Last week, the Wall Street Journalpublished a fascinating article on seed exchanges, a phenomenon that I’m not entirely familiar with since I don’t spend too much time with avid gardeners. Organized seed swapping, at first thought, sounds like it could play out like some shady, back alley drug deal. Pssst. I’m holding a packet of rare heirloom tomatoes. What you got for me? In reality, seed exchanges are a quite civilized affair — although my active imagination would like to believe there’s some, ahem, seedy black market aspect to it — catering to gardeners who crave more than the offerings (particularly the rare and the old) in seed catalogs. In fact, as the WSJ points out, high season for seed swappers is coming up as gardeners prep for spring planting season.

So let’s say you’re a gardener who would rather stash seeds than swap them with other collectors. Is there a club for that? A weekly hort hoarders anonymous meet-up, perhaps? I’m not exactly sure, but for those who are more into keeping seeds than exchanging them, here’s a nifty vessel for doing so: The Seed Safe by Martí Guixé for Alessi.

This seed-storing container is nothing fancy or high-tech; it’s just a beautifully designed, made in Portugal-made stoneware jar. However, Guixé, a seed collector and booster of backyard agriculture himself, has placed much emphasis on the vitality of fruit and vegetable seeds coming from the food that we eat and how they should be treated like currency and not thrown away or composted. Says Guixé: “Seeds are in some way more valuable than money. Therefore the seed safe is a must in each home. Keep the seeds you get from eating fruits, and then plant them to become a rich person.”

I’m not entirely convinced that something like Alessi’s Seed Safe will inspire folks to start stashing seeds en masse so that they can grow their own food. I think piggybanks (hello there, CoinStar) will forever rule. But the concept behind the design (available in Europe starting next month) is truly lovely and a great gift idea for gardeners already in the habit of saving and replanting the seeds that come from produce consumed at home.

Do you save/collect fruit and veggie seeds? Would having something like the Seed Safe sitting on your kitchen counter perhaps encourage  you to do so? 

Via [TreeHugger]

Images: Alessi

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Stash n' plant: The Seed Safe from Alessi
The Seed Safe is a simple, stoneware spin on the traditional piggybank that's geared towards backyard gardeners in the habit of seed stashin'.