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Seed Trading: Hints or Tips For Safely Sending Seeds Economically

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Igrowinpa
Beaver Falls, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 10, 2012
6:08 PM

Post #9002316

I sent out some private seed trades today and since the cost of postage keeps going up, I was VERY surprised at what it costs now. The tiny, and I do mean tiny, bubble envelopes I sent out cost me almost $2.00 plus another $.85 for Delivery Confirmatioin. As I said, these were very small- either parts of BE's made into small ones, or a very small complete BE.

If you are sending very flat seeds - dianthus, poppy, flax, etc. in a plastic zip top bag, can you get away with wrapping them lightly and putting them in a business sized envelope with a first class stamp? I know that daylily seed and echinaceas can't be sent this way, but does anyone have any other ideas for sending them safely?

If anyone can share some ideas on how to beat the high cost of postage and still keep doing a lot of trades, can you please post here?
Thanks in advance,
Linda
risingcreek
sun city, CA
(Zone 9a)

February 10, 2012
6:16 PM

Post #9002325

you can use a single layer of bubblewrap in a small envelope and only get charged the regular 1s class postage, however it cannot be more then 1/4 inch thick. if it is thicker than that you get charged a way higher rate. if you buy postage/labels on line you get delivery confimation free. those are the only tiops i have.
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

February 11, 2012
3:50 PM

Post #9003272

Rising, you can't do that with any seeds over dust-size, or they will be crushed by the canceling machines and be worthless. If you can't afford to spend the money to send seeds, protected with a bubble envelope or a double layer of bubble wrap, please tell your trading partner, so they can have a chance to say 'I don't want to trade'. It costs twice as much if you have to replace the crushed seeds!
risingcreek
sun city, CA
(Zone 9a)

February 11, 2012
6:14 PM

Post #9003432

excuse me! the question was about very flat seeds.


now i get why this site is getting less and less traffic

This message was edited Feb 11, 2012 7:15 PM
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

February 11, 2012
6:20 PM

Post #9003445

If I offended you, I apologize. I have had many seeds sent to me, flat and otherwise, that were like a package of ground coffee - useless. Why not spend 80 cents more and assure that the recipient is happy with what was sent, instead of causing them to have to email the sender that the seeds were crushed.
risingcreek
sun city, CA
(Zone 9a)

February 11, 2012
8:20 PM

Post #9003589

the thing is, the person asked for a suggestion and i gave one. i have recd seeds in all manner of packaging, i dont say anything if they dont make it, as most are sent by kindhearted people for postage, and most of the time they are seeds i could not afford to buy. Even if just one seed gets here and grows, i am ahead, and happy. i think people try to do the best they can with what they have.
Igrowinpa
Beaver Falls, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 12, 2012
9:42 AM

Post #9003998

I'm surprised that more other members are not complaining about the high cost of postage. These small -some as small as 4 by 6 inches -are not just 80 cents more than sending a regular business sized letter first class envy at 45 cents. I wouldn't mind that. So KayJones, you are wrong there.These cost me $1.95. And the weight was half an ounce, much less than a first class letter would still go for at the 45 cents price up to a full one ounce. I usually add Delivery Confirmation so that I make sure my trading partner gets the seeds, and now I'm at $2.80. And there have been times that there are only 1 or 2 packages of seeds in the BE. So it looks like I will only want to make large seed trades from now on.
I guess there is no other way to safely send the seeds with risking them arriving in poor condition.

I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something I should be doing.

