If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Look for our new bloggers this month. Debra Sennefelder will blog on 1/15, and Debra Goldstein debuts on 1/22. Please welcome our double Debs to WWK.

Don't miss our January author interviews: 1/10-Lawrence H. Levy, 1/17-Kaye George, 1/24-Janet Bolin, 1/31-Kathy Aarons. And E. B. Davis will interview Shari Randall on Monday 1/29 about the publication of her first novel, Curses, Boiled Again. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our January Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 1/6-Becky Clark, Pat Hale, Leslie Karst, Edith Maxwell, Shawn McGuire, C. Perkins, and Sue Star, and 1/13-Polly Iyer. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 1/20, and Kait Carson on 1/27.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Seed Lending Libraries

In sixty libraries across the country, borrowers can now check out a packet of seeds along with their books. Here’s how it works. First, local gardeners contribute seeds from their most successful plants to local libraries. The seeds are placed in envelopes marked with the plant name, year harvested, garden location, and name of the grower. They are usually stored in those old wooden card catalog drawers that some of us may remember.

Then, any resident with a library card can look through the selection and borrow a packet of seeds to grow their own fruit and vegetables. In return, they harvest seeds from their biggest and best plants and donate them back to the library.

Each seed lending library is a little different. Some are completely free while others offer seeds to members for a nominal fee. Some libraries even offer training classes on growing and harvesting seeds in partnership with colleges or other organizations.

Why do this instead of buying seeds in a store? Since the seeds are specific to the local biome, they are likely to grow better than store bought seeds. Locally harvested seeds may be more responsive to local growing conditions than those harvested from another part of the country or world.

Preserving the strongest seeds for the future isn’t a new idea. One of the largest seed vaults is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault set on an Arctic Island near Norway. It’s able to protect up to 2.25 billion seeds in the event of global catastrophe. Also, it is a store of genetic diversity since the world is quickly losing crop variety due to a number of reasons such as climate change and farmers adopting new hybrids. [Trivia alert--wheat has about 200,000 different varieties.]

So, why are libraries involved? National Public Radio quoted Basalt, Colorado library director, Barbara Milnor as saying, “You have to be fleet of foot if you’re going to stay relevant, and that’s what the big problem is with a lot of libraries, is relevancy.” She believes that in the digital age of downloadable books, tangible seed packets are another way to bring people into a library.

For information on how to start a seed library go to Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library: http://www.richmondgrowsseeds.org/

Would you like it if your library loaned seeds? What would you plant?


E. B. Davis said...

It's a darn good idea. I've always been thankful to know that seeds are kept for heirloom varieties because although hybrids may provide better yields than heirlooms, like mules, they are often sterile. The heirlooms must be kept to provide the stock for hybrids. But hybrids, like florists "carnations" don't possess the aroma of the originals even if they look like them and keep wonderfully in arrangements.

The concept of local plants seems quite sensible. I once had a blue flowering plant that filled an entire bed. Perfect for here in NOVA, but I never found it again because I failed to keep the stake from the seedlings. Perhaps a local lending seed library would carry my flowering plant.

Kath Marsh said...

I LOVE this.
I'm going to print your blog and take it to my county library. The library does a lot for the public, but in this area a seed lending library would be a blessing.

Kara Cerise said...

E.B., it's discouraging to have a plant grow well one year and never find it again. That’s happened to me, too.

I agree that florist arrangements look beautiful but lack the scent of an heirloom. I heard that some museums keep heirloom seeds as part of their collection but I don’t know if they lend or sell them to the public.

Warren Bull said...

It's an excellent idea. The variety of plants has decreased over the years. Tomatoes grown for thicker skin so they can be shipped taste nothing like home grown varieties.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I travel too much to do a garden—unless I was only interested in improving diet variety for my local deer population. When I was more homebound, I loved going out just before dinner and picking my salad with whatever was fresh.

The concept of selectively improving local seeds is interesting.

Everyone aware of the brouhaha surrounding farmers and genetically modified seeds? They may not retain any seeds from a crop but buy fresh each year from the seed (chemical) companies.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

I think this is a wonderful idea. I'm going to suggest it to my local library. I know the little town south of me has a plant exchange every year where people bring their extras. I never happened to be free that year, but figured it had a lot of black-eyed Susans and lambs ears which I have too many of now.

As for heirloom seeds, there are a lot of seed catalogs now that do offer them including Pinetree Garden Seeds & Accessories in Maine. I've been using them for years and have been quite happy with them.

Kara Cerise said...

Kath, I thought it was a clever idea and a great use of public space. I am interested to hear if your library decides to lend seeds.

Kara Cerise said...

I agree, Warren. Homegrown vegetables just taste better. Sometimes I prefer to buy from the local farmer’s market for that reason.

Kara Cerise said...

I “fed” our local deer population flowers over the weekend, Jim. They pulled up pansies and left hoof prints in the dirt as a thank you.

Are you saying that farmers can’t use seeds from their own plants and have to buy them from the corporations?

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Farmers who purchase genetically modified seeds may not keep part of their harvest for to be used as seeds for the next year. Nor can they sell those seeds to others. Nor can they buy that patented seed from others.They must buy each year from the corporations.

In other words, they pay for the seeds and can harvest everything from the crop except for seeds for a future year's planting.

~ Jim

Kara Cerise said...

Gloria, I hadn’t heard of a plant exchange. What a terrific idea to swap extra plants.

Your flowers from heirloom seeds must smell wonderful.

Kara Cerise said...

I hadn’t heard about that, Jim. It doesn’t give farmers many options other than to buy from corporations. It’s interesting that some of the largest seed companies gave money to create the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Anybody else suddenly feel inspired to write a mystery/thriller?

E. B. Davis said...

LOL! Kara. Yes, I can see a number of murders committed for a variety (sorry) of reasons.

Kara Cerise said...

Thanks for the laugh! Although, I think "A Variety of Reasons" would be a good title for a gardening related mystery.

Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library said...

At Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library (Richmond, CA), we have a "Create a library" page on our website, http://richmondgrowsseeds.org, to support communities in launching a seed library. The numbers of local seed libraries is growing - it's about 60! Join us and become a sister library. We have a list of libraries under our "contact" page on our website.

Kara Cerise said...

Thank you Richmond Growing Seed Lending Library for the link to your website. It's filled with valuable information for communities interested in creating seed libraries. It's wonderful that there are almost 60 local seed lending libraries. I’m sure that number will grow quickly!