Seed library created to protect, grow plant species

By Tyler Marr
April 5, 2017 - 12:00pm

A new project in Prince Albert is looking to attract would-be gardeners.

A seed library has sprouted at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library in order to lend seeds instead of books to interested growers.

The project has a simple premise: visitors can examine the cabinet and select seeds to plant, then return seeds produced in their garden to the library at the end of the season.

Collection and Readers Advisory Librarian Meghan O’Leary explained how the project is also intended to build a more resilient seed base for the area.

“Seeds are kind of like animals," O’Leary said. "There are certain species that will go extinct unless we try to save them. If you have a special type of heirloom seed… unless you save those seeds from each generation of seed, you are going to lose those seeds eventually.”

Planting, growing and replanting the resulting the crop helps to create stronger seeds that can more easily adapted to local growing conditions. This increases plant variety and genetic diversity to aid in fighting off disease and extinction. 

The idea, which is being implimented in partnership with the Prince Albert Permaculture Guild, bloomed from a similar project found at the Moose Jaw Public Library.

Currently, the Prince Albert seed library is contained in a two-drawer green cabinet nestled in the corner on the upper floor of the library, and contains a wide variety of vegetables and a few flower seeds.

Seeds able to be shared and saved must be true to type, not a genetically modified organism (GMO), hybrid or treated with products like preservatives, fungicides and pesticides.

All the seeds in the library can be comfortably grown in the local conditions and provide plants that produce seeds easily harvested in the fall.

O’Leary said the project is directed towards anyone who has an interest in gardening, from seasoned green thumbs to the novice horticulturist.

For more information, the seed library has a dedicated page on the John M. Cuelenaere website. 

The library will also host an official launch for the project at their "Seedy Saturday" event April 22 in conjunction with Earth Day.


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On Twitter: @JournoMarr

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