Linda
tikipod
(Ang) Bremerton, WA
(Zone 8b)

February 12, 2012
10:38 AM

Post #9004066

A lot of people are being over charged for bubble envelopes lately. There seems to be one or two workers who attempt to over charge me at the post office but the others don't and they always get sent if I stick it in the blue box.
NisiNJ
Bordentown, NJ
(Zone 7a)

February 12, 2012
1:43 PM

Post #9004232

I sell a (very) few seeds on eBay. I wrap the little seed packets in a bubble wrap "pocket" and send them in a Tyvek envelope. Alternately I put the packs in a 6 x 9 (approx) bubble envelope. I get postage online through PayPal and pay $1.64 per envelope. Delivery confirmation is free. The recent postage increase actually reduced my total cost because delivery confirmation used to cost nineteen cents online. So the increase in postage for a first class "parcel" was less than the nineteen cents savings realized by having delivery confirmation become free. And the $1.64 doesn't increase as the weight goes up..until I hit three ounces!

Since I also BUY seeds from eBay sellers (like a kid in a candy store), I noticed that some of the bubble envies I received had only 88 cents postage! I took them to the post office, along with one of my bubblers, and asked how these other people were getting away with paying so little. The PO clerk said "they shouldn't be!" He took out a large official USPS card with a 1/4" slit in it and demonstrated how none of these bubblers would fit through. He did mention I could put it in a regular envelope, without bubble wrap, and indicate "Hand Stamp" on the envelope. But he implied that there was no guarantee my hand stamp directive would be honored or even noticed.

So my suggestion is to buy postage online. I don't know how to sign up for it outside of eBay/Paypal, but risingcreek, who mentioned above that delivery confirmation is free online, may know.

Denise

This message was edited Feb 12, 2012 4:51 PM
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 12, 2012
6:00 PM

Post #9004516

I'm did not realize that confirmation was free when postage was paid online. Nobody at the post office told me. I'm trying not to think of the hundreds if not thousands of dollars i have wasted on this. Stupid question when you pay for postage online do they mail you the stamps or what? Stop laughing, all of you. Lol
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

February 12, 2012
6:23 PM

Post #9004556

No one is laughing, Lisa - I wondered the SAME THING when I read Nisi's response. We will all await the answer and information on HOW to order postage online!
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 12, 2012
6:37 PM

Post #9004578

I'm sure somebody is laughing but that's ok. I have ask more questions today then I normally do in a week. But when I think of all the money I've wasted...when I send seeds sometimes I just wrap the plastic packet in tissue paper. I've received them like this too, I'm always happy with what I get.

I've bought seeds from commercial companies that don't use bubble envies. I still just can't see my printer spitting out stamps! Lol
Cris316
Port Norris, NJ
(Zone 7b)

February 12, 2012
9:04 PM

Post #9004712

According to my brother who retired recently from the PO, to
send seeds in a regular envelope tape the seed package in
the middle of the envelope.

Bottom sorters go up about an inch and the top Grabbers go
down about 2". Not really much room left but the seeds shouldn't
get crushed by the machinery if they're placed in the middle.

Not much can be done about being at the bottom of a 200 lb
pile of mail though.

Yes Linda, I certainly am angry about postal rates. I sent out a
bubble envy on the 19th. Took it to the PO down the street, however,
rates changed on the 21st(?) of January and the recipient received
the envy with "Postage Due". I was floored when he said he had to
pay.

luvsgrtdanes

luvsgrtdanes
(Ronnie), PA
(Zone 6b)

February 13, 2012
5:01 AM

Post #9004830

Lisac your printer won't spit out stamps LOL but it will spit out an paid shipping label. When you put in all the info of weight and size and destination for your package/envelope it calculates the shipping charges and you pay and then print it. Tape or paste the label on your package and you are done, just pop it in your own mailbox and your carrier should pick it up for you. Easy peasy!! Never any dumb questions as far as I can see!!



NisiNJ
Bordentown, NJ
(Zone 7a)

February 13, 2012
7:16 AM

Post #9004993

The delivery confirmation for first class parcels became free only recently, with the new postage rates. Before that it was nineteen cents online. Of course that was still cheaper than 85 cents at the window.

I know there's stamps.com, but I think that service costs money. You could try this from the official USPS site:

[HYPERLINK@reg.usps.com]

I have not signed up with USPS; eBay is connected to PayPal so that's what I use.

