By Heather Collins
Seed libraries are a growing trend across the nation, and a local one is just beginning to sprout at Carmel Clay Public Library.
Open-pollinated and heirloom seed packets became available for checkout at the library March 4. Since CCPL is the only seed library in Hamilton County, and anyone with a valid library card from any county library can check out the seeds.
Carmel residents and Hamilton County Master Gardeners Jennifer Lambert and Shelli Broadbent uncovered the idea for the Seed Library during the 2016 Master Gardeners State Conference at Purdue University and hoped to bring the idea to fruition locally.
The program, which is maintained by the volunteers of the Hamilton County Master Gardeners Association, is targeted towards community gardens and the average home gardener.
Beth Jenneman, CCPL communications manager, said the Seed Library will help to support CCPL’s mission of fostering lifelong discovery and facilitating collaboration between people and community organizations.
“Providing the seeds, books and other educational materials in the library connects people with the resources they need to get started, and to keep going,” Jenneman said.
CCPL cardholders can select five packets per checkout and are allotted 15 packets for the season through October. Open-pollinated seeds that are self-pollinated can be returned to the library at the end of the growing season.
Jennman said the benefits of seed libraries include preserving biodiversity and gene integrity, while creating locally adapted varieties of plants and encouraging people to grow their own food.
The Seed Library will host four different presentations throughout the year covering soil preparation and cool weather crops, fertilizing and putting your garden to bed. Ben Cohen, founder of the Michigan Seed Library, will host the first presentation on seed saving during the grand opening.
For more, visit carmel.lib.in.us