Ask Eartha: Check out seeds from the new Summit County Seed Library
Ryan Summerlin March 28, 2014
I’ve heard that Summit County is going to be home to a new seed library. How does a seed library work and how can I get involved?
— Mary, Frisco
You have heard right! The Summit County Seed Library is opening on Tuesday, April 1 at the Summit County Main Branch Library, located in Frisco. The High Country Conservation Center will be hosting a workshop and sneak preview at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 27 in the Mount Royal Room at the County Commons.
A seed library, as the name implies, works just like a regular library, only with seeds. Anyone with a Summit County library card can check out up to five packets of seeds from the Summit County Seed Library for free. The seed library is located in the back of the Summit County Main Branch Library in Frisco and will observe the same hours of operation. You can come by to check out the seeds any time Monday through Thursday, 9-7, Friday and Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 1-5.
The seed library check-out process is just like checking out a book. You can pick the seeds you want, up to five packets per year, to grow at home or in your community garden plot. You then bring your selected seed packets to the check-out counter at the library and the librarian will scan a bar code on the back of the seed packet. It’s yours to take home!
The High Country Conservation Center offers a variety of gardening classes throughout the season to help you get the most out of your home or community garden plot. In the spirit of the new seed library they will be offering several seed saving classes as well.
Saving seeds is the ancient practice of harvesting seeds from a plant in order to have something to grow the following season. This is how farmers and gardeners used to do it before you could buy packages of seeds at the store. You’ll find several books on how to save seeds located next to the seed library. These books will also be available for check out.
Some plants are easy to save seeds from, such as tomatoes or peppers; others can be more difficult, like carrots or nasturtiums. All of the packets in the seed library are coded to show how easy or difficult it will be to save your seeds for this particular plant at the end of the season. Just like the ski hills, a green circle indicates that it will be easy to save seeds from this specific plant. A blue square is intermediate and a black diamond is difficult, but still doable!
When the season is over and your seeds are saved, you will be able to return them so that next season’s gardeners can try the seeds that you harvested. By saving seeds year after year from the best looking fruits, vegetables, and herbs, we will be able to select for the plant genetics that are best suited for our high alpine environment. Who knows? We might end up with a Frisco tomato, a Dillon pepper, or a Breckenridge spinach. The possibilities are endless.
Saving seeds is something anyone can do. From the beginner gardener to the most experienced, seed saving is a great way to get more involved with your garden and local food initiatives.
To learn more about how you can get seeds from the new Summit Seed Library, check out the SummitGardenNetwork.org. You can also contact the High Country Conservation Center at (970) 668-5703 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to get more involved.
It’s time to start thinking green, Summit County. Spring is right around the corner. Whether you are a window sill gardener, have a backyard garden or a community plot, you have got to check out the Summit Seed Library open Tuesday, April 1 at the Public Library in Frisco.
Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at email@example.com.