The Oro Valley Public Library is one of several Pima County libraries to have a "Seed Library." I was thrilled to learn about it.
A practice done for over 12,000 years, seed sharing and saving for growing native plants for food and other purposes is a part of our southwest heritage and historical traditions. It ensures the strongest plants by cultivating seeds that are better adapted to our climate and then sharing those seeds within our community. That is why the Pima County Public Library started the Seed Library in January of 2012 and their seed catalog is expanding every year with more enthusiastic participants wanting to get involved.
The Seed Library is used by visiting in person to browse and choose your packets or viewing the alphabetical online catalog where you can search for specific plants and then reserve for pick-up. Currently the seeds are categorized by "Easy" and "Advanced" meaning the ease or difficulty of harvesting and collecting the seeds, not how to grow them. Seed availability depends on donations, growing success, and the seasons so they suggest checking back often to see what's new.
So how do you "borrow" seeds from the library? Simple! Just use your library card as you would normally and scan the barcode on the seed packet. Each packet contains enough seeds to grow at least 5-10 plants and you can check out up to 6 packets a month.
"Borrowing" seeds is a different term in the Seed Library. You do not need to return the same seeds in the future so there are no overdue fines or due dates. In fact the library stresses not to worry about saving seeds now. Just find seeds that interest you and learn how to grow and have fun in the garden. If you would like to become a donor, their website has information on how to collect, store, and donate seeds.
The Seed Library is a great way to get out in the garden at relatively no cost to you. Instead the focus is on "nurturing a culture of sharing and abundance," educating, and "reconnecting our community to the traditions of growing tasty, healthy food." So why not try your luck at a vegetable garden, desert plant landscape, or flower bed. And anyone willing to share photos of your garden, feel free!
Heather Nenadovich has lived in Oro Valley for 6 years. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arizona. She loves gardening, nature, art, and travel. Currently her two young children fill up most of her days (and nights) with chaotic bliss. Oro Valley favorites: memorial bench at the entrance of Romero Canyon Trail in Catalina State Park, Toscana Studio and Gallery, OV Fall Festival, the gumption and determination of OV residents!