Seed Library a resource for Verde Valley gardeners
Local gardeners are experiencing growing seasons that have become more and more unpredictable each year. Where can we find seeds that thrive in our hotter, dryer, and uncertain conditions?
We just had a “monsoon season” where gardeners in our region either had little to no rain, or experienced a flooding deluge after a long succession of rainless days. I have been gardening here since 1982, and don’t remember such a summer without the regular and welcome afternoon showers.
Janice Montgomery, founder of the Verde Thumbs Garden Club, and I attended the International Seed Library Conference in Tucson in 2015, and when we returned we started the Verde Valley Seed Library. Janice told me recently that gardeners are reporting the worst tomato summer ever. What is summer without a bounty of vine-ripened tomatoes?
Last month I visited the Seed Library, which is open the first Saturday of each month in the Cottonwood City Library. The gardeners, who return their saved heirloom and open pollinated seeds to the library, label their packets with the seed name, location of where it was grown, and the year.
I was heartened with how the Library has become a regional “seed map,” created by home gardeners in the Verde Valley. Packets read: Sedona, VOC, Rimrock, Camp Verde, Cornville, Page Springs, Cottonwood! Approximately 75% of the seeds offered now come from the most successful local gardens and plants in our region. This is an encouraging measure of the growth of the library since it opened in September 2015.
Gardens for Humanity board member and Seed Library Coordinator, Raven Venturelli, says, “Personally, I feel the purpose and importance of the seed library is not to pass out free seeds, but instead to further the resiliency of food security in the Verde Valley.
The goal is to build a strong community of both people and seeds to create a localized food-shed and seed-shed. Further, it’s vital that seeds be returned to the hands of the gardeners, and should never be under the exclusive control of multi-national corporations. Any community that lacks a diverse seed-shed is ultimately food insecure and foundationally unsustainable. That is why the seed library is so important to me!”
The Seed Library works just like a regular library: check out the seeds, grow them, save some seeds to return for others to share, so these plants may become adapted to our area. Seed Library seeds are free, so bring your saved seeds to the Seed Library to share with others! If you do not know how to save seeds (from easy to difficult) we will be happy to teach you at one of our workshops.
The Verde Valley Seed Library is a program of Gardens for Humanity with the support of the Cottonwood City Library, which has welcomed the Seed Library within their facility. After November, the Seed Library will be in recess until it reopens the first Saturday of February for Spring planting. For more information visit: www.gardensforhumanity.org.