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Winter updates from the Bucks County Seed Share

The Bucks County Seed Share is a free community program whose mission is to share open-pollinated seeds and sustainable gardening practices with Bucks County home gardeners. The program is run by volunteers. Local seed stewards and national companies like True Leaf Market, Hudson Valley Seeds, Baker Creek, Prairie Moon Nursery, and Sherwood’s Seeds donate vegetable, herb, native plant, and flower seeds.

Last year, the BCSS gave away 2,600 seed packets at its self-serve location in the Morrisville Library. The seed share also holds composting, seed-starting, and seed-saving workshops annually.

The Seed Share is delighted to announce that it’s growing! In addition to its Morrisville Library location, it will also have self-serve seed drawers at the Southampton Library starting in January 2023.

Free Winter Sowing Kits – This winter, the Seed Share is offering free Winter Sowing Kits, complete with a recycled gallon jug, soil, and instructions. Many of the Pennsylvania native plant seeds in the BCSS collection require a period of cold – known as stratification – in order to germinate so they are perfect for starting in a Winter Sowing Kit.

What Exactly Is Winter Sowing? – Winter Sowing is the method of planting seeds outdoors in containers in winter to give them a head start for sprouting in spring. The method was developed in 1998 by Trudi Davidoff, a resourceful gardener in New York, who had more seeds than space to grow them inside and began sowing seeds outdoors in winter in covered containers. Seeds are living organisms and can sense when conditions are right for them to germinate.

Trudi’s containers – which were essentially mini-greenhouses – allowed the soil inside to warm earlier than the surrounding ground. Containers also kept animals from disturbing the seeds.

Winter Sowing is a low-tech, high yield way to get a jump on seed starting. Stop by the Morrisville or Southampton Libraries and pick up a free kit, one per family, please.

And don’t forget to browse the seed catalogs while you’re there. The seed share offers vegetables, herbs, and annual flowers in addition to PA native plants.

Bucks County residents are invited to take four packs of seeds per visit. For more about Winter Sowing and other gardening topics, join the Bucks County Seed Share and Bucks County Seed Share Garden Discussion groups on Facebook and on Instagram at buckscounty_seedshare.

PHOTO CAP: Get a jump on spring with Winter Sowing

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