By Melissa Chapman
WCPL Cataloging Supervisor
Gardeners know winter is the best time to start thinking about gardening. It is time to thumb through seed and bulb catalogs and plan your garden.
It is also a great time to get those seeds started, so they will be ready to plant in the spring. National Seed Swap Day is the perfect time to discover new seeds and gardening tips to make that garden better than ever. National Seed Swap Day is celebrated on the last Saturday of January. Jan. 30 is this year’s seed swap day.
Seed swaps are events where gardeners meet to exchange seeds. Swapping can be arranged online or by mail especially when participants are spread out geographically. The seed swap is a fundamental part of human history. Seeds were one of the first commodities valued and traded. Today, modern gardeners collect and exchange seeds for many reasons, ranging from cultivating rare, heirloom varieties to basic thrift. It is an act of giving and the ultimate form of recycling. What is an heirloom plant? A variety that has existed through open pollination and seed-saving techniques for over 50 years. Heirlooms are resilient, genetically stable and resistant to local disease.
Washington Gardener Magazine organized the first Seed Swap Day and held it on Jan. 26, 2006. It was a hit, so they did it again the following year. It took off after that and soon every gardener was celebrating and swapping seeds.
Seed swaps give a lot back to any community. It is an opportunity for gardeners of all levels of ability to get together and share tips on how to grow an efficient and eco-friendly garden. Swaps are a great way to get free or low-cost seed and gardening supplies. It is always a fantastic way to meet new people with common interests as well as share gardening tips and unique ideas with each other.
The Warsaw Community Public Library began a seed library in October 2020. The library has an inventory list to assist patrons as they scan the collection. Patrons do not need a library card to use the seed library. The library also takes donations. If you have questions about the seed library or wish to donate seeds or pick up seeds during curbside hours, call the library at (574) 267-6011, ext. 3 and a staff member will be happy to assist you.