CHILLICOTHE — Along with books and movies, visitors to Chillicothe Public Library can check out vegetable, herb, flower and native prairie plant seeds during the second year of the Seed Library program.
Launched in early 2017, the young Seed Library was stocked with seeds donated from Seed Savers Exchange and offered many varieties of seeds. Now, the Seed Library is returning for the 2018 growing season, refreshed with donations from Seed Savers Exchange as well as Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
It is scheduled to reopen Feb. 22, in conjunction with the library’s Seed Swap event, which is to run from 4-7 p.m. that afternoon.
What is a seed library? At Chillicothe Public Library, it is a source of open-pollinated seeds curated with the goal of providing quality garden seeds to the community to be grown, saved, and shared with others.
Visitors can check out up to five packets of seed per household per week. This year, in order to ensure future stock to share, everyone who checks out seeds should plan to grow out at least one variety and return its seed to the library, according to prepared material from the library.
It is important that seeds included in the library are “open-pollinated” or “heirloom,” meaning they are not hybrids and will produce true-to-type in future generations of growth.
Ideally, when members of a community grow out a variety, saving and sharing seeds along the way, the variety will maintain a robust genetic pool as well as develop characteristics that are adapted to that specific area, according to the news release.
"There are a lot of gardeners in our community," said Catherine Barnett, a program coordinator at the Chillicothe library. "We hope this is something they will enjoy."
For those new to seed-saving or gardening, the library has all the resources needed to get started, from books and knowledgeable staff to pamphlets and helpful websites.
"We want the idea of gardening and saving seed to be exciting and inspiring, not daunting,” Barnett said. “Our goal is to empower the community to try this out. We’re here to help with any questions along the way.”
The library will offer a number of seed-related public program. Seed-swap participants are invited to bring heirloom and open-pollinated seeds to share with their neighbors, and find new plants for their own gardens. Bringing seeds to swap is encouraged but not required.
At 4 p.m. March 12, the library will host a seed-starting workshop. Attendees will learn the basics of how to start plants from seed and can plant some seeds to take home.
For more information about the Seed Library or related programs, visit chillipld.org or contact Catherine at 274-2719 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Chillicothe Public Library is located at 430 N. Bradley Ave.