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Bud’s Seed Library

02/22/2014 14:57, Published by Grant Johnson, Categories: In Print, Culture, Community, Living, Today

Photo courtesy Bud Werner Memorial Library

By Jennie Lay

Choose between 12 common and quirky varieties of beans (one of which is called rattlesnake). Grow to discern the difference between rustic arugula and plain old arugula. Plant dragon carrots, rainbow chard and enough varieties of cucumber to pickle your imagination. Spice things up with herbs and flowers too.

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Photo courtesy Bud Werner Memorial Library

Bud Werner Memorial Library has planted a seed library. This spring, it takes root in the library stacks. Drawers of seed packets are sprouting out of the deep rows of gardening books. For Dewey decimal aficionados, that’s upstairs in 635.

The seed library works just like the larger lending library. Scope through drawers of seed packets the same way you ramble the aisles of DVDs or ponder rows of novels. Select which seeds you want to grow, and then check the packets out on your library card. Take them home, plant them in your garden, and let the growing story unfold.

Bud Werner’s seed library has launched with 200 different varieties of vegetables and flower seeds. Reference Librarian Jackie Kuusinen has collaborated with heirloom seed companies from around the country to stock this collection. All of the seeds have been re-packaged for use in home-sized gardens. Packets include a photograph of the plant and important planting, growing and harvest information. Although most of the collection’s seeds are targeted to Steamboat Springs’ Zone 4 with its short growing season, you may have your best chance for success with some form of greenhousing for temperature-picky plants like tomatoes, peppers and melons.

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Photo courtesy Bud Werner Memorial Library

A critical piece of the equation is that all of these seeds are non-GMO. This is essential to complete the circle that creates the “lending” element of the seed library. When you check out seeds, Bud Werner Memorial Library’s hope is that gardeners will not only grow them, but save them and return them to the seed library for someone else to plant next year. It is illegal to harvest, save and replant patented genetically modified seeds.

In a perfect scenario, gardeners who check out seeds will also save seeds as they harvest. Of course, not all crops will have time in our short season to go to seed – and many new gardeners may find this step daunting. Even for experienced gardeners, this may be a new skill to add to the cycle. To help answer these questions, the library is partnering with CSU Extension’s master gardeners for a free two-night Gardening 101 session this spring (including the principals of seed saving) and will be offering more how-to-save-seed programs as the harvest time approaches.

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Since this niche library is organized within the main library, there’s an added opportunity to build the community’s collective gardening expertise for each seed. When you search the broad library collection via computer, a search for “bean” will now turn up “Jack and the Beanstalk” as well as 12 varieties of bean seeds.  Not only can you search which seeds are still in stock, but gardeners can comment on their successes or failures in growing each seed as the season progresses by submitting reviews directly into the library’s online catalog. In the end, Bud Werner Memorial Library will build an ongoing seed lending library as well as an easily accessible, localized record of how each seed fares in Steamboat.                                        

                                                                                     Photo courtesy Bud Werner Memorial Library


The seeds are free. Plant them in your yard. Put them in a pot on your deck. And don’t forget to pay it forward by saving a few and returning them to the library come harvest time.


Find Steamboat’s spring & summer gardening classes & events on our Events Calendar at

garden seed library bud werner library lending seeds gardening in this issue spring 2014

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