PlantCatching spawned from a simple idea

It should be possible to find plants, seeds and crops in your local area, given by neighbors who also garden. We all like to replace ornamental plants or try a new vegetable variety. As citizens, we also would like to get a solidarity access to the food produced by vegetable gardens, thanks to, among others, the Incredible Edible movement.

The avid gardener always has plants to offer. This may be a plant to be divided, perhaps a plant which doesn’t fair well in the garden conditions, or extra seedlings and seeds too. We don’t always know with whom to share this surplus of plants, and more often than not it ends up in the garbage or compost.

PlantCatching wants to solve both of these problems by helping you find new plants close to you and giving you the means to provide your own. The service also partners with the Incredible Edible movement to promote the shared edible containers on the map. It would be very surprising if you did not meet more people with the same passion as you after using PlantCatching!

What to give

For now PlantCatching allows you to give:

  • a plant in earth (which will generally be a perennial that you want to replace or divide, or a vegetable seedling, but nothing prevents you from giving houseplants or annuals),
  • a seed package,
  • a bag of bulbs.
  • fruits and vegetables from your own production,
  • the content of your "Incredible Edible" containers,
  • gardening materials like soil, compost, rocks, containers, ... This category has a large meaning so everying related to materials is accepted (eg compost worms).

Be aware that there are legal restrictions which may be found on the website under Terms of use.

Three types of plant donation

In public mode, you leave your donation in front of your home or at an authorised public space and you attach a special label printed from the website. Like existing members, a passerby can take it without your presence and in turn discover what PlantCatching is all about.
When a donation is released in semi-private mode, you need to consult the map on this website to find out where it is located. Passersby cannot see it and cannot take it. Once you’ve discovered it near you, it is nothing more than going to retrieve it by following the instructions of the donor.
In private mode, you will need to consult the map on this site to discover a donation and to contact the donor to pick it up. This method of donation is similar to traditional ads but can be useful, for example, to be two people to divide a plant and minimize its suffering.

The choice of method used depends on your personal taste. You may prefer to meet your neighbors, in which case the private mode is preferred. You want to make your plant available quickly just before leaving for work? Public or semi-private modes are for you.

The contents and presentation of the donation itself can guide your choice. A packet of seeds may be donated, attached to a support for visibility. But what about a fragile perennial for which it would be better to dig up and replant as soon as possible? In this case, the private mode seems more appropriate.

Finally, if you wish to develop PlantCatching most effectively in your neighborhood then public mode is preferred. This will challenge passing gardeners who will take your plant donations and surely want to help enlarge the family of PlantCatching members. Remember, there are also other ways to create the donation offer and demand.

The principles of labeling

This is an original PlantCatching labeling system, used in public and semi-private modes. To help the service increase its visibility with your neighboring gardeners, you will attach a label to your donation. It contains the name of the plant, the sunlight requirements and flower color if applicable. But the label provides two useful additional informations to the passerby: first, that this is the PlantCatching service which was used, at the same time giving him the opportunity to do the same, and second, a link to a web page where they can read comments from the donor regarding the plant.

This label also enables the gardener who took your plant to retrieve your listing on the web site, to thank you with a short message there and to mark the plant as "caught" so that other PlantCatching members won't walk to your plant for nothing.

Find plants and edibles

At any time, you can search this website, indicating the desired precise address, or even more loosely a city. PlantCatching will indicate all active donations in the searched area and you will only have to retrieve the sought after plant or visit the edible container. If this is a unique donation (as opposed to a fixed container), once in possession of the label, you then return to the site to indicate that it was retrieved. When the donor confirms it, the donation will then disappear from the system, preventing other members from coming for nothing. In the meantime, the donation is marked with a specific icon indicating that it has "maybe" been caught:
If you are a passerby and discover a public donation at the edge of a property, simply read the label and decide whether to take it. Once home, you should immediately go to the web page mentioned on the label to read the donor comments regarding the given item and especially, as in the previous case, to click a button indicating that it is no longer available to others.

Request plants and materials

If you create a user account on PlantCatching, you will be able to add a few requests. You can list the plants you would like to acquire, the compost you need or the new vegetable variety you dream to try. When a user makes a search on the map in your neighborhood, he will see the existing local demand and could be tempted to donate some of the requested plants.

Publish and find events / activities

PlantCatching wants to be a central point where to discover events in horticulture and urban agriculture near you. As a citizen, you can publish an event you know will happen in your area, even if you are not the organizer. The free citizen/community events are concerned. By doing this, you serve your community.

If you organizes some events, you are also welcome to display them here. This is free as long as it is also completely free for the visitor and as long as the event is not related in any way to a commercial activity. If one of these conditions is not met, you can still promote your events while having the opportunity to support PlantCatching: this is done thanks to the Bamboo account.