by Tianna G. Hansen
There’s a unique joy and satisfaction that comes from home-grown vegetables and native plants – ask any home gardener.
The past couple years, my husband and I have maintained a small garden using grow bags, and we delight in the fresh food and the hobby of getting outside, digging our hands in the dirt – and the beautiful bounty in return.
Thanks to two community members who have found this same joy in homegrown foods and native plants, Bucks County residents can delight in this as well when you take part in the new Bucks County Seed Share.
Officially launched this February with an open house at Morrisville Free Library, the Bucks County Seed Share is a community project dreamt up by local gardeners Heather Guidice and Jean Kuhn. Their mission is to help home gardeners share seeds and regenerative gardening practices.
The launch attracted over 100 people, offering a heartwarming beginning to a venture that’s started with a lot of heart! Though it was a rainy evening, many locals turned out to view the catalog and select seeds they would take home and begin to sprout indoors.
The Morrisville Free Library graciously agreed to host the Seed Share, offering a climate-controlled environment that’s easily accessible to the public.
When you visit, you can choose from a variety of open-pollinated vegetable, herb, flower and native plant seeds. A library (or ‘Seed’ catalog) within a library, the seeds are all labeled and organized alphabetically so you can easily find what you are looking for.
There are also books and magazines containing gardening tips and info, for those who want to spend a little time learning more.
“The importance of open-pollinated seeds vs. hybrid are you know what you will get when you grow them,” says Heather. “They are true to the type of seed you are getting, whereas seeds from a hybrid won’t guarantee what will grow.”
The beauty of saving and sharing seeds is that you can share the joy of gardening with others and continue to have your favorite plants return each year.
“Seed sharing is something we’ve done for a long time [within our small gardening community],” Jean says.
The library makes a perfect home for their seeds, because as Jean describes, “seeds and their viability require a temperature and humidity-controlled environment, just like a library has for books.”
And the beauty of regenerative gardening, Heather says is, “one seed can result in thousands of seeds in each plant.”
As Jean shared, she has been growing the same tomatoes for years, both sharing seeds and regenerating her plants each year with seeds she saves from harvest.
“Many gardeners realize the value of saving seeds,” says Heather. “Maybe you purchase them one time around, then you can save them from the plant that grows – and bring these seeds back to our Seed Share.”
A well-deserved shoutout to Diane Hughes of Morrisville Free Library for being so welcoming and gracious in creating a home in the library.
All the seeds hosted by the Seed Share are open-pollinated (not hybrid), so you know what you will get when you plant them.
The seeds are donated by community members, and to get the Bucks County Seed Share started, the two passionate gardeners received donations from a local company in Fallsington, Sherwood Seeds, among other well-known seed providers including Burpee.
One tip for newer gardeners: it might seem obnoxious if you find caterpillars eating your parsley or dill plants – but that’s a great sign!
“Remember you’re not only planting and gardening for yourself but for nature, too – these are common host plants for swallowtail butterflies.”
Heather and Jean’s best recommendation? Plant extra so you won’t be devastated if the caterpillars go to town.
They are hosting their first ‘Seed Starting Workshop’ at the Morrisville Library, 300 N. Pennsylvania Ave., on Saturday, April 9th at 10:00am (pre-registration required; 10 spots available).
There will be materials to make your own biodegradable pots, seed starting mix, and plenty of herb, flower and vegetable seeds to choose from. Call to reserve your space at 215-295-4850.
Stay tuned for more upcoming workshops from Bucks County Seed Share that will detail good gardening practices, regenerative tips and beyond!
If you have some seeds to share, please bring them in. And don’t forget to share your progress with seeds you take from the Seed Share as well.
“Although we are housed in the library, we have an online presence so we can be a community,” says Jean. “As people start to grow [their seeds], they can share their experiences with pictures.”
Heather and Jean would both love to see how your garden grows! Now is the time to begin sprouting your seedlings to prepare for springtime planting outdoors.
“It’s just Jean and I who have worked on this the past couple months,” says Heather. “If you want to get involved, it’s a great idea for people to come help out. As we grow, extra hands will be instrumental in expanding and looking forward to eventually offering this in Central and Upper Bucks.” So far, the pair has packed over 3,000 seed packets that they would love to see local gardeners put them to use.
How to use the Seed Share:
1 – Please take up to four (4) packs per visit to the seed share.
2 – Share photos of what you’re growing and tag them.
3 – Save seeds from your garden to help replenish seed stock for next year! Not sure how? Contact Bucks County Seed Share via email firstname.lastname@example.org – they will provide guidance on the proper method to save seeds.
Give the Seed Share a follow @buckscounty_seedshare on Instagram and @buckscountyseedshare on Facebook.
Morrisville Free Library and Bucks County Seed Share is open Monday through Thursday, 10:30am to 8:00pm and Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm. Happy growing!
PHOTO CAP: Bucks County Seed Share co-founders, Jean Kuhn (left) and Heather Guidice invite you to get growing. Come check out the more than 200 open pollinated seed varieties the seed share offers at its Morrisville Free Library location. Photo by Alexander Kuhn.