Happy almost spring. By the time you read this, the Little Free Seed Library will already be up and running at my house, so please come on over and leave some seeds to share with others. Or take some home for yourself. This season, I’m happy to say that we have a few more items to share thanks to Do It Green! Minnesota (doitgreen.org).
The Minneapolis-based nonprofit has long been committed to sustainability and promoting healthy communities, and with support from the Gannett Foundation they started up their own Do It Green! Seed, which provides free native and organic seeds to Twin Cities residents. They also distribute educational information about seed saving and other topics, and when they heard about my seed library, they kindly gave me a variety of seeds to share with you. They also gave me many copies of two handouts: One explains how to choose quality seeds and save seeds, and the other covers the different types of milkweeds home gardeners can plant to help monarch butterflies.
Both handouts will be in the library as long as supplies last. Or, you can print your own copy of Do It Green!’s Seed Saving handout by clicking on a link you’ll find on their website (doitgreen.org/resources/seed-library-program.) Their site also offers a link to a very nice seed label that you can print and use on your own envelopes when saving seeds at home. Those of you who visit the library at my house will see that label on the seed packets donated by Do It Green!, which include swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and organic China rose radish, garlic chives and cilantro.
As always, you’ll also find many seeds collected from my garden such as hyacinth bean, gray-headed coneflower, garlic chives, Queen Anne’s lace, swamp milkweed, butterfly milkweed, purple and white cleome, black-eyed Susan and anise hyssop. The library is located on the boulevard on the corner of 45th Street and Washburn Avenue South in Linden Hills.
If you’re coming to get seeds, use the small, coin-sized envelopes I’ve provided to take what you need from the larger envelopes and packets you’ll find in the library. (Ours is a rather informal seed-sharing system.) Pencils are in the library, too, so you can jot down the names of what you’re taking home. If you have seeds to share, please bring them in their original packet or an envelope or baggie labeled with the type of seed. Feel free to also include growing tips, such as full sun, if you like. Otherwise, people can look up growing information on the Internet.
Good seed sources
Seed sharing is great, but if you’re looking for particular types, you’ll probably need to go shopping at some point. In addition to my local favorite Mother Earth Gardens, as well as area co-ops, here is a list of some trustworthy sources of high-quality seeds. Be aware that these places primarily, if not exclusively, sell seeds that are non-GMO, not chemically treated and often organic and/or heirloom. But there may be some conventional offerings too, so read descriptions carefully if you want to avoid those. (I am not suggesting that you should. Conventional seeds are not always chemically treated.)
All of these sources are great, so they are not in any particular order: Renee’s Garden, Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, Seed Savers Exchange, High Country Gardens, Fedco Seeds, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Ion Exchange and High Mowing Seeds.
Check out Meleah’s blog — everydaygardener.com — for more gardening tips or to email her a question or comment.