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Seeds please? Yes, says Bonfield Library

Seed lending library is open and ready to grow
gardening stock
The Bonfield Public Library is ready to help your gardens grow this spring / Stock image

Grocery bills crushing your spirit? Craving a vegetable, but all you’ve got is moths in your wallet? It might be time to start sowing some land, and the Bonfield Public Library can help you do just that with their ample seed library.

You don’t have to be hungry for the harvest to take part, either. It’s open for all gardening fans and those with thumbs of various shades of green. In fact, everyone is welcome to take part in Bonfield Library’s bounty.

How does one harvest the library’s generous seed boon? One need not hold a valid Bonfield Library card or live within the region to partake. Nor will the library request a cut of your crop as a tithe. All a future farmer must do is fill out a registration form when you stop by to borrow some seeds, and they also ask that borrowers only take the seeds they will grow this season.

If the idea of borrowing seeds sounds a little like a Zen koan to you, this should clear things up. Of the seeds you borrow from the library, you are asked to bring in some other seeds to replace the seeds you have taken—more of a seed trade. If you’re handy in the garden, you can also harvest the seeds from the plants you grew from the borrowed seeds and return those to the library—the ultimate seed borrowing experience.

Also see: Thin your shelves for a good cause at Bonfield’s library sale

The library asks that you return any left-over seeds from the package back to the library to ensure the circle of life continues. Holly Brodhagem, a library technician, is a gardener herself, and is happy to see the lending program has been so popular. The library began lending seeds in 2018, cooled it down during Covid, and now it’s back in full bloom.

There’s “a lot of interest this year,” she said, and the library is “always adding more” to their collection. So, if your vegetable fan is picky, and only eats Green Arrow Peas, rest assured the library has you covered. Rainbow Chard? Of course. Can’t have a sandwich without a slice of a Box Car Willie tomato? The library knows your trouble and has the cure.

The number of seeds in the library is vast and impressive, from hot peppers to cool cucumbers. Squash is fairly easy to grow in these parts, so they have more squash than you’ve ever heard of and peas aplenty. There are also flowers available, and the seeds keep coming in year after year.

Overall, the goal is to “promote people to save seed,” and over time, these seeds become better acclimatized to the area, better equipped for “growing in our climate and our soil,” Brodhagem said. She also emphasized that the library is not out to “discourage new gardeners” from borrowing seeds. If one’s crop fails, the library won’t come knocking at your door for the seeds back.

“It’s an honour system,” Brodhagem said of the seed borrowing, reassuring folks can “return back what you can” to the seed stash.  “And over the years, that might mean a lot more squash seeds” she joked.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering civic and diversity issues for BayToday. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada
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