Digging Durham: Is this a great library, or what?

As I mulched the vegetables yesterday before the temperatures hit 93 (34C), I thought about the second sowings I need to get started.  And I remembered that while I’d donated some seeds to the Digging Durham Seed Library back in the early spring, I hadn’t been by since the collection launched to see what my fellow citizens brought forth from their seed shoeboxes to share.

seedDigging Durham Seed Library vegetable packets

Free veggie seeds for the taking: Eggplant ‘Listada di Gandia’; squash ‘Blue Hubbard’ and ‘Waltham Butternut’; bush baby lima beans; bush bean ‘Contender’; and two packets of drying beans ‘Lazy Housewife.’

What incredible luck! This covers just about everything I had planned to grow but the sweet potato slips, which can’t fit into the little envelopes, and the Malabar spinach. If I had found Malabar spinach in the seed library, I would have fainted in surprise and been roused only by the echoing choruses of “Shh!!”

I’m still a bit giddy.

“Checking out” the seeds means taking them from the drawer and taking them home. I didn’t even have to flash my library card. As part of the deal, I will grow the crops, save some seeds at the end of the season, and return them to the library for next year’s growing season. What a fantastic way to try out new vegetable varieties.

Digging Durham seed library

The seed library’s baby photo

If your local library doesn’t have a seed library, consider starting one. I can tell I’m going to be a patron of ours for as long as I can.


7 thoughts on “Digging Durham: Is this a great library, or what?

  1. What a wonderful idea. It gives you the chance to try growing things you might not have thought of. I’ ve never thought of growing sweet potatoes I wonder if they need lots of warmth and sun which we don’t get here. And you start them from slips. Do you mean slices of potato?

    • Yes, slips are slices of potato, each of which has an eye. I don’t suppose anyone actually uses “chits” as a noun, but a slip is what you get when you chit a potato. But we don’t slip our potatoes. What a peculiar argot we gardeners have!

      Sweet potatoes need about 4 months of frost-free growing, so it may be difficult for you in the UK unless you live in Cornwall or the Scilly Isles. But then, you have mastered the art of hoop houses! There are short-season sweet potatoes that mature in about 90 days.

  2. Pingback: Dear Friend and Gardener: June 13, 2014 | MissingHenryMitchell

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