I just print out the postage labels on a sheet of copy paper, cut it out and tape it on the envelope. You're supposed to cover all edges completely with tape, but you're not supposed to cover the scanning "lines" (forget the technicall term) with tape, because the tape messes with the scanner gun's reading.
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

February 13, 2012
8:26 AM

Post #9005083

Nisi, can you post a direct link to the Ebay site where we can check to see if it would work for our needs? Thanks!
NisiNJ
Bordentown, NJ
(Zone 7a)

February 13, 2012
11:42 AM

Post #9005286

I don't think eBay is the answer for people who just want to trade. You would have to actually list things for sale.

Also, the post office website I recommended above won't sell postage for first class parcels online. Only priority and up.

HOWEVER...

PayPal will, with a service they call PayPal Ship Now.. You have to sign up for a PayPal account, which I think is free. I think you link your account to a credit card or bank account so PayPal has someplace to draw money from. But then I think you'll get the postage you want at the best rate.

Just to try it out I hit this link:

http://www.paypal.com/shipnow

It took me to the PayPal login page. Since I already have a personal PayPal account I use to buy things online, I logged in and it took me to their ShipNow page. I entered the info for a first class parcel weighing 2 oz., with delivery confirmation. The form said the delivery confirmation would cost nineteen cents, but when I hit "continue" the final invoice said the delivery confirmation would be free, and the postage would be $1.64. I stopped short of actually buying the fake label.

So that's my best advice. Open a personal PayPal account and use their ShipNow service. http://www.paypal.com



This message was edited Feb 13, 2012 2:46 PM
Igrowinpa
Beaver Falls, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 13, 2012
12:17 PM

Post #9005316

Thank you so much, NisiNJ, for taking the time to tell us how to print the postage from Paypal. I just tried it and it worked perfectly!

You will need a BE that is at least 5" by 7" since the size of the printed label is just a bit smaller than that. So no more sending those tiny, homemade, cut-down BE that are less than that in size.

By sharing this, we can all save some money now! You were so helpful NisiNJ. Thank you again!
Linda
risingcreek
sun city, CA
(Zone 9a)

February 13, 2012
4:18 PM

Post #9005601

wow, i was using the USPS site and printing my labels from there. the paypal option seems easier. thanks. another thing i learned to use recently was the flat rate priority mail padded envelope. you can fit so much in it than that small flat rate box and they cost the same to send. and, all the priority mail supplies can be ordered online and shipped to your home for free on the USPS site (no, i dont work for them,LOL, they do make it easy to send things without ever leaving your house) I hate standing in line at the post office.
kc
Cris316
Port Norris, NJ
(Zone 7b)

February 13, 2012
8:41 PM

Post #9005860

risingcreek wrote: I hate standing in line at the post office.
kc


For the past 30 years I have lived in 2 rural communities. Standing in
line at the PO means your neighbor is ahead of you.

risingcreek
sun city, CA
(Zone 9a)

February 13, 2012
10:25 PM

Post #9005918

i dont have the physical ability to stand for any length of time. i hate standing in all lines, post office or otherwise, as it is painful. just my own personal issue.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

February 16, 2012
4:39 PM

Post #9009227

Thnaks everyone, NisiNJ especially.

I signed up with USPS before reading they would only sell Express, Priority & International postage online.

PayPal sounds like a better deal (if they can print through a networked printer).

Now I just need a reliable scale for weighing mailers and First Class Letters with padding.

