For thousands of years, people have cultivated gardens and enjoyed the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. Until recent times, saving the previous year's seeds to plant the next crop was an essential part of the process. Today, many people are enjoying the return of the seed-saving tradition.
That includes patrons at the Goodman South Madison Library Branch who – thanks to a brand-new Dane County Seed Library program — can check out seeds along with their books.
Would you like to grow your own basil, beans, beets, chard, chives, hot peppers, kale, lettuce, peas, sweet peppers, spinach, or tomatoes? All you need is a library card and a place to plant the seeds for these vegetables. Library patrons can check out up to five packets apiece.
Participants in the seed library are asked to not only save seeds for themselves but to return some seeds back to seed library come harvest time. When you return seeds to the seed library, they will be cataloged and other community members can check them out. The greater number of seeds that are returned to the seed library, the greater the number of community members who will be able to benefit.
Goodman South Madison Library is hosting a series of workshops in collaboration with UW-Extension Master Gardeners, focusing on container gardening, gardening with kids, making compost and, perhaps most importantly, how to save seeds.
In addition to Goodman South Madison, seed libraries are also being launched in libraries of Fitchburg, Oregon, McFarland, and the Dane County Bookmobile. The five participating libraries bought some 200,000 seeds to fill 7,500 packets, using grant funds from the John A. Johnson Foundation and the Madison Community Foundation.
For more information on saving seeds, visit www.seedsavers.org/Education/Seed-Saving-Resources/