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Library sowing more seeds this season

In one corner of the High Prairie Library in Falcon, Colorado, is an extra card catalog, which offers seeds — not the seeds of knowledge — but real seeds for growing vegetable and ornamental plants. The High Prairie Seed Library is one of only two seed libraries in the Pikes Peak region.The program is entering its second growing season, with almost triple the number of gardeners this year.The seed library is the fruit of the labors of staff member Rhonda Curtis and her team of community volunteers. Gardeners can check out seeds from the library and plant them in their home gardens or landscape areas. The gardeners save seeds from the best-growing plants and return twice as many seeds as they checked out to the library.Seed libraries do more than provide gardeners with free seeds. Over time, the seeds produce sub-varieties as they adapt to Coloradoís micro-climates and the altitude, Curtis said. ìThey will be the seeds that will handle the droughts, wind and the other things that are unique to us.îBeing able to try seeds without a cost is a benefit. ìI think it brings people together and more interest to gardening,î said Linda Beaty, a Falcon gardener who used flower seeds from the library last year. ìA lot of people wonít try to garden if they have to buy all the stuff. This way they can give it a go and see if it works.îEven before the plant varieties develop genetic resistance to Falcon soils and climates, success in the seed library means the plant will likely grow well for the next gardener. ìIf the last gardener turned it back in, that means it grows here,î Beaty said. ìWhere a lot of the ones you get from the stores, they may carry it, but that doesn’t mean it grows well here.îThe display and seed catalog near the front entrance of the library has piqued interest and attracted many more gardeners, as the 2016 season starts. ìThe first season we had 25 people … we have well over 50 to 75 this year,î Curtis said.New participants can check out seeds by filling out an agreement form and handing it to any of the librarians on duty. The person writes down what varieties and quantity of seeds he or she wants to check out.ìThe library is set up by ‘very easy, easy and advanced’ by difficulty of seed saving, not by how well something grows,î Curtis said.The library hosts gardening classes on the fourth Saturday of each month to teach gardeners how to grow and save seeds from their plants. Unlike the rest of the library system, there are no due dates or fines in the seed library. ìYou’re not penalized if it doesn’t grow and you can’t bring anything back,î Curtis said.The original seeds in the library came from donations from seed companies, including Lake Valley Seed of Boulder. The library accepts seed donations to expand the varieties and the number of gardeners they serve. ìIf you use a half package and want to donate the other half, we’ll take those donations,î Curtis said.Market gardeners and small farms are out of luck, though. ìThey can’t sell the seed, plants or the produce because of the original donation agreement,î Curtis said.More information about the seed library, including hours of operation and upcoming classes, is online at

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