Going Green at the Branch

Seed-to-Seed Library

KaizenCoverGreat news! Our Seed-to-Seed Library has gained international exposure with an article appearing in the July/August issue of Kaizen, a magazine that is published in France. Click the magazine cover to see the article.

History

Check out the new home of our Seed to Seed Library: http://fairfieldpubliclibrary.org/seedlibrary/!

Fairfield Woods Branch Library partnered with Fairfield Organic Teaching Farm and began meeting in November of 2010.  Through the winter we applied for grants, looked for volunteers, and contacted other seed library and seed saving organizations.

We modeled our seed-to-seed library after the Richmond Grows Seed Library http://www.richmondgrowsseeds.org/ to come up with ideas and literature on how to best distribute and publicize about our seeds.

We also visited Comestock Ferre, in Wethersfield, http://comstockferre.com/ which is owned by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds http://rareseeds.com/.  We received a great many packets of seeds from them, they are so generous, that we then broke down into smaller seed packets.  Our volunteers were fantastic, taking many, many hours to do this.

We wrote and received a grant from New England Grassroots Environment Fund.  This enabled us to pay speakers, buy a seed cabinet, and buy additional seeds to use.

Beginning in the fall of 2012, with a garlic workshop through the late winter and spring we offered programs on gardening and planting.  We also contacted our Senior Center to talk about putting in a square foot garden there.

After taping a short “how to” about the seed library we were ready for the lending to begin.  Our first year had about 65 gardeners who benefited from our seeds. Our return on seeds has been about 8 or 9 people.  Our second year has seen an increased amount of gardeners using our seed library and our hope is that we will “get back” more seeds that were saved.

Some places we’ve been mentioned:

Article from Kaizen July 2013

http://www.esterlibrary.org/programs/GEB/seedlibraries.html

http://infospace.ischool.syr.edu/2012/05/21/seed-libraries-what-they-are-how-to-start-one/

http://www.richmondgrowsseeds.org/sister-libraries.html

http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/green-your-library/seed-lending-libraries-bloom

http://www.utne.com/The-Sweet-Pursuit/Seed-Lending-Libraries.aspx

Interesting ideas, inspiration, and other curiosities for gardeners

Have you checked out  Michelle Obama’s latest book: American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America. Mrs. Obama is a strong advocate for healthy living and eating.  Check out these articles written about the White House Garden and Mrs. Obama’s work on eliminating childhood obesity.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/michelle-obama-champions-vegetable-gardens-and-healthy-food-in-american-grown/2012/08/02/gJQAYrBvSX_story.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_Vegetable_Garden#Obama.E2.80.99s_vegetable_garden

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/03/27/lets-move-fourth-annual-wh-kitchen-garden-planting

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/51296978/#51296978

We’ve got our own great children’s garden at Fairfield Woods Branch Library.  Every June we offer a “garden” event for our preschoolers.  We do stories and songs about gardens and bugs and then go outside to our square foot garden, donated by a local Boy Scout Troop, and plant away.  It’s a great way for our kids to learn about soil and plants and food.

Have questions about gardening?  Check out our resources:

PDF entitled Organic Fertilizers by Colorado State University http://cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotes/234.pdf

From website “The Organic Gardener” http://www.the-organic-gardener.com/organic-fertilizer.html

PDF called Selecting and Using Organic Fertilizers http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/HG-510.pdf

Basic-Info-4-Organic-Fertilizers http://www.basic-info-4-organic-fertilizers.com/

Here are some links for Local Area Farms for Fairfield County:

Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (brings you to the section on Fairfield County) http://www.ctnofa.org/Farms/Fairfield.php

Fairfield County Farm Bureau Incorporated http://www.fairfieldcountyfarmbureau.org/general/master.php?pn=home

Edible Nutmeg magazine, great articles and recipes http://www.ediblecommunities.com/nutmeg/

Tips for Planting your Garden:

Plan in advance – will you have a garden on your deck, a square foot garden in your yard or some herbs on your windowsill?

  1. Start small – in order to enjoy your garden, you must be able to control it.
  2. Choose productive plants – do some research to find out what grows best in our area.
    1. Share with others – here’s where we come in. “Check out” a few of our vegetables, flowers, or herbs and experiment in your garden.
  3. Buy quality tools – make your life easy by working with a tool that is easy to handle and is durable and lasting.
  4. Read up on gardening – try Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew or ask a librarian to recommend a book.
  5. Have fun! – this is the most important tip. Involve the whole family and reap the benefits of your hard work together!

What’s our planting zone?
Zones 6 or 7
Early Spring: Soil temperature is cool, but past the last hard freeze or heavy frost. May still have light frost.

Late Spring: Soil has begun to warm, and danger of frost is past.

Early Summer: Soil temperature and night temperature have warmed.

Late Summer: Soil and night temperatures have begun to cool, but still before frost.

Fall: Soil temperature has cooled and light frosts occur, but before first hard freeze or heavy frost.

Winter: Soil temperature is very cold or soil is actually frozen. Hard freezes and heavy frosts.

Want to grow some herbs but might not think you have enough space?

Check out this great article from the New York Times – Herbs in pots, simple, easy, delicious! http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/18/garden/18qna.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=good%20herbs%20to%20tend%20in%20pots&st=cse

Library Resources

The library has wonderful choices of books for you to pick from.  Everything from square foot gardening, seed saving, fertilizing and picking and savoring your bounty.  Also take a look at our DVD’s such as,

“The Real Dirt on Farmer John” a movie about a Farmer who worked hard to continue his family’s farming traditions and “Herbs & Spices” a great DVD that describes the importance of herbs and spices in your cooking.  You’ve grown them, now what do you do with them!  Don’t forget the popular British series “Rosemary & Thyme” – Laura Thyme (Pam Ferris) and Rosemary Boxer (Felicity Kendall) are gardening experts who go after criminals. They are a team of sleuths who delve into garden-variety skullduggery, uncovering bodies, dirt, and other nastiness along the way.

Gardening and quiet go hand in hand.  Being outside and listening to the birds sing and leaves rustle. An occasional bug flying by…..nice but if you’re in for a little music grab your iphone/mp3 player or other listening device and download some free gardening music from FREEGAL, a library database. You get to download three songs a week, FREE.  Here is a nice selection to listen to:

“Daydream”, the Lovin Spoonful
“Secret Garden”, the original Broadway Cas Recording
“In the Enchanted Garden”, Kevin Kern
“Spiritual Garden”, Kitaro
“Rusted Moon”, The string quartet tribute to Neil Young

Or just type in the word garden as the title!