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Seed Libraries

A seed library envelope marked Fat Man Beans - Need Staked on Poles - Heirloom

Seed libraries are a great way to find seeds you need, can’t find anywhere else or would like to try. They also provide a wonderful opportunity for you to share extra seeds you have with other growers in your area.

You may be asking yourself what exactly is a seed library. It’s just that – a library for seeds – and can normally be found at your local library.

Just as you would use your library card to check out a book, you use your card to check out different packages of seeds. The difference is you don’t have to bring back the exact same seeds. You are encouraged to plant them in your garden and return other seeds you may have.

Packages normally contain somewhere between five to 10 seeds for planting. If by chance you don’t use all the seeds you took, returning them allows someone else to use and enjoy them, too.

Keep in mind that the inventory of the seed library is dependent on seeds being brought in and not just taken out. The idea is that you bring back close to the same amount of seeds checked out, but not necessarily the same variety of plant. Remember to label what you bring to the seed library so others know what variety they are checking out.

Interested in a seed library? Contact your local library to see if they have one. If not, talk with your county’s WVU Extension Service Master Gardeners to see if they have a similar program or are interested in starting one.

You never know what seeds you could come across at a seed library. You may find those heirloom varieties that have been handed down through generations, a new variety you have yet to try or a new favorite.

By Samantha Cogle, WVU Extension Agent – Harrison and Marion Counties