Over the weekend I visited a Seed Library. Guess where this seed exchange is housed? At the South Butler Community Library in Saxonburg, PA. What a great place for garden enthusiast to meet!
The Seed Library welcomes everyone. The basic idea is to take a few seeds and if you already have seeds, leave a few for another person. At the end of the growing season collect the plant’s seeds and share next year. If you are just taking your first step in growing plants from seed the library has many books to help you get started. I’m sure as the seed exchange grows new members, more veteran seed sowers will be on hand to give advice and swap topsoil battlefield stories.
I have been inspired to start a seed exchange and possible gardening club myself. The local library is the perfect place to grow such an endeavor. The lovely library in Saxonburg is linked to my local Evans City Public Library via the county inter lending library system. I think together we can plant the thrill of bringing forth life in our small towns. Okay, I’ll layoff the puns…
Last March I started many plants from seed. Today some of those tomatoes will be planted in a new raised garden bed. Another bed is in the works and I may have to “break ground” in order find a home for all the plants. (Last year my garden was excavated during a waterline repair, this spring I am starting from ground zero. New topsoil is needed)
If you would like to start or join a seed exchange find like minded people. Local gardening clubs would be a great place to start. There is also the internet, there you will find forums and groups to join. I personally would start locally because the seeds shared would be for your climate and probably have a proven success record.
A simple storage bin holding seed packs and small envelopes used to carry seeds home.
One word of caution, don’t get overwhelmed. Gardening is a learning process along with a whole lot of “crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.” If the weeds get ahead of you…no big deal, it happens to every one of us. Don’t think your garden has to look like a photo from a magazine. Those types of gardens are far and in-between.
Last year western PA had over 7 inches of rain in June. The weeds and bugs were out of control. On a bright sun shiny day in July, I announced nature had won and abandoned our garden. I left it as it was, never pulled another weed nor bothered to see if it needed water. Around mid August my husband waded into the wild weed patch that was our garden and made a great discovery. We had tomatoes, a lot of tomatoes!
I picked 5 bushels of tomatoes over a three week time period. Sure I had to push weeds around to find the tomatoes that grew on long gangly wines that laid on the ground. It wasn’t a pretty garden last year but the tomatoes tasted fantastic and that’s all that counts in the end.
by Jill Eudaly
photos by Jill Eudaly