Seed donation, exchange program grows at library

Staff Writer

The Woodbridge Environmental Commission’s new Seed Library is anticipated to grow and flourish over time — much like the flowers that will sprout from it.

Now in place at the Woodbridge Public Library Fords Branch, 211 Ford Ave., the Seed Library allows residents to take home packages of dried seeds and plant them in their own gardens. The seeds were donated by commission members and other individuals. At the end of the season, residents are asked to dry out some of the seeds from the flowers they grew and place them in envelopes stored in a file cabinet at the Seed Library.

There is no fee to participate. Environmental Commission member Roberta Martin suggested the launch of the Seed Library after reading about a similar program in Gardiner, N.Y., where an effort was being made to preserve heirloom seed varieties, according to Commission Chairwoman Kathleen Whooley.

All agreed that it was a worthwhile venture for the commission to undertake in Woodbridge.

“We selected one of the Woodbridge libraries to house the Seed Library,” Whooley said. “We got a file cabinet, and everyone on the commission that gardens donated seeds from their own personal gardens. Plus, we had some other seed packets that were donated, and that’s how we started it.”

Details of the Seed Library project were presented to the general public in April.

Another presentation is planned for late summer or early fall, and may be held at the Evergreen Senior Center in an effort to reach out to more people, according to Whooley. Flowers, herbs and vegetable seeds are currently available at the Seed Library.

Whooley, who contributed basil from her own garden, said the response to the program has been favorable.

Though people have been taking advantage of the program, the true test of its success will be at the end of the growing season.

“We will see how it works when they return [the seeds],” Whooley said. “The more people engage themselves in it, the more I think it will grow.”

Unlike library books, there are no specific return dates or late penalties. Organizers just ask that those who borrow seeds replace them with new seeds in envelopes in the file cabinet at the library. “We’re happy to have it,” librarian Kathryn Brown said. “It’s a self-sufficient service that places no additional demands on the library staff.”

Contributions of new seeds for the program are always welcome.

“If you have seeds that you want to contribute, bring them to the library after they have dried out,” Whooley said. “Put them in the envelope and write what kind of seed they are on the top, and leave them there for someone else.”

Whooley said residents of Woodbridge and visitors who are willing to come back and contribute are welcome to take part in the program.

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