JML Seed Library & Gardens

 

Jackson Memorial Library has a Seed Library!

What is a seed library and how does it work? 

A seed library functions very similarly to a book library. It is a place where seeds are stored in packets for people to check out for free. The idea is to create more access to viable seeds, and to encourage people to grow their own food. But where does the "seed return" come in? Another goal of the seed library is to promote seed saving, and to have patrons return seed at the end of the growing season. This helps to develop viable seed hardy to your bioregion, and replenishes our seed resource. There is a specific science to saving seed, and we have books to lend out, a pile of resources, and also some simple tips to encourage you to do so! 

Our Goals

The Seed Library at the Jackson Memorial Library is open to all those who want to learn more about gardening or share their love and knowledge with others.

Teach– Share your gardening skills and knowledge with St. George community members at the library after school, provide a workshop at the library, or simply help your neighbor with their garden endeavor!

Share – If you have saved or leftover seeds to share, bring them to the library circulation desk, clearly labeled. We will package them and lend to the Seed Library.

 

How to use the seed library:

1. Browse all vegetable, mixed green, flower, and herb varieties in the seed library cabinet drawers. Learn more about varieties of interest in the catalogues displayed on top of the cabinet. 

2. Choose up to 5 seed packets to take home and plant in your garden.

3. Log your name, seed varieties taken, and whether or not you will save the seed and bring back at the end of the season. The log should be located next to the seed catalog cabinet. 

4. Check out a book from our food, foraging, and cooking collection, attend workshops in our Food For Thought series, and offer a helping hand out in the JML raised garden beds. 

5. If you are interested in helping maintain the seed library, please ask someone behind the desk. We have a group of volunteers who are trained on how to maintain the seed library, and are always looking for more people!

 

Raised Garden Beds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the fall of 2013, we had four raised beds built as a demonstration garden behind the library. This effort was supported by a Lowenstein Grant JML received in the summer of 2013. The beds were built by a great volunteer crew of community members, library staff, and AmeriCorps members. We are growing a great variety of vegetables in a small amount of space, and are demonstrating a variety of growing techniques, are supporting our after school healthy snack program through our vegetables and donations, and providing workshops that are based around food. 

      

Veggie Stand

Throughout the growing season, we make a lot of the vegetables harvested available to YOU! If you stop by the library, you can donate what you believe is a fair trade for the veggies you see available. The donations all go to our healthy after school snack program. 

What are we demonstrating? 

Seed Saving! We are saving seeds from sweet peas, radishes, tomatoes, and spinach to use next season and in our seed library. Saving seed from healthy, strong plants help to provide people with seeds than can survive in our climate. 

Resources:

Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth

The Complete Guide to Saving Seed: 322 Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, Trees, and Shrubs by Robert E. Gough

Medomak Valley High School Heirloom Seed Project

Companion Planting! Every plant has a different, special function. Plants can be grown near each other to enhance the growth, beauty, and flavor. We companion planted in every bed. An example of this is the Three Sisters Garden, which is a Native American method of gardening. The three sisters are corn, beans, and squash. The corn grows tall, and acts as support for the beans to climb up. The beans put nitrogen into the soil for the corn and squash to use. The squash protects and covers the ground. 

Resources:

Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte

Succession Planting! There are a few methods of succession planting. We succession plant by planting smaller crops (like carrots, radishes, and lettuce) in one to two week intervals to have a continuous harvest. You can plant more carrots, for example, two weeks after your first planting, and continue planting once you harvest to save space. Another way, is to plant a crop that would replenish the soil after you harvest the first crop.

Trellises! Trellises are structures that use vertical space for plants to climb, like peas, tomatoes, pole beans, etc. Trellises can be made out of a variety of materials, even found right outside in your woods!

Mulching! In Maine, we have a great resources of mulch that is hugely beneficial in many ways. That's SEAWEED! Using seaweed saves water because it keeps the soil moist. It keeps the weeds OUT, repels bugs and pests, enriches the soil, and helps to put more pockets of oxygen in the soil for the plant roots. Our garlic was planted in the fall of 2013, overwintered, and heavily mulched with seaweed. The result? We had beautiful, large bulbs of garlic that were harvested in mid-July of 2014. They are now drying down in the basement, with controled air circulation, and dry, cool conditions. 

 

How can you get involved? 

We are always looking for volunteers to help out in many ways! Please contact Bonnie Percival, volunteers@jacksonmemoriallibrary.org to understand how it is you can be involved in the gardens at Jackson Memorial Library. We are also always looking for specialists to provide programs here at the library to educate our community on anything food related. Please be in touch with Yvonne@jacksonmemoriallibrary.org if you are interested in providing a program.