Do You Have Your Library Card? (Seed Library Card, That Is.)

Isn’t it cool how the seed packets fit perfectly in the old card catalogues?                    (Photo by David Woolley)


Great local news–we have our first seed library! It’s in Manitou Springs, Colorado, at the Manitou Springs Public Library, and was created by David Woolley and Natalie Seals. It opened on May 16th.

For those of you who don’t know what a seed library is (it’s a new concept for most of us) it’s a place where you can check out packets of seeds–flowers, vegetables, and herbs–to plant. In return you’re asked to donate seeds from your future harvest; usually twice as many seeds as you checked out. To some, having to harvest seeds may sound intimidating, but it really isn’t difficult. Many seeds, such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, radishes, and quite a few species of flowers, are easy to save . . . and one tomato or sunflower can produce enough seeds for many return seed packets. (If you’re still unsure, Woolley writes that the library will be giving a free class in seed saving later in the season.)

What is exciting about this  is that people begin saving and sharing their locally grown (and hopefully organically grown) seeds. It makes for stronger genetic stock that is adapted perfectly to local growing conditions. It helps people who can’t afford seeds to grow gardens, and it creates diversity, because if the library is successful many, many people will participate and share. Probably the most exciting aspect is that we can reclaim the power of owning our own seed stock and won’t have to re-purchase seed every year or be dependent on outside companies. There are myriad other benefits, but these are the ones that come to mind first. Viva la backyard farmer!

I haven’t personally visited the library yet, but I will very soon! It’s not too late to pick up a few packets for this spring/summer growing season. And, of course, we can plan on planting some fall/cool weather crops in July and August.

I’m excited to see what they have gathered at the Manitou Seed Library. They’ve received and catalogued many donations this winter and spring and Woolley writes that they have over 200 varieties of seeds. I look forward to adding my own donation to their collection this fall.

Check out their website for full details. There’s a wonderful FAQ written by Natalie Seals that details the process.

It’s fun, it’s green, it’s community oriented. You don’t have to live in Manitou (it’s open to the entire Pikes Peak Region). You also don’t have to have a library card or even an I.D.!

I hope to see you at the library!

–Sandra Knauf


Filed under Garden Writers We Love

2 responses to “Do You Have Your Library Card? (Seed Library Card, That Is.)

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