By Taylor Boyd
The Patrick County Master Gardeners both love gardening and know a thing or two about planting and/or sowing seeds, and this year, the group is on a mission to share both with the community.
Several events are scheduled throughout the year, including the 13th annual Spring Gardening Symposium on March 12 (See related story on page 16), and the group recently partnered with the Patrick County Branch of the Blue Ridge Regional Library in Stuart to create a Seed Library.
Norma Bozenmayer, president of the local gardening group, said Garry Clifton, branch manager, gave the group permission to create a seed collection site near the checkout desk in the library.
Library visitors and seed aficionados can place flower, herb, and/or vegetable seeds in the box upon entering the library.
“We accept any seeds people collect. People are putting packets, things that they probably bought and didn’t grow, or got extras or something in the box. It also can be the remaining seeds from packets people have opened but didn’t use, or seeds collected from their flowers or yard,” she said.
Seed donations should be labeled to include information such as the name, color and species, if known, as well as where the seeds came from, when they were collected, Bozenmayer said.
“Seeds have such a varying lifespan depending on the variety, some can last 10 to 20 years, and others maybe won’t be very good after a year,” she said, adding only viable seeds will be distributed.
Collected seeds will be sorted into piles and package them into smaller envelopes to make it easier for patrons and visitors to take what they need, Bozenmayer said, and added that the packages then will be put into a seed holder filing system that will be installed on the side of the shelf in the non-fiction section of the library.
Clifton “chose this area because it’s right by all the gardening books,” Bozenmayer said, chuckling.
Those who want seeds are asked to take only what they need, and return any extras after planting, she said.
Returned seeds will be resorted and recirculated, just as donated seeds are.
The group also expects to receive seeds from outside sources, like seed companies.
“We’re not just going to have what people donate, but seed companies are donating, and they will donate to non-profits for different uses,” she said, adding the group has previously received seeds for the Patrick County Learning Garden in Patrick Springs to help people learn how to grow their own food.
Bozenmayer said the organization decided to start the seed garden to help fulfil its goal of educating others about growing plants.
“One of the things that we are trying to encourage is people growing their own food, and we see this great resource of seeds available and think ‘let’s share them, why not,’” she said.
The project also will help encourage the community to grow their own plants and start a small garden, without the expense of purchasing seeds or plants from another source.
The Master Gardeners will hold monthly workshops, mostly at the Learning Garden, to teach people how to plant a variety of different species over the different seasons. A seed saving and seed exchange is also planned for November.
For more information, go to Facebook.com/PatrickCountyMasterGardeners.