New Castle News

Closer Look

April 22, 2014

Good to grow: Library to offer seed lending program

NEW CASTLE — Patrons of the New Castle Public Library will soon have another service to look forward to.

For newcomers to gardening and seasoned pros, the library is having — for the first time — a seed lending program.

It will officially kick off during the Earth Day celebration April 26 in downtown New Castle.

It’s an idea Susan Morgan, public relations/circulation wanted to have in place last year but it never materialized.

This year, though, library patron Jeanne Sabilla, who moved here from the Tarentum area in August, suggested the program to Morgan who then approached the library board for approval, and it is now getting off the ground and into the ground.

“She is a perfect fit for the seed library,” Morgan said of Sabilla who, as a longtime gardener, is volunteering her services and was eager to get involved in the community. 

It’s a good combination. Morgan can refer library visitors to materials to read about gardening and Sabilla can answer their questions about planting.

The purpose is that after people receive seeds to save some of what they have grown and donate seeds back to the library, Sabilla said.

“With that, it teaches and one thing always branches out to another.”

Sabilla and Morgan contacted seed catalog companies and received donations. The seeds were packaged — more than 100 envelopes including radishes, corn, potatoes, peas, lettuce, endive, onions, green peppers and carrots. Seeds for flower annuals and perennials are also in packets.

There are no hybrids, Morgan pointed out.

Each package has a label with instructions on planting and growing, and the name of the company, which supplied the seeds and contact information for that company if someone has questions, Morgan said. The packets also include how to reach both women and what the plant will look like when it is fully grown.

Displays at the library have been set up for an indoor greenhouse, she explained.

“You don’t have to be a patron to participate.”

Packets of seeds are limited to a maximum of 6 per family, though. Participants will be asked to fill out a registration card and indicate what seeds they received.

“At the end of the growing season, we’ll ask them if they had a successful garden to return seeds to us,” Morgan said. “It may encourage people who otherwise wouldn’t consider gardening to give it a try. This would be great for kids and families to learn the process from the beginnings to transplanting into a garden.”

Sabilla is hopeful, too, that younger generations will become involved.

During the Earth Day celebration, the library will have different children’s programs such as creating robots and other crafts from recycled materials. Members of the Penn State Extension Master Gardens of Lawrence County will be available to answer gardening questions, Morgan said, adding the group assembled a seed lending library resource book for the library with seed saving and gardening tips.

She acknowledged that books on gardening are available at the library.

“I think this will be well received. I’m excited. It’s something new and different.

A great deal of satisfaction can result from growing your own produce.

For Sabilla, who cans and freezes what she grows, the time and effort is well worth it.

“Gardening is therapeutic for me and it’s so nice at the end of the day, to tell myself, ‘I did it right.’” 

(Email: lhudson@ncnewsonline.com.)

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