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Seeds Give-Away

Seeds Give-Away

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“Plant the Seeds, Frame the Art!”

When Ken Greene founded the Hudson Valley Seed Library a dozen years ago at the Gardiner (NY) Library, it was the first seed library hosted by any public library in the United States. The concept was that patrons could borrow seeds in the spring, grow them into plants, and then harvest the seeds and re-deposit them in the library collection for others to use and enjoy.

Since then, Greene’s seed library has grown into an independent business, a seed company that focuses on heirloom and open-pollinated vegetables and flowers. It no longer shares seeds for free, nor does it depend on patrons as sources of its products.   But it remains just as dedicated to a do-it-yourself, locally sourced style of gardening. Its criteria for including a cultivar it its catalog is not only the quality and, commonly, the history of the plant but also that it must be suited to seed-saving.   Many of its seeds HVSL raises itself (organically) on its 3-acre farm; the rest it buys from other organic growers.   Currently it offers a list of some 400 different cultivars.

What I enjoy most about HVSL, though, is another aspect of its effort to preserve our garden heritage. Old time catalogs were full of original art – for some rural customers, I suspect that the arrival of the seed catalogs in late winter was their main exposure to the fine arts from one year to the next.   In this spirit, HVSL commissions original art to adorn its seed packets.   Produced in media as varied as paint, ceramic, needlework and even stained glass, these images are varied in style, but all are contemporary and fresh. Each takes as its theme the type of seed contained in the packet, and lends a special context to the crop. The Seed Library calls these its “art packs”; I like to think they contain seeds of aesthetic as well as horticultural growth.

GIVE AWAY:  Share a tip from your experience with seed saving and you may be the person to win a free set of Art Packs from Hudson Valley Seed Library.

The give-away will include:  2016 Art of the Heirloom Calendar
7 gallon “fabric” planter, with handles for easy transport
2 gallon fabric planter
9 seed packs: an assortment of some of our very favorite varieties!

A retail value of over $55.

Posted by

Thomas Christopher
on February 1, 2016 at 7:58 am, in the category But is it Art?, Grab Bag, Shut Up and Dig, Uncategorized.

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10 Comments

  1. Ooh!!
    My only real seed-saving advice is: give it a shot. There are whole books on seed saving, but you don’t need a book to tell you common sense. Try what seems to make sense and experiment. This is supposed to be fun!

  2. My goal is to spread the love of CA poppies. I have a swath of them growing where my lawn used to be a decade ago. Early summer, when the plants have flowered and the seeds ripened I collect the seed heads, then stash the seeds til now. Rains finally are beginning and my first volunteers from last year are germinating…. using that as my cue I then start tossing the seeds along hillsides etc. Golden hills here we come!

  3. I’ve saved seeds from my flowers – especially my wildflowers – and scatter them in our wild area in hopes to get even more! A couple of asclepias types and columbine I’ve saved and started as well. I find that a lot of things “save” themselves voluntarily in my garden.

  4. Oh, I would love to win this. Gardening is both science and art and I appreciate any endeavor that celebrates this duality as the Hudson Valley Seed Library appears to be doing quite well. Here is my tip: the most fun (and perhaps most difficult) seed harvesting is from plants that have exploding seed pods. Impatiens and Thunbergia alata are two that come to mind.

  5. Seed saving is fun and it feels rebellious. One of the best ways to learn about it is to find a seed exchange near you. Our local community garden, the East Snyder Community Garden in Selinsgrove, PA, hosts a seed exchange every year in February. Gardeners bring their own saved seed to share and we also give away seeds donated from various seed companies. Many people who’ve never saved seed come to the exchange empty handed and leave with enough seed to start their garden – for free! People also share information on how to save seed by myth and handouts. This encourages people to start saving their own seed. Want to find a nearby seed exchange? Check with your community garden, library, school, and sometimes they are listed on the website for Seed Savers Exchange.

  6. I love saving seeds – I look forward to it every fall. Love going out and checking to see if the Cleome are dry enough to run my hands down the seed pods and come up with a handful of seeds! I typically collect seed just from my wildflowers – cosmos, tithonia, celosia, zinnias, etc .. The plants that I will sow again the next year. Seeds from my perennials I leave for the birds to take care of!
    Fun!

  7. I’m just a beginner. I’ve collected seeds from my Baptisia and Calycanthus Floridus plants and shared with friends. I’ve yet to plant my seeds but will try starting them inside this winter. I’ve had luck with my Butterfly weed. I had so many seed pods from Calycanthus I spray pained them gold and used in winter greens arrangements and wreaths.

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