Do you dig digging in the dirt? Do you live for the thrill of planting a few tiny seeds and watching your garden grow? Are you interested in trying out different varieties of plants and flowers, edibles and herbs?
Mississauga’s local Seed Libraries might have just what you’re looking for. With planting season quickly approaching, the tools for starting or enhancing your garden with a plethora of unique seeds could be as close as your nearest library, because the library doesn’t just lend books these days! Both Lorne Park and Port Credit Public Libraries offer the
unique opportunity to borrow from their Seed Library, completely free of charge.
Once your plants have matured, you simply harvest your plant’s seeds and return them back to the library, allowing more gardeners to experience the delights of reaping what they sow. Through returns and donations, the collection continues to grow and evolve.
Pretty cool! Aside from the fun, relationship-building aspect, taking part in a community seed lending library is an incredibly earth-friendly initiative. Benefits?
- It’s a unique way to learn, build community with fellow gardeners and support novices who are new to the world of gardening
- It’s a great way to preserve rare, open-pollinated or heirloom seeds (FYI: losing one plant can trigger a loss of up to 30 other insect, plant and animal species) and encourages gardeners to save quality seeds that are suitable for our local Mississauga growing area
- You’ll save money by borrowing and growing seeds
- It’s a valuable family activity. What better way to raise a new generation of gardeners?
- You can grow and eat your own produce
- You can explore a great variety of seeds
And the process couldn’t be easier. In Port Credit and Lorne Park’s Seed Library stations, collections of seeds are stored in small, pre-filled envelopes which are clearly labelled and then organized alphabetically in boxes. You select the varieties you would like to borrow. Using the provided Membership Form, you’ll fill out your contact information and the varieties of seeds you’ve selected. Bring the form to the library staff on your way out. Now, just take your seeds home to plant in your yard or container garden!
At the end of the season, return or donate your organic and non-GMO seeds. Harvest seeds from your crops, setting some aside for both yourself and the library. Place seeds you are going to return to the library into an envelope or bag, and clearly label with the seed name, year of harvest, and any tips you can share. Bring your labelled seeds to the Library and drop them off at the service counter. They will be added to the collection for other people to borrow them.
It seems the community has embraced the idea of seed libraries. “Our collection first launched in 2015,” says library assistant Maria Pakulnicka, who runs the Seed Library in Port Credit. “We’re now serving over 600 members and growing. It’s a very popular movement.”
And what about those novice gardeners looking for advice to start growing despite their lack of knowledge? “We’ve partnered with experts from Credit Valley Conservation, Mississauga Master Gardeners and Cloverleaf Garden Club,” explains Pakulnicka, “so whatever your question, we have someone who knows the answer.”
The Seed Libraries, in conjunction with their community partners, also host gardening workshops throughout the growing season.
Regardless of whether you’re just starting out or have years of gardening experience behind you, take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to grow some plants, nurture them, and, of course, reap what you sow.