The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Plant swap

Fruit bowl"I was poking around your site the other day and came upon an earlier post about your Poorman Gooseberry (and I noticed that you have a gooseberry start to share with Sarah - along with the other perennials we in the virtual world watched you divide on your blog and then Sarah plant on her blog.)  [Where's mine?]"

--- Charity, who provided this photo of her currants, raspberries, and blackberries

I'm already trading scionwood with a couple of readers and my three new gooseberries for this year have found new homes, but I thought it might be fun to help our readers swap perennials this winter.  To play along, just follow these simple rules:

  • Leave a comment with the perennials you've got extras of this year and want to trade.  I'd like to gear this toward edibles and permaculture classics (like comfrey), but feel free to offer other plants and scionwood.  Include your wish list too, along with your email address.  (You can email me to remove your comment once you're swapped out if don't want to get inundated with requests.)
  • Peruse other people's comments until you see someone who has what you want and needs what you have.  Drop them an email and make the swap!  You'll each have to pay postage, but it should even out.
  • To make sure the information stays up-to-date, the swap will end January 1.

To get the ball rolling, here's what I've got extras of this year:

  • Russian comfrey (cultivar unknown)
  • Egyptian onions (bottom bulbs at this time of year)
  • Caroline ever-bearing red raspberies (extremely productive, especially in the fall)
  • Thornless blackberries (unknown cultivar; it's very vigorous, with huge berries, but dies back one winter in three in our zone 6 climate, so I only recommend it for the south)

And what I'm looking for:

  • Scionwood from pears resistant to fireblight (especially Seckel, Dabney, Tyson, Harrow Delight, Honeysweet, Hoskins, and Luscious)
  • Sal (Gene strain), Marselles vs Black, and Blue Celeste figs
  • All kinds of weird permaculture plants.  If you want something I have, feel free to offer something in trade.

If the swap goes over well, I'll try to save back some other interesting perennials next year, like gooseberries, echinacea, chives, and figs.  Maybe a plant swap can be an annual event?

Be sure to order by Monday if you want to gift a chicken waterer this holiday season.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Thanks, Anna.

I'm particularly looking for gooseberries, currants, and kiwis at this point. European or Canadian elders would also be nice. I would particularly love Poorman, Hinnomaki Red, Hinnomaki Yellow, and/or Red George gooseberries. I have a thing for soft fruit.

I can share (some will need to be rooted out in my greenhouse, which will be ready for your spring planting out): thornless blackberries (unnamed variety that are vigorous) marionberries wild purple raspberries wild salal wild himalaya blackberries wild Pacific Northwest blue elderberries Cherry Red currant a good eating gooseberry; green with pink blush when ripe - probably Invicta or Pixwell, but wasn't labeled aronia I have a bunch of fig cuttings I'm currently working to root. I will know in another month if anything has developed roots. They are an unnamed variety that flourished in Alexandria, VA. It is purple fruited - similar to a Hardy Chicago. If I'm successful, I will be looking for homes for a handful of these. I can also get my hands very easily on tayberry

I can always make plans to organize other fruits over the coming season. (i've just taken june raspberries, an old American green (tart) gooseberry, and rhubarb crowns from my mother to establish for myself. Exchange is such a fun way to get edibles.)

caridademoz (at)

Comment by Charity Sat Dec 8 19:42:12 2012

Hello Anna. I am very interested in your Egyptian onions. Everywhere is always sold out when I want to buy them. I don't know If I have anything of interest to you.

I have various apple varieties. It was a very bad year, way to dry, then way to wet. But if you're interested I will go see what wood is in good shape tomorrow.

Sharkarpara Apricot.

Citation rootstock.

Tindora, you might like, a bug free perennial "cucumber".

Rice seed, original seed was bluebonnet, Ive been working on it for a few years, very productive, no flooding.

Florida Cranberry seed, Manchester Black, makes a nice fast growing "green" for you or the chickens, mine love it, or if it can make them for you in the fall, nice tart calyxes.

Kenaf seed, Tainung 2, another good fast green, for u or the birds, Or if you want a fiber plant.

Chufa roots.


Henry Moore corn, does really well for me, my main dent I grow for the chickens, or makes grits/flour.

And several Okra varieties.

Just type the word if you fancy anything. :)

Comment by T Sun Dec 9 08:02:23 2012

T --- Sorry I took so long to get back to you. I had to research your offerings. :-)

I'm always glad to spread Egyptian onions, so please drop me an email (to with your address and I'll send some out ASAP.

I'm intrigued by the perennial cucumber and the Florida cranberry --- do you happen to know their hardiness zones?

Comment by anna Sun Dec 9 16:37:42 2012

Hi Anna,

Nice post :). I have been wondering how and where to get 'permaculture' plants. I have been transplanting a few local ones when I find them. Seems to work well. But no local kiwis, etc.


Comment by john Sun Dec 9 18:03:46 2012

What I have:

Trees: Seckel pears, Pawpaw, Chicago Hardy Fig, Doughnut Peach, Royal Riviera Pear

Also: Hardy Kiwi, and an AWESOME squash (annual) called Tatuma.

What I'd like: -More pear types (anyone have asian pear?), or peach types that I could graft onto my plants.

-Egyptian onions -Jerusalem Artichokes (ideally short ones)

Comment by SideStep Mon Dec 10 09:55:06 2012

What I have:

Trees: Seckel pears, Pawpaw, Chicago Hardy Fig, Doughnut Peach, Royal Riviera Pear

Also: Hardy Kiwi, and an AWESOME squash (annual) called Tatuma.

What I'd like: -More pear types (anyone have asian pear?), or peach types that I could graft onto my plants.

-Egyptian onions -Jerusalem Artichokes (ideally short ones)

Comment by SideStep Tue Dec 11 16:34:00 2012

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