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Seed 'Catalog' Is a New Resource for Amagansett Gardeners

Thu, 04/07/2022 - 11:28
The Amagansett Library now offers flower, vegetable, and herb seeds, in addition to books.
Amagansett Library

The Amagansett Library has launched a free seed "catalog" with vegetable, herb, and flower seeds available for library users to take and grow at home.

The project is in partnership with Amber Waves Farm, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and home gardeners and will provide resources and programs this summer about gardening for food and fun. It launched on March 20, the first day of spring. There is something for everyone, said Arielle Hessler, the library's director, be they novices or seasoned experts.

Many public libraries, including in East Hampton Village and on Shelter Island, have developed free seed programs to educate the public about where food comes from, as well as to protect and preserve local heirloom seeds from extinction.

In Amagansett, where farming is a part of the hamlet's history, it seemed natural for the library to extend its services to include this resource, Ms. Hessler said in a recent statement. "No matter where you live, knowing where our food comes from is worth learning."

This year's seeds came from Hudson Valley Seed Company and Seed Savers Exchange, with an emphasis on organic, open pollinated, and heirloom varieties; some were provided free of charge. The library, Ms. Hessler said, was grateful to volunteers from East Hampton High School, who sorted the seeds into smaller envelopes.

"We've repurposed our vintage card catalog and transformed it into a seed catalog," she said, "where patrons can browse through the drawers to find produce, herb, and flower seeds. We have easy-to-grow garden staples like eggplant, cucumbers, greens, radishes, beans, and sunflowers for new gardeners, and more unique crops like rutabaga, tomatillos, kohlrabi, or chamomile for those looking for something new."

Patrons can harvest seeds to restock the library if they wish, but the program is open to all, "and we encourage everyone to try their hand at gardening from seed," she said.

"We also tried to curate plant varieties that work for people with small spaces," Ms. Hessler added. "We have the Parisian carrot, which is a small carrot that only grows to the size of a large radish, that is supposed to be delicious, that can be grown in containers instead of a full garden bed. We also purchased a bush variety of the green bean, for those without the time, space, or expertise to grow beans with a trellis support. In essence, we tried to create a selection of seeds that has something for everyone."

A web page dedicated to the seed catalog is at amagansettlibrary.org/seed-library.

The library, its partners, and gardening experts will join together to provide educational programs about gardening and plant health for all ages throughout the summer. Amber Waves hosted a drop-in Plan Your Garden get-together at the library in March. On April 21 from 6 to 7 p.m., Scott Chaskey, a farmer and author, will give a lecture, "Seeds Have Spirit," on the magic of seeds. Details are being finalized, Ms. Hessler said; it may be held in person or by Zoom.

Some of the flowers in the catalog feature the "deer resistant" designation on their labels. "Gardening With Deer," hosted by the Cornell extension over Zoom, will take place on April 28, also from 6 to 7 p.m.


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