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Soil district starts free ‘Seed Library’

Photo Provided SAMANTHA HEARN, agricultural technician with Belmont County Soil and Water Conservation District, holds some of the seeds available in the new “Seed Library.”

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Soil and Water Conservation District is embarking on a new program aimed at helping the home gardener.

Dubbed a “Seed Library,” the program allows people to borrow seeds for various kinds of plants for their gardens. At the end of the season, some of the seeds produced by the plants are then harvested, dried and given back to the library, said Samantha Hearn, agricultural technician with Belmont SWCD.

“It works just like any other library in the way that you borrow and return items. In this case you are borrowing and returning seeds instead of books,” Hearn said.

Hearn said there is no charge for the seeds, either. The program begins March 1.

“For example: someone borrows a packet of pepper seeds. Once the pepper is mature they will gather some of the seeds, dry them out and return them to our office,” she said.

“We wanted to offer this service to the public to not only create an avenue for gardening lovers to meet and share resources to others but to also get people interested in gardening. We want to educate people about knowing where your food comes from and how important locally grown food is.”

Hearn said the Seed Library will help teach people how to save seeds and save them money, too.

“People also won’t have to buy a whole packet of seeds if they have a small garden and only want a few seeds. They can borrow what they need and leave the rest for someone else to enjoy,” she said.

“Our library will be stocked with a wide array of seeds. From zinnias and cosmos to zucchini and carrots. We will have a wide selection of vegetable, herb and flower seeds. So when people stop in to browse the library they can pick a pack of seeds that maybe they haven’t tried before.”

Hearn said since this will be the first year for the program most of the seeds will be donated from local businesses.

“But once the library takes off we hope to be stocked with seeds from all of our borrowers. We will accept any additions to our library at any time and look forward to gaining a wide array of seeds,” she said.

The district office, located at 130 W. Main St., St. Clairsville, is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

“We are always available to offer support to anyone no matter what size their garden is,” she added.

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