Middle TN Plant Swap

 Next swap: May 20, 2017 at 9:00am

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

- What is our history and how did it the MTPS come to be?
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What is a plant swap ?
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What are the requirements for coming?  Do I have to be a member?
- This is my first plant swap. What should I bring?
- I’ve been to other swaps but what should I bring to your swap?
- What are your etiquette guidelines?
- Can you give me some suggestions on how I should prepare the plants before the swap and how to mark my plants for identification?
- Should I bring food or snacks or drinks?
- Can I bring alcohol?
- Can I bring my children or my dog?
- What do I do with my leftover plants that I do not want to take back home?
- Should I bring a garden cart or wagon?
- Should I bring a table and chair?
- What if it rains?
- What is a pre-trade? How do I pre-trade with other gardeners before the plant swap?
- Does the plant swap cost any money to attend?
- Is the plant swap open to the general public?

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What is our history and how did it the MTPS come to be?

The Middle Tennessee Plant Swap began when Jan Hobbs, Mona White and Judith Von Batt decided to get this ball rolling in the spring of 1999.  They offered us an opportunity that has spawned into an event that has fulfilled their wildest imagination of what could be.  The MTPS is as much about family, friendship and comradery as it is about plants.  Thanks to Jan and Mona we will be celebrating our 17th year in 2016.  We have had people come from as far away as West Virginia and New Jersey to attend.

From her huge heart, Jan offered her canoe and campground business as our location just south of Hohenwald, TN, usually at her own financial detriment, until 2009. Sadly, we lost Jan tragically on March 27th 2013, but our loss is Heaven’s gain.  For all that she gave us, we are forever in her debt.  Her legacy will live on in our hearts without end. 

Since our beginning, The Middle Tennessee Plant Swap has given birth to several similar swaps throughout the state and we are proud of them and support them fully. There are links to their sites available on our page and we ask that you support them as well.  

Eight years ago Jan and Mona “volunteered” Jeff Toothman to become the new swap director/secretary/organizer/ramrod/flunky (whatever you wish to call him) and as much as he complains about it...it really is a labor of love and he can’t imagine not doing this.  The rewards and love that he receives far outweigh the burden.  As we move forward, our hopes are that we will continue to grow without losing the intimacy of our group that has made this event so incredibly special to all of us.

What is a plant swap?

It is a friendly gathering of people who love to garden. They bring plant seedlings, seeds, cuttings and other garden-related items to share with other gardeners. It all started with Gardenweb.com on the Tennessee Gardening Forum (http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/tngard/) when fellow gardeners suggested getting together to exchange their plants with other members. The plant swap brings everyone from beginner (newbie) gardeners all the way up to Master Gardeners together for the fun of a lifetime. You don’t have to be a Master Gardener to come. Although you will see Master Gardeners there walking around answering garden questions! We also have door prize drawings for donated gardening items, a potluck luncheon and informative lectures on a variety of topics.  

What are the requirements for coming? Do I have to be a member?

There are no requirements or memberships other than having a passion for plants and gardening! Bring your extra plants, cuttings, bulbs or gardening items to trade or give away and get ready for some fun!

This is my first plant swap. What should I bring?

If this is your very first plant swap and you are a new gardener, you don’t have to bring anything, but first time swappers who are already gardeners should bring stuff. Just come and see what it is all about. Please be sure to tell everyone there that this is your first swap or that you are a newbie to gardening and you will see how nice everyone is and how they make you feel right at home. They are very generous too! If you don’t want to come empty handed, bring a few plants, seeds, cuttings, bulbs, seedlings, or garden-related items and follow the guidelines for marking your plants for identification.

I’ve been to other swaps but what should I bring to your swap?

Most swaps are basically the same. Bring plants, bulbs, seedlings, seeds, cuttings or garden-related items for swapping or to give away. Please refer to our etiquette guidelines and the “What to Bring” info list.

What are your etiquette guidelines?

