The Chatham-Kent Public Library’s (CKPL) annual seed program is growing as it launched for its fifth straight year this past weekend.
“I do encourage, if you want the best selection, to go sooner this year because I do think it will be very popular this year,’ said Cassey Beauvais, manager of CKPL public services.
Residents at any of CKPL’s 11 municipal branches can now have curbside pick up five packages of seeds per library card to plant in their home gardens. Options range from carrots, varieties of lettuce and tomatoes, green beans, yellow beans, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, flowers and fresh herbs.
There is also an additional sunflower seed and pumpkin seed that will be given out to residents as part of a friendly “Who has the Greener Thumb?” contest with Windsor-Essex.
Beauvais said the program and its success is an example of how libraries are always evolving beyond books to meet other community needs.
“There are libraries across North America and even in Europe where you can get bicycles, cake pans, and (neck) ties for an interview. Depending on the needs of the community, the library is there. So one thing we felt that would be popular – and it has really grown to be popular – was a seed library,” she said.
During its pilot project, five years ago, the library gave out 400 seeds. This year there are more than 5,000 packets to distribute.
“It’s just a good idea to have new things to bring people into the library, and seeds seemed like a solid fit for Chatham-Kent,” Beauvais said.
“People in Chatham-Kent have an interest in this because we are a growing community, we are agriculturally based, and as a gardener it’s just a great hobby to have.”
In 2019, the seed program saw more than 4,200 packages distributed throughout the municipality.
“It’s been great. I hope to do just as well this year,” Beauvais said.
Last year the library closed before the seed project could launch due to the COVID-19 lockdown and as a result CKPL donated its inventory to the local food banks.
Normally, CKPL relies on donations from the community, but this year they bought the seeds themselves to avoid quarantining items for 72 hours.
Gardening books will be on location for loan, CKPL will also be doing advertising on social media sharing resources, and will be filming a “how to start your own seeds at home” program.
“We do have some excellent gardeners here in Chatham-Kent get for sure,” Beauvais said.