What is a seed library? At the Fenton-Winegarden Library we have a collection of seeds. They are free to take and grow, and if you wish, you may save seed to return at the end of the growing season.
Why do we have a seed library? Over a hundred years ago, there were hundreds of varieties of vegetables available from seed companies. As of 1983, those varieties fell to just a handful. By offering free seed to the community we can keep many of the heirloom varieties alive. And by saving the seed year after year, create varieties that are suitable to our particular environment. Donating those seeds to our seed library and sharing with other gardeners will keep these varieties alive.
Growing your own food is also fun and saves money. You’ll be eating fruits, herbs and vegetables that you grew yourself. That saves you money from having to purchase them at the store. More importantly, the food you grow is unlikely to be available at your local grocery. Commercial varieties of fruits and vegetables are usually hybrids (plants from 2 different parent plants created for combining traits such as thicker skins for shipping). These vegetables are bred for uniformity of size, color and sturdiness in shipping. That’s why most, if not all, store bought tomatoes are tasteless and mealy. They are bred to withstand long distance shipping at the expense of taste.
Many of the heirloom seeds have interesting histories. Backyard tomato breeder Radiator Charlie Byles developed Mortgage Lifter tomato in 1940s Virginia, using the profits from tomato seedling sales to pay off his farm. Omar’s Lebanese tomato hails from a family farm in a Lebanese hill town. A Lebanese college student brought the seeds to America to grow.
Maybe you have a family heirloom seed that you grow year after year that has been passed down through the generations of your family.
How does it work? You may come into the Fenton branch any time during the growing season, March – August, and check-out the seeds you want. Don’t worry, you don’t need to return them. All we ask is that you fill out a check-out card in order for us to keep track of statistics. We want to know what types and varieties are popular so we can try to keep more of those in stock.
Can I donate seed? Yes, you may donate any leftover seeds and seeds you have grown as long as they are not hybrid seeds. Hybrid seeds are either not viable, or will not grow true to type. GMO seeds are not available to the home grower.
We have information on seed saving, including books to checkout on that topic. Please make sure that all seeds are collected from mature plants and dried accordingly. Please package seeds with all the information available so that we can offer this information with them during the next season.
Programs: We offer many programs throughout the year on different gardening topics. Please see the event calendar for any upcoming programs.
Books: As a public library we also offer many books on several different gardening subjects. These are always available to checkout.
Seeds in our collection have been donated by:
Baker Creek – www.rareseeds.com
Seed Savers Exchange –https://www.seedsavers.org/
High Mowing – www.highmowingseeds.com
Pleasant Valley – https://www.groworganic.com/
If you have any questions you may email Kelly Stack at [email protected].