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Vermont Garden Journal: Seed Swapping

Many libraries turn into seed libraries in the spring, offering a variety of seeds for borrow that you need to return at the end of the season for others to try the next year.

On a cold, snowy night in February, I was invited to the Jericho Town Library to talk about seed saving. But this wasn't your regular home gardener audience. These gardeners have created a seed library. 

The premise of the seed library is quite simple. Like with books, you go in and “take out” some seeds. However, at the end of the season you deposit seed of that variety back into the library for others to try. There are more than 400 libraries around the country now offering seed to borrow with a growing number in Vermont, too. Of course, the borrowers need to have information on how to grow and save seeds, and that's where local experts come in. The idea was spurred from a desire to save old heirloom varieties that might not continue to be available from the commercial seed trade. And it's a great way to help people learn how to grow their own food.

There are a few large seed banks that offer seed for sale as well a swapping amongst their members. Hudson Valley Seed Bank started as a seed library in Gardiner, New York. It's since expanded into a small heirloom seed company.

Probably the grand daddy of all the seed saving organizations is Seed Savers Exchange. What started in the 1970s as a simple way for gardeners around the country to exchange favorite vegetable varieties, has grown into an organization that spearheads the preservation of thousands of vegetable, fruit, herb and flower varieties. They also offer seeds for sale, but the heart of the organization is the annual yearbook. It lists members who have seed varieties to swap. Although the Seed Savers farm is in Decorah, Iowa, it's these members around the globe who really are the back bone of the organization.

And now for this week's tip, as you seed signs of your garlic popping through the mulch, with warmer weather, carefully remove the mulch and let it grow. Give the young shoots a  dose of an organic fertilizer and water it in well.

Next week on the Vermont Garden Journal, I'll be talking about celeriac. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.


Broadcast on Friday, Aoril 3, 2015 at 5:57 p.m. and Sunday, April 5, 2015 at 9:35 a.m.

The Vermont Garden Journal with Charlie Nardozzi is made possible by Gardener's Supply, offering environmental solutions for gardens and landscapes. In Burlington, Williston and

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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