Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.

Add to My MSN

Start a Seed Library

5/21/2014 11:29:00 AM

Tags: seed library, seed saving, Cindy Conner, Virginia

Seed Libraries coverYou may have heard about seed libraries since they’ve been in the news the past couple years. They seem to be popping up everywhere. Seed libraries are places where you can receive seeds for free in exchange for growing them out and bringing back more than you received. That’s the tricky part—growing them out and saving the seeds. Seed libraries are sometimes in public book libraries, but they could be anywhere people are—and where they’ll be coming back to. If you give them seeds you need them to come back.

Whoever owns the seeds controls the food supply. Seed libraries are a grassroots effort to combat corporate control of our seeds, thus our food supply. Many well-meaning people are realizing this and starting seed libraries to get as many seeds into the hands of the people as possible. But, it takes a village—at least it takes more than one well- meaning person. Setting up a seed library is a big job and needs to be integrated into a community. After all, it is the community’s food system that it is part of.

You can learn more about starting a seed library at Homeplace Earth. If you are interested in starting a seed library, but don’t have any community connections to make that easy transition, start by growing some plants to seed yourself for the first year. Learn all you can about how seeds are formed and saved with that crop and then expand to other crops. Even if you are a beginner now, that will change once you have some experience. Learn all you can and gather your seeds. When the time is right, you will also have gathered friends and community connections who are ready to move forward with a seed library. They will need a supply of seeds (which you will have already saved) and a knowledgeable person to teach others (that’s you!).

If you think all this is a good idea, but you don’t have any space to grow plants, start documenting plants going to seed. You will learn a lot by just taking a closer look. If you have artistic talents, make some sketches of plants at various stages of growth from seedling to mature plant to seed. Drawing might not be one of your talents, but you can take photos of plants at these stages. Knowing the life cycle of the plant and when the seeds are mature, which may be past the time when the vegetables are mature, is the first step to being able to save seeds. People love flowers. Many, however, have never stopped to think that to have more flowers, the petals need to fall off and seeds form. The real beauty is to observe the seeds that come after that. If you deadhead the faded flowers you will never get the seeds.

There are many books about saving seeds—and more titles are being published all the time — so you will have no trouble finding resources to help you save seeds this year. I’m writing a book that will help you establish a seed library — Seed Libraries and other means of keeping seeds in the hands of the people. Look for it in early 2015, published by New Society Publishers. Until then, save those seeds!

Learn more about Cindy Conner and what she’s up to at www.HomeplaceEarth.wordpress.com.



Related Content

What’s the Best Way to Start Seeds Indoors?

Learn how to start seeds indoors using inexpensive fluorescent lights.

A Beginners Guide to Starting Seeds Indoors

Tips on how, when and why to grow your own seedlings.

Freekeh Foods Debuts Organic Freekeh Line

Delicious Roasted Grain is Kosher, Naturally Vegan, Made in the USA and Now Certified Organic   

Seed Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities

Seed libraries are meeting new challenges that point to the need for better education and understand...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 







Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.