How It Works

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How Seedy Penpals works

Here’s the detailed explanation how Seedy Penpals works. Please read this carefully so you know what to expect and what your responsibilities are to make it a happy experience for everyone. If you are unsure about anything please contact us before signing up, so we can help you.

Here goes:

Join and match

You may sign up at any time. We will close the list for the next Seedy Parcel sending in the 2nd week of January and July so we have time to sort out the matches. You may sign up when ever you wish, but we will advertise cut off dates nearer the time.

Seedy Penpals is only open for residents of the UK & other EU countries because of legal restrictions on seed export between other countries. (If you’re outside this area and want to set up a scheme, please contact us.)

We will match people up in the 3rd week of January and July each year, so you can receive the seeds in time to sow in spring and autumn (if weather allows). We will remind everyone that the match dates are coming up. Feel free to share Seedy Penpals with anyone you think would enjoy taking part.

We will send to you, by email, a spreadsheet detailing all the matches. This means that your name, email, twitter name, and (if relevant) blog address will be visible to all members of Seedy Penpals. If you do not want this to happen, please do not join. If you are under 18, you need to get the permission of a responsible adult to take part. We send you these details so you can contact your Penpal, send them their Seedy Packet and make friends on Twitter or online with other Penpals. If you use the details for any other purpose, we will take you off the scheme. If you’ve not heard from us within 7 days of the list closing, please get in touch by email or twitter.

Contact your Seedy Penpal

You will email your Seedy Penpal as soon as possible after you have received their details, and no later than 7 days after we send out the spreadsheet, to find out their postal address and Seedy Preferences. If you don’t do this, and no prior arrangement has been made with us, we will reallocate your Seedy Penpal and you will be out of the scheme until you make contact with us.

To make sure you understand the preferences of your Seedy Penpal, we think a good e-mail exchange where you are honest about your preferences is the key. However, the more specific you are, please bear in mind that this may limit the choices that your Seedy Penpal can send you. By all means, feel free to request that you only receive hand-harvested Himalayan heritage seeds, but don’t expect this to place an obligation on your Seedy Penpal to book a ticket to Kathmandu, or to rush out to buy these seeds especially for you. We have a handy draft Seedy Email to help you ask useful questions.

If you have not heard from your Seedy Penpal within seven days of our email to you, please let us know, and we will try to reassign you.

If you would like to drop out, or find that you cannot join in for one particular swap, please let us know ASAP, so that we can take you off the rotation.

Getting Seedy

We think that the Seedy Penpals is going to work best with your spare seeds. We don’t expect you to go out and buy brand new seeds for each other (although if there is a packet that you want to buy especially for your Seedy Penpal, feel free). We think it will work like a real life seed swap, where you donate your surplus seeds.

As you may not have seeds in their original packets, and because your Seedy Packet will go through the post, please make sure that the seed varieties are separated and that you include brief instructions how to grow and cultivate each of them. If you think the seed is at or near the end of its life, please tell your Seedy Penpal so they know what to expect.

Please be conscious that your Seedy Penpal may have a different size & type of garden and a different gardening style and experience to you. We think that about 5 varieties of seeds should be manageable, but we will leave what and how much you send up to you. This is one of the things to make sure you check with your Seedy Penpal once you are matched.

If the plant that grows from your seed is likely to be invasive, or is noxious to pets or may present other problems to your Seedy Penpal, consider whether to send it and, if you do, let them have any relevant cautions.

Seedy Packets

Please send out your ‘Seedy Packets’ no later than the 15th of the month that follows your allocation, so that your Seedy Penpal will be able to join in with the round up.

When you receive your Seedy Packet, let your Penpal know by Twitter and/or email and say ‘thanks!’.

Seedy Cuttings on blogs

On the last day of February and August we ask those of you with blogs to join in with a post to give your answers to the Seedy Survey. These are a few questions about your Seedy Parcel. You can add the link to the Seedy Survey posts that we will host on these dates. If you are matched with someone who does not have their own blog, then you may like to consider hosting a guest post from them, so they can join in with the discussion, and show off what you sent them.

On the last Friday of each month, we will host Seedy Cuttings, where you are welcome to add a link to any posts that you have written about your Seed Packet. This could be progress of the plants, or to ask for any help or advice you might need. If you do not have your own blog, feel free to comment on these posts with your updates.

Tweet, chat & questions

We encourage you to use the hashtag #SeedyPenpals on Twitter, to share any news or ask questions throughout the year, so that fellow Tweeters can quickly see what you are up to, or offer you some advice.

If you have any questions about Seedy Penpals, please ask in the comments below, or send me an e-mail, or Tweet me and ask.

Now, if you’re happy with all that, please sign up!


9 responses to “How It Works

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  2. beegreaves

    Hello! This sounds fantastic but I’ve missed the deadline, doh. Is there a reserve list/ any other late comers? Thank you x

  3. Pingback: Seedy Survey August 2012 | ediblethings

  4. Robert

    Hope I#m not too late; I’ve only just heard about this. I don’t know quite what I’m going to have to swap this year after such a lousy season, but there should be something!

  5. Pingback: Seedy Penpals : Bifurcated Carrots

  6. I would love to join up but would not be happy for all my details to available on a list to everybody else who joins so very regretfully will have to stay away. But I wish you best of luck with the scheme and if your terms and conditions change then I would certainly join up!

    • I understand. It is somethimg that we have wrestled with, but we needed to strike a balance between administrative effort and privacy, and this was a compromise we reached, for now. We are conducting a review soon, and this will form part of that review.
      If it helps, you only share your address with the Penpal who is going to send you things.
      Thank you for your feedback, though. It is really helpful to know what works and what doesn’t work for people. If any of you have any further thoughts that you wish to share either comment here, or feel free to e-mail me, if you would like this to be more private.

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