportive of the Taos Seed Exchange, now in its third year. It is truly a community project!

taos seed exchange, seeds, taos


A Seed Exchange is Pure Joy


Taos Seed Exchange, SeedBroadcastSeedBroadcast asked me to write something for their Spring 2015 issue. This is a copy of the article, in case you have not picked up an issue at one of the seed exchange stations or the seed swap in March.

Many thanks to Chrissie Orr, who I met at a seed swap in Peñasco in April, and the SeedBroadcast crew for their work in the farm field and in the seed field! Read about them on their website, and follow their Facebook page to hear their broadcasts of interviews with farmers and seed savers.

The Taos (NM) Seed Exchange sprouted in January 2013. As I wondered what to do with my ever-expanding seed stash, I came across two organizations that inspired me. I took ideas from Eating in Public in Hawaii and the Richmond CA seed library, Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library to create a hybrid for my quirky agricultural community.

I embraced the ideas of sharing and recycling. The Taos Seed Exchange became a perpetual seed swap for home gardeners. Seed exchange stations were made of recycled boxes and furniture, and they were set up in progressive businesses around the region. They provided places for gardeners to share their seed stashes and trade for something new throughout the growing season.

Magic and sharing

This project has been built with magic and the goodness of gardeners. Whatever I’ve needed has come graciously and easily, be it seeds, supplies, stamina, brainstorming, venues or problem solving. If I ever had a question, it was answered quickly. I felt like a catalyst for the universe to get seed to local gardeners. It was that effortless.

Along with seed, I also disseminated gardening information. As people caught on to the dangers of GMOs and pesticides, they wanted to learn how to grow their own food. They felt it was safer.

I fielded a lot of Gardening 101 type questions and helped many new gardeners get started. They grew and bloomed throughout the season. They were fearless and excited about experimenting. They learned how to sow seed in spring, put up food for winter, and everything in between. I was honored to be a part of their joy!

The Taos Seed Exchange was built on donations. Seed companies and local gardeners donated hundreds of pounds of seed the first year. The second year was bigger, and this year, I have a small storeroom full of donated seed!

Now people around the country are contacting me for seed to start their own exchanges and libraries. I have been happy to pay it forward and donate to get them on their way. Sharing is key.


The Taos Seed Exchange is in its 3rd season and continues to expand. If it sprouted two years ago, I’d say its first true leaves are now showing. There is much to look forward to, and I will coax it along with good nutrients, light and warmth.

I held a small seed swap to celebrate National Seed Swap Day on January 31st. Now I am energized about the coming year! I met gardeners new to the area eager to take on the challenges of our harsh growing conditions. I connected with colleagues to create more events, and I shared a lot of seed and gardening advice.

Gardeners are a good lot. I am grateful for and warmed by everyone I have met. I feel blessed by the generous offerings of organizations such as Eating in Public, the Richmond Seed Lending Library, the Cleveland Seed Bank, Native Seeds/SEARCH, SEEeD (Semillas Españolas Ecologicas en Deposito), and every seed company and seed farmer that has made a donation or that I have had a conversation with.

The businesses hosting the seed exchange stations are as passionate and excited about this venture as I am. Gardeners everywhere inspire me to keep learning and growing. This has truly been a community effort!

The Taos Seed Exchange is the most gratifying project I have ever been involved in. It’s heartwarming, fun and full of love. It is pure joy.