Oh sure, the first day of spring doesn’t technically arrive until March 20th, but the vernal equinox already hit at the East Hampton Library. Last Monday marked the first day of their popular East Hampton Seed Library program, which runs from March 6th through the fall, for newbie and seasoned gardeners alike.
Three years ago, adult reference librarian Allison Fabrizio, along with her colleague Rebecca Voisich, created the seed station, parked just next to the reference desk, to add some extra delicious dimension to the library’s already robust programming.
“We’re novice gardeners! That’s why we’re so happy to have access to so many great resources, like Cornell Cooperative of Suffolk County, who we work with a lot,” says Fabrizio. “We did a program called “Seed Starting,” and they sent a master gardener to show our patrons how to start seeds.”
They also will be offering multiple other green-thumb themed talks to help gardeners make the most of their seed selections, like gardening on a budget, berries to grow for birds and container gardening.
“It’s getting bigger every year, and we’ve had to order more seeds, which is great because we have more data to decide what to order,” says Fabrizio, who says that gardeners proudly bring in pictures of their home-farm bounty to show them.
This year, seeds—which Fabrizio and Voisich procure from Territorial Seeds—are available in a bumper-crop of options: Napoli carrots, purple and white striped Listada de Gandia eggplant, Cherry Bell radishes, Brandywine tomatoes and Wautoma cucumbers among the organic varieties available for the taking, along with seeds for herbs and flowers, too.
In the fall, they wrap up the program with a fun seed swap, where participants are encouraged to save seeds from the plants they grew from the library. The dream, one day, is to have so many patrons return with seeds they’ve saved, the Seed Library will become almost entirely self-sustaining.
For now, burgeoning gardeners can walk right in and nab whatever seeds strike their fancy. “We’re often asked how many seeds selections they’re allowed to take,” says Fabrizio. “And while there’s really no limit, we just ask that you take only what you think you’re actually going to grow.”
Kind of the same idea as books: Don’t check out any more than you can read, so you make sure you save something for the next person. That’s the kind of spirit Fabrizio and Voisich sow.