What is a Round Robin?
There are many different types of Round Robins, for softball, quilting, candles, etc. This one will be a seed Round Robin. Different people host seed Round Robins in different ways. Sometimes there are themes like just flowers, or just veggies, etc.
Here's how I host mine:
I like to keep this particular Round Robin open to anything, flowers, trees, shrubs, veggies, grasses, fruit, herbs, annuals, perennials, etc. A "package" is sent out to all participants (probably a padded envelope) full of 50 different varieties of seeds which I provide. It is open to registered members of Dave's Garden and GardenWeb.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
When you receive the "package", you may take out as many "packets" as you like as long as you replace each packet you took out with your own packet. If you take 3, replace them with 3 of your own. If you take 26, replace them with 26 of your own. If you take 50 out of 50, replace them with 50 of your own.
Example: Say you take out 13 packets. You need to replace those you take out with 13 packets (different varieties) of your own seeds.If you have 16 total packets ready to share, go ahead and add the other three as "additional". (This is what makes it more fun for everyone!)
If you have 5 packets of the exact same thing (5 packets of yellow California Poppy) you want to share, only one of them counts as a replacement. The other four are "additional".
The number of varieties you receive the package with should NEVER change, meaning that the total number of packets should never decrease. When you receive the package, if everyone has followed the rules of this Round Robin, you will be guaranteed AT LEAST 50 varietes of seeds to choose from.
How Many Packets Should I Have Ready?
Just know that each "package" is leaving me with a total of 50 "packets" of seeds. All 50 are different varieties. You are welcome to trade out 3 or all 50. Chances are high there will be more than 50 for you to choose from by the time it gets to you.
How Many Seeds Per Packet?
As in trading, at least 2 dozen is the standard (to account for germination rates) when you're replacing packets. If the seeds are extremely tiny like nicotonia, silene, & poppy seeds, usually 1/4 teaspoon is average.
Are Commercial Packets OK?
Usually yes. Please be considerate of others. Any of us can go to the dollar store for 10 or 20 packs for a dollar but there is a reason they are so inexpensive and that's because they're so common so don't put them in the Robin!
I'm Making My Own Packets, any Tips?
Wonderful! Please try not to fold a sheet of paper in half and then just tape the sides. Fold the sides and top over before taping or gluing them, this will ensure they won't leak. The lighter the paper you use, and the smaller the packets, the lighter the package.
Get your Packets Ready
Set them aside somewhere so they're ready to go. Label them. If you can, label them with their color, latin name, zone, type (annual, perennial, herb, veggie, etc.), year of harvest, sun requirements, and any additional information you'd like to include. I'm not going to be picky about a lot of information since we can look it up on the net. But if you do know the Latin name, this will be most accurate. Label each with at least the common name and your email address or member name in case someone has questions about how to grow it. Even if you make three or four a day, you'll have plenty when the time comes. Your teammates will appreciate your efforts.
You Have Plenty of Time
Make sure your seed packets do not leak. If you aren't sure, put them in an envelope and shake the envelope well like you were mixing a carton of orange juice with pulp in the bottom. Your seed packets should NOT leak. (Fold the sides before taping if you are making your own. Check all the corners, the yellow manilla envelopes have a tendency to leak out the corners at the top, tape them well.)
Are there Guidelines for the Seeds I Contribute to the Round Robin?
The same courtesies apply to this as they do to trading, no old seeds, make sure they're dried out, etc. For a great primer on seeds and trading them, look here.
What if I'm New to Seed Trading and Don't Have Seeds?
There are many opportunities to get you started if you are willing to simply send a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE). You make out an envelope with your name in both the "to" and "from" areas, enclose postage, and in return, you will receive what the person has available for SASE. To find these offers, do a search at the GardenWeb Seed Exchange. In the "Search for:" window: type in "SASE". Please READ THOROUGHLY before messaging the person in case there are any specific instructions the provider requests.
What if the Seeds are Large? (like castor beans, lima beans) Use your judgement. Try to include at least 9 per packet. For seeds like bush beans 15 would be fair.
What if the Seeds are Extremely Tiny? (like nicotonia, silene, & poppy seeds) At least 1/4 teaspoon is average.
What if I want to Include Packets for the Host and Make sure they're Received?
The best way is to send them separately and directly.
I Harvested Fresh Seeds, is there Anything I Need to Know?
This isn't so much an issue in the spring as it is in the fall. Please try to make sure your seeds are DRY. Try to make sure they dry on the plant. To be safe, do NOT use plastic packets, if reason they are not fully dried, using plastic will encourage mold or rot. Paper will allow the seeds breath.
SENDING THE PACKAGE
Each package (padded envelope or box) will include address labels with each person's address, numbered in order. Use the next person's address label to stick on the envelope and mail. You will have been given the route for your team for reference.
Don't keep the package for more than three days. Try to mail the package out as soon as possible. This way the last person on the list doesn't have to wait until 3 months have passed to receive it. (The same day or next day is best!) I provide a "Tracker Page" for you to look up the current status of every team's package at any time.
If the envelope appears tattered and torn up when you receive it, please replace it with a newer one in better condition (recycled from a previous trade is fine).
What if I'm going to be gone for a few days? I always ask participants to send me dates for when they think they'll be away so I can schedule around it.
How Much Postage will it Take?
You can be pretty sure that it will require AT LEAST the same amount as when it was mailed to you.
The ideal way to mail would be to take it to the post office so they can meter it and put a postage label with a bar code on it so it gets to its destination with the least amount of handling. (Plus you know you're not paying any more postage than you have to.)
If you have a diet scale handy or other scale, you can use it to weigh the package and determine postage. Most post offices with PO Boxes are open 24 hours and have a scale (you can always call first to check). You can weigh it there and buy the stamps in the machine. Look here to find the post office nearest you. The following table is from the USPS Domestic Postal Rates and Fees
1 oz $0.37
2 oz 0.60
3 oz 0.83
4 oz 1.06
5 oz 1.29
6 oz 1.52
7 oz 1.75
8 oz 1.98
9 oz 2.21
The only thing you have to lose as
a participant is that the package never
gets to you in the first place.
This is a great opportunity to try things you wouldn't normally try!