By Bill Petzold
CARO — The Caro Area District Library is hoping to help protect the heirlooms of the garden world by starting a Seed Lending Library, and the community is invited to pitch in.
When you think of the word heirloom, you probably think of a watch or a ring or a piece of furniture passed down to you from your grandparents. An heirloom plant is the same thing: A variety of plant that has been planted each year from seeds that are saved and passed down within a family or community.
Librarian Melissa Armstrong hopes that the Caro Library’s new Seed Lending Library will give the Caro community a chance to help preserve its horticultural heritage.
The library will host a workshop at 6:30 p.m. Monday with Master Gardener Tom Blasius of Caro to show people how its new Seed Lending Library works.
“People like our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents always saved seeds,” Armstrong said. “It’s something that fell by the wayside. I believe saving seeds is a vital life skill that guarantees good food for generations to come, and we might save seeds that may become extinct.
“We lose more and more varieties of fruits and veggies every year. With all the genetically modified seeds and hybrid seeds, many varieties have already been lost. The Seed Lending Library will help the environment and the community. It teaches people to grow their own food, reduce their food cost over time, and return flavor back into their food while developing self-reliance. Imagine eating a variety of tomato from 100 years ago.”
The Seed Lending Library allows people to grow their own food for free by borrowing a packet or two of seeds depending on turnout and availability, planting the seeds in their own gardens and then harvesting the vegetables, saving the seeds and returning them to the Caro Library to be loaned out next season.
Armstrong said that for those who would like to participate but don’t have a garden of their own, a representative from Caro’s community gardens also will speak at Monday’s workshop.
For those new to gardening, Armstrong said this is a great opportunity to start out small and simple.
“We are going to start our program with simple seed-saving,” Armstrong said. “We’ll save seeds from plants like tomatoes, beans, peas and lettuce – unless someone has experience with seed saving.
“This is just the beginning. This hopefully will be a program that grows and gets more and more involved every year.”