If you like growing plants, you will LOVE this upcoming event. This Saturday, September 22, is the biannual North Charleston Plant Swap.
I started doing this nine or 10 years ago (I've lost count!). I first learned about the swaps by attending one in Raleigh, North Carolina. It seemed simple enough and I wondered why there was nothing like it here in North Charleston. An event was born!
It has come a long way over the years. The very first swap had seven people and some 30 plants or so. This past spring, we had 105 participants and more than 3,000 plants were swapped!
1. It gives you a chance to meet some of your neighbors—to get to know them, learn what kind of plants they are growing, and see which ones they have had success with.
2. You're able to get rid of some of those extra plants that you have. Do you really need eight basil plants? This gives you the chance to swap them out for something else that you don't have.
3. It's a real money saver. As I mentioned, you're swapping plants out for others you don't already have, meaning you don't have to go out and purchase them.
4. It is just plain fun! There's a potluck picnic afterwards, if you want to attend. It's not mandatory, but the information that can be obtained by chit chatting with somebody over a piece of fried chicken is priceless.
We are having it at Park Circle in North Charleston, by the Gazebo. There are picnic tables, bathrooms, LOTS of room for kids to play, and even more room for plants, parking, and food. If you want or need directions, email me, TheCitrusGuy@netzero.com. I will respond ASAP.
10 a.m.: Set up, browse, and ask questions
11 a.m.: The swap begins
Immediately afterward: LUNCH!
Please notice that the actual swap does not kick off until 11 a.m. I have the setup time listed as 10:00 because many people like to get there, unload their plants, then watch to see what else comes in. That way, they can formulate a game plan for what they want to get.
Bring ALL of your extra plants. If it grows, it will go! This includes houseplants and any garden-related items—hoses, garden art, containers, etc. Someone once brought a roll of chicken wire that was VERY well received. I think the person that got it was going to make a compost bin.
The swap will be a basic free for all. As folks arrive, the plants will be spread out within the designated area.
Swap plants being placed
Watching and waiting for the swap to begin
There will not be any groupings, or specific plant sections. Once the plants are placed on the ground, they will not be moved until the swap begins. This way there will not be any hoarding or unfair advantages. If a plant needs to be moved for some reason, there are attendants who know who they are and will take care of it. I will say "go," and everybody will grab ONE plant and take it to their "hiding area," usually by their vehicle or a nearby tree (so that nobody grabs the same plant again). After everyone has a plant, we repeat the process until all the plants are gone. Nice and simple!
Choosing the plants
As for the picnic, there will be plates, napkins, and such, but please bring your own drinks and a covered dish for as many as you can. We like to do a potluck style picnic and encourage everybody to stick around and participate. One of the questions I usually get is, “What should I bring food-wise?” If you would bring the dish to a picnic or the beach, that works! The socializing afterwards is as much fun as the swap itself, so try to give yourself enough time to stay afterward and enjoy yourself.
Happy growing and I hope to see you at the swap!