Hamden Library Seed Library Spring Update

Free seeds for your garden

microgreens in round tray

We welcome you to drop in on the Hamden Library Seed Library. This free resource is open three days per week through June 8 on Miller Library’s Lower Level. You are welcome to select seeds during the hours we are staffed and open.

   Tuesdays 4-7:30 p.m.
   Thursdays 2-4:30 p.m.
   Saturdays 1-4:30 p.m.
   through Saturday, June 8

We’re about halfway through our seed library season, and already we’ve had about 150 individual visits, . Beyond packing up your seed selections, our volunteer staff can help select what to plant, demonstrate growing techniques, answer many of your questions, and refer you to experts for any stumpers. Stay tuned for the pop-up demos that happen from time to time. We also invite you to donate seeds to the Seed Library. Read below for more info about our pop-ups and on seed-saving.

How the Seed Library Works

  • Select up to 5 types of seeds per family from the packets on display.
  • Take the number of seeds as you need from the packet — plus a little bit more, as not all seeds will sprout. Put them in an envelope. Use a label to identify the seeds and seal the envelope.
  • You can take a picture of the packet if you want, and then hand the packet back to the volunteer, even if it is empty.
  • Write down what you have taken, so we can keep track. This helps us decide what to try to have available in the future.

Pop-ups at the seed library

Our popups are short bites of information meant to expand your range of gardening techniques.

They take place at the seed library table when we are open. Often the popups include materials for you to take with you. Current pop-ups:

April 6: Edible flowers with Judie

Judie will share her interest in growing and using edible flowers. There will be samples and, of course, seeds.

March 28: A “quick-and-dirty” method of starting seeds with Rick

Rick demonstrated a cheap-and-easy way to start seeds, replacing pots with small plastic bags filled with potting mix, and pre-germinating seeds using a paper-towel/plastic bag method. The trick: Use a single layer of paper towel, and place the seed on it. Insert into a plastic bag. Flip the plastic bag upside down so the towel is on top of the seeds. Label the bag. By keeping the seeds below the paper towel, the radicle grows down and does not attach onto the paper towel, making it easy to prick out when it is time to plant into the plastic bag “pots.” Note: Snip the bottom corners of the plastic bag “pots” so they will drain.

Ongoing: Microgreens and Sprouts

Turn a corner of your kitchen into a sprout factory, or use a sunny window sill as microgreen garden. Augment your intake of fresh greens with ones you grow yourself. Instructions and some seeds are still available. Have a cat or two? Ask for some wheat grass to grow greens for your kitty to enjoy.

Other Events to look forward to

A mix of events sponsored by the seed library, the library, and other groups

Rain Barrels & Rain Gardens 4/17 6-7:30 at Brundage

Hamden Earth Day Celebration 4/27 10-3

Garden Design in a Time of Climate Change talk with Christine Darnell 4/30 6:30-7:30

Coffee Hours conversation with master gardeners Diane Dynia and Wes Meeker 5/18 10:30-11:30

Brooksvale Park Spring Garden Tour, seed planting and seedling giveaway 5/19 1-3

Winter Sowing: The Results Are In! Check in with Jim Sirch to discuss our successes and failures. Bring your extras for a Native Seedling and Garden Seedling Swap. 5/22 6-7:45 at Brundage

A Word about Saving Seed
If you wish to start saving seeds from your garden, be sure to select heirloom or open-pollinated seeds, which will grow true to type. If you do not know that they are heirloom or open-pollinated, or if you know for a fact that they are from hybrid varieties, do not bother saving the seeds. While hybrids are often a good choice for their growth characteristics, they are not suitable for seed saving, as their seed will produce a plant like one of the parent plants and not like the plants you grew.
We happily accept seeds you save, but only if they are from heirloom or open-pollinated varieties. We will not accept seeds from hybrid varieties or those whose origin you are unsure of. Seed Savers Exchange (https://seedsavers.org) is full of guidance about collecting and saving seed.

Our Continual Thanks

The Seed Library would like to thank The Friends of Hamden Library for their generous support, as well as Hart Seed, Cheshire Garden Center, Thyme & Season, UConn Master Gardener program, The Hamden Land Trust, The New Haven Green Fund, and local gardeners who — more and more — are sharing their seed bounty with us.

We are also pleased to acknowledge and thank our committed volunteers who have been staffing the Seed Library: Devon, Diane, Joan, Judie, Nancy, Rick; and library staff, who assist us in bringing this resource to Hamden.