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Piqua Public Library reopens seed library for home gardeners to borrow

IMG_PiquaLibrary.jpg
Alejandro Figueroa
/
WYSO
The Piqua Public Library building.

This month, the Piqua Public Library reopened its seed library. Residents from anywhere in the state can come in and borrow seeds for their garden at home.

At the Piqua seed library, gardeners can pick from over 300 types of herbs, native Ohio flowers and produce — from heirloom tomatoes to Goldenrod flowers.

Similar to returning a book, once the plant matures, gardeners are encouraged to bring the seeds it produces back to the library.

'The whole point behind seed libraries is access to seeds and ability to have seeds that are better adapted to your garden, your area.'
Courtney Denning

The seed library isn't a new concept, but Courtney Denning, the libraries marketing coordinator, said the idea was revived due to an interest in gardening early on in the pandemic when the library had to close for a few months.

“I was trying to think of things that we could do related to plants and gardening,” Denning said. “In my garden, I had all these little northern sea oats growing in certain parts of my garden that I didn't want, but I didn’t want to just compost them either.”

Denning decided to repot the native grass and give them to local residents along with seeds. She called the program the Native Plant of the Week — which then evolved into the seed library.

Denning said part of the program's purpose is to provide food access and education as well as to encourage kids and adults to spend time outside.

“If you haven't seen pictures or in person examples of how food is growing…how would you know?,” Denning said. “So I think that the seed library is a way to help people kind of reconnect with that.”

She added that the seed library can also help gardens to better thrive in the local environment.

“The whole point behind seed libraries is access to seeds and ability to have seeds that are better adapted to your garden, your area.” Denning said.

That’s because the seeds produced from plants in the area can be better adjust to local soil and climate conditions.

The library started the month with about 2,000 seed packets and it has already had over 400 requests for seed packets.

Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Support for WYSO's reporting on food and food insecurity in the Miami Valley comes from the CareSource Foundation.

Alejandro Figueroa covers food insecurity and the business of food for WYSO through Report for America — a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Alejandro particularly covers the lack of access to healthy and affordable food in Southwest Ohio communities, and what local government and nonprofits are doing to address it. He also covers rural and urban farming