Piqua Seed Library reopens


PIQUA — The Piqua Public Library has opened the Piqua Seed Library for the 2022 growing season. A seed library is a collection of seeds that the public may borrow to plant and grow food, herbs, and flowers at home. After plants mature and “go to seed,” borrowers can save the seeds and return them to the library to be shared with others.

Today’s gardeners are returning to the seed-saving tradition when harvesting and protecting the previous year’s seeds were essential to providing the next crop. Seed saving creates a seed stock well-suited to the Miami Valley climate — the plants are more pest-resistant, and growers save money on their seeds and plants. Seed saving helps create a culture of sharing and community, too.

The Piqua Seed Library opened in August 2020 and distributed 806 seed packets before closing for inventory in the fall of 2021. When the Seed Library closed in 2021, 314 different plants were in the collection. In 2022, the Piqua Seed Library will include 373 plants. The seeds are organized into envelopes for quick distribution. A total of 2,456 envelopes are ready for patrons and community members. At writing, 96 borrowers have placed seed requests since the Seed Library opened mid-day on Tuesday. Seed requests are already being handed out, with 421 seed packets distributed thus far. Borrowers can request 10 packets per person per month. This was reduced from the previous amount of 20 packets per person due to the demand as of Friday, March 4.

Gardening programs have been popular at the Piqua Library for decades. Recently, the staff at the library have had to shift how programs are offered, including gardening programs. Native Plant of the Week started as an alternative to the Native Gardening Series in the fall of 2020. The garden lecture series was canceled in 2020 due to covid-19. Native Plant of the Week was a no-contact program that highlighted a different native plant every week for 25 weeks. Each week, patrons could take home either a small plant or seed packet along with an informational handout on the plant. There were 1,648 seed packets and seedlings shared with the community.

The Piqua Seed Library grew out of the Native Plant of the Week program. Seeds were donated from companies like Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, Prairie Moon Nursery, Ohio Prairie Nursery, Ferry-Morse, American Seed, Burpee, and many others. Some of these seeds are heirloom and open-pollinated. Some are organic, while others are hybrid or grown conventionally. The Piqua Seed Library accepts donations of hybrid seeds from seed companies and shares them with borrowers, but seeds grown from hybrid plants should not be saved for giving back to the library.

The Piqua Seed Library has vegetables, herbs, garden flowers, and native plants available for borrowing. Borrowers are encouraged to save seeds and donate back to the Seed Library, but it is not a requirement to borrow. The Piqua Seed Library is open to all Ohio residents. If borrowers cannot physically visit the Piqua Library, they may send a self-addressed and stamped envelope with their seed request.

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