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Thursday, 27 February 2014 16:41

Seed library taking root among local gardeners

Written by  Dennis Hines
This handful of beet seeds is ready for spring planting. A new county seed library program is getting started that would provide seeds for gardeners, who would give back to the program by sharing some of their seeds after the harvest. This handful of beet seeds is ready for spring planting. A new county seed library program is getting started that would provide seeds for gardeners, who would give back to the program by sharing some of their seeds after the harvest. Dan Plutchak

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Even though the winter air remains cold and snow is still on the ground, it’s not too early to think about spring planting.

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That’s exactly what the East Troy Lions Public Library is doing. The library is a partner location for the Walworth County Seed Library program.

“People can come to the library to check out some seeds,” said Alison Senkevitch, director of the East Troy Lions Public Library. “Hopefully, we will get a good collection and hopefully people will donate more seeds in the fall to help people prepare for next year’s crop.”

The library plans to obtain seeds for flowers, herbs and vegetables.

“We want to get seeds that are interesting or that can grow into heirlooms,” Senkevitch said. “We want something that will help the novice gardener.”

The library also plans to host special events and guest speakers related to agriculture and gardening. The first event is tentatively scheduled for early April and will feature Christine Wen, horticulture educator for the Walworth County University of Wisconsin Extension, as the guest speaker.

“We are planning to arrange events to help people get interested in gardening,” Senkevitch said. “We will use the (April ) event as a launching pad to help people become familiar with the program.”

The seed library program will benefit beginning gardeners and will encourage people to grow different types of produce in their gardens, Wen said.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to help people learn about seeds and seed heritage,” Wen said. “There’s a lot of people who are interested in gardening. I think it opens the door for people who want to give it a try. It also allows people who are already into it to try new gardening techniques that they haven’t done before.”

Interest in the program is likely to pick up when the weather finally starts to warm up.

“Hopefully as more people learn about the program, they will become interested,” Senkevitch said. “I’m hoping when we have the seeds, more people will be willing to respond. It’s hard to think about gardening when there’s snow on the ground.”

The walworthcountyseedlibrary.org website has been established to inform residents about the types of seeds that are available, upcoming workshops and  the seed library program in general.

“Hopefully, the website will be the glue that holds the program together,” Senkevitch said.

Master gardener Evelyn Walnik developed the idea to establish a seed library program in Walworth County.

“Evelyn’s vision is to start a seed collection and create an interest in agriculture,” Senkevitch said.

She’s hopeful the program will soon take root with area residents.

“I think there will be a lot of interest. We’re a rural library, and there are a lot of fields down the way, so there’s a lot of substantial gardeners,” Senkevitch said. “I just don’t think a lot of people are thinking about it now, but we have to get it up and running before April. It should be exciting.”

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