1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 17, 2012
10:49 AM

Post #9009976

I use a kitchen scale that I got at the grocery store. It works fine. I already order PM shipping boxes from the PO now I'll order the postage labels that come with delivery confirmation. It will sure make things easier.
NisiNJ
Bordentown, NJ
(Zone 7a)

February 17, 2012
11:18 AM

Post #9010004

Doesn't USPS have "free pickup?" It's something I have seen but have never tried it. If it's just a small parcel, could the delivery person (I almost typed "mailman") pick it up when he/she delivers the mail?
risingcreek
sun city, CA
(Zone 9a)

February 17, 2012
11:24 AM

Post #9010011

when you print your label on the USPS site you can schedule a pickup for the package at your home. LOL i always say mailman.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 17, 2012
3:27 PM

Post #9010315

My mail lady is still the mailman. She says she doesn't care and either do I as long as my mail gets here.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

February 17, 2012
5:51 PM

Post #9010476

THANK YOU for the "PayPal labels" tip. Once i finally got the "comma-separated-value-file" format set up, it went very fast.

>> i always say mailman.

When a (female) friend was elected Chairman of the Grad Student Council at a very nerdy university, some people wnated to spend half her budget to change the stationary to say "Chairwoman". She had other ideas for spending her tiny budget!

She finally talked them out of it by saying that "Chairman" and "Chairwoman" were both human-centric, and that IF they were going to change it at all, she insisted they allow for future computers and aliens to be the "Chairthing" of the council.

They wouldn't go for that, so she got to spend her budget as she wished.

Was it CalTech? I recall she was getting a PhD in neurochemistry: grinding up chicken brains and spinning them down.



blueskyfd11
Harrison Valley, PA
(Zone 5a)

February 18, 2012
5:21 AM

Post #9010789

I wanted to jump in with a little helpful idea, it isn't much but if you are sending out small seeds in a regular envelope and do not have a bubble envelope and need to send right away, cut a small strip of non slip rubberized roll (you can buy this at a local dollar store) cut a strip just the length of the seed packet, tape the plastic seed pack to the rubber strip and that will keep small seeds from being crushed. I have had many people send me seeds that way from all over the country and never have any been crushed.
risingcreek
sun city, CA
(Zone 9a)

February 18, 2012
9:19 AM

Post #9011047

that is a great idea!
blueskyfd11
Harrison Valley, PA
(Zone 5a)

February 18, 2012
12:37 PM

Post #9011204

Thank you risingcreek, I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested, I just know it really works well for small to medium seeds.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

January 17, 2013
4:41 PM

Post #9388553

I think that some POs use the high-speed sortation machines and others don't. Sometimes seeds come through OK with minimal padding and other times everything is mashed flat.


Chris316 said, on Feb 12, 2012:
>> According to my brother who retired recently from the PO, to
send seeds in a regular envelope tape the seed package in
the middle of the envelope.

Bottom sorters go up about an inch and the top Grabbers go
down about 2". Not really much room left but the seeds shouldn't
get crushed by the machinery if they're placed in the middle.

That may be true in some sorting centers, but in others there are some rollers that grab and roll horizontally (left-right) and other rollers in the same path that grab and roll vertically (up-down). In other words, the letters sometimes take 90 degree turns.

I would have thought, like you, that only the four edges needed to be gripped, but the guy I asked said that no, the rollers do sweep over the whole face of the envelope. He was involved in the early development, so I suppose it is possible that design changes have occurred since then.

He said that, to fully protect seeds when the thickness is less than 1/4", I would have to make a stiff "collar" around all four sides with a hole in the middle, so that the collar would force the rollers apart wider than the Ziploc taped in the hole. (Like a hollowed out book.)

What I observe is that, when I get a thin First Class envelope with a little bubble wrap, some of the bubble are popped and most are very deflated. Small seeds don't always look obviously crushed, but seeds as big as Brassica seeds oftgen leave "dim ples" in the Ziploc plastic.

But I recently bought some extra-thin bubble mailers (#000) that are around 0.17" or 0.18" thick.
Those MIGHT be sufficient to protect seeds from rollers.
The thinness SHOULD allow me to pay the FC Letter rate.
If I pay the 20 cent non-machinable surcharge, it SEEM S they would HAVE to accept it as a FC non-machinable Letter.

Will the manila-and-bubble-wrap appearance make them ACTUALLY hand-sort and hand-cancel it? I will find out, but not with any rare or expensive seeds!

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