When swappers receive plants they need a safe place to put them so that no one else will mistakenly take them. They always put them under or behind their table or in their garden wagons or carts next to their table.   DO NOT take any plants under tables or on garden carts or wagons. These plants are off limits and DO NOT take anything without asking.  It is also good etiquette to ASK each swapper at their table if it is OK to take a certain plant. Sometimes they do a “pre-trade” on the internet with other gardeners and they are saving those plants to give to them. There will be a designated table for free plants for the taking. These will be extra plants that swappers will bring to give away.  We have never had to ask anyone to leave but it is an option that is open and one that we hope never has to be used.

Can you give me some suggestions on how I should prepare the plants before the swap and how to mark my plants for identification?

Bring anything that you think someone would want. You can dig up rooted plants the morning of the plant swap but it is better to transfer them several weeks in advance so that they can become acclimated.  If they are same-day plants then put them immediately in moist soil in old coffee cans, plastic pots, Styrofoam cups or even plastic bags with moist soil over the roots. Take cuttings the morning of the swap and immediately put them in water.  Make sure the cuttings have at least two nodes on them. Make a note of which end is the stem end (end closest to the mother plant). If you bring loose bulbs, corms, rhizomes, etc., make sure they are dried and cleaned of most garden soil. If you can’t – no biggie! Just put them in paper bags so they are easier to handle. Seeds should be packaged in labeled envelopes. It would be helpful if you can include other information about the plant or flower on the envelope, such as – sun-loving, shade plant, purple blooms, blooms from March until frost, drought tolerant, etc. When marking your plants, you can use permanent ink on popsicle sticks, cut pieces of old blinds (we do not recommend cutting up your blinds on your windows!), plastic knives, forks or spoons and anything else you can be creative with!  Printed labels are fine too.

Should I bring food or snacks or drinks?

Since we have a potluck luncheon you should bring a quantity that is enough to feed your party.  Some bring entrees, some bring drinks, deserts, vegetables, casseroles…you be the judge.  It is a good idea to bring something to drink for yourself during the day too.

Can I bring alcohol?

The park has an ordinance prohibiting alcohol and we have always kept our plant swap alcohol-free regardless...so no alcohol!  

Can I bring my children or my dog?

Yes, children are allowed but we are going to have to pass on the pooches.  Be aware that there are some plants that are sharp and some that are poisonous so we do not want any children getting hurt or poisoned.  We are located between a busy highway and a river so keep an eye on your children at all times.  Henry Horton State Park DOES allow pets so if you are staying in the Inn, a cabin or at one of the campgrounds then the pets will have to stay there during the swap.  I’m sure that you understand we cannot have 100 dogs running around or getting into a scrap, nor can we allow children or adults to be bitten.  It is better to err on the side of caution on this point.  We love our pups too but they stay with my Mother-in-law on swap day.

What do I do with my leftover plants that I do not want to take back home?

We will have a designated area for “orphaned” plants that will be given to those that didn’t have anything to bring.  

Should I bring a garden cart or wagon?

Bring a garden cart or wagon to carry your plants back and forth to your vehicle. You will be glad you did!  Park Rangers will be there to help with parking as well as loading and unloading vehicles. 

Should I bring a table and chair?

YES!   

What if it rains?

WE WILL BE THERE RAIN OR SHINE!  We are die-hard gardeners and the swap will go down regardless! We have been fortunate in that only once have we had inclement weather.  The park manager will allow us to take cover inside the Conference Center which will hold 200 people.  Check out our weather link before you come!      

What is a pre-trade? How do I pre-trade with other gardeners before the plant swap?

A pre-trade is a plant trade made with other gardeners online who are going to the scheduled plant swap.  Gardeners are looking for certain plants to swap with other gardeners and agree ahead of time that they will bring those plants to the plant swap for each other.

Does the plant swap cost any money to attend?

ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY IS TO BE EXCHANGED FOR ANYTHING!  We allow swapping or trading of plants or garden-related items only!  We do have a donation jar for the purchase of products and supplies.

Is the plant swap open to the general public?

Yes. The general public is invited, however, they will be asked for their name, address, phone number and email address so that we can notify them and they can come and participate in future swaps.


©Middle TN Plant Swap

Images courtesy of Joe Weaver
Updated: 02/21/17