Seed library will sprout in Brookings

Lynette McPherson is spearheading the Chetco Seed Library that will be open to gardeners for the first time on Feb. 22 at the Chetco Community Public Library.

Lynette McPherson is becoming known as the seed lady. She is the driving force behind the first seed library in Brookings.

The Chetco Seed Library kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, inside of the Chetco Community Public Library, 405 Alder St., Brookings. People can come by and check seeds out of the library until 11:30 a.m.

After Feb. 22, people can get seeds from the cabinet anytime the Chetco Community Public Library is open. It is self-service and there will be information to guide them on the process.

“The goal is to help residents of Del Norte and Curry counties sow, save and share heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, open-pollinated seeds acclimatized to our region,” McPherson, who is the garden manager for the Brookings-Harbor School District.

People can come and take some seed packets, or as many seeds as they think they will use. The seeds are free, but McPherson is hoping to see a return on the investment.

“On the back of every packet is a little thing about you agreeing to sow the seeds and return them,” McPherson said. “If we don’t get any seeds back this will be a grand experiment and I will have this awesome cabinet at my house.”

Processes for checkout, recording garden conditions, saving, and sharing future seeds are available at the seed cabinet.

“Each packet has a list of what they are, where they come from and where to grow them,” said McPherson who grabbed a runner bean packet and began reading some of the information on its package. “Runner bean, really pretty pink blossoms, can be eaten fresh, canned or frozen.”

The seed library is stocked full and McPherson plans to keep it that way. She has been attending festivals and gathering seeds.

“I’ve collected all of these seeds. I went to a national heirloom festival in Santa Rosa this last fall. It’s like a mecca for seed for seed people,” she said. “I talked to a lot of seed library people and seed exchange people. That is where I kind of got the idea to do this here.”

Julia Bott, an avid gardener, is helping McPherson with the seed library. They have organized informational gardening classes that will be held monthly at the library.

Toward the end of the growing season, they will instruct people on collecting and returning the seed from their garden to the seed library.

“It’s nice to let things go to seed in your garden, for a variety of reasons,” Bott said. “As people return their seeds grown here they will be climatized a bit more for our area.

“The other nice thing is that you get to hear about other peoples’ challenges and also their successes,” Bott added.

People will reap the rewards of their effort when they get to eat what they have grown, learning a valuable skill in the process.

Much of what is sold in stores are picked green, sprayed an acceptable color and dipped in wax before it lands in a grocery store, McPherson said, adding that it does not taste anything like a home-grown vegetable.

“My job at the school there are three things I like to do with the kids specifically is get them a pea off of the vine, that is fresh, or let them pull a carrot, wash it and eat it, or let them taste a tomato because this is what real food tastes like,” she said.

McPherson has a greenhouse and it allows her family to have a “50-foot meal.”

“You walk 50 feet to the garden, you pick it and you eat it for dinner,” she said.

McPherson and Bott will also be encouraging people to take part in the Plant A Row for the Brookings Harbor Food Bank. Gardeners will be asked to plant an extra row and donate the extra row’s harvest to the food bank.

With the opening less than a week away more than 150 people have indicated they were interested in the seed library after seeing a post about it on Facebook.

“Lynette planted a seed and it took,” said Bott.

For more information, visit the Chetco Seed Library Facebook page or the Chetco Community Public Library website, or contact McPherson at bhhsgarden@gmail.com or 971-319-0290 or Bott at jbott@batnet.com or 650-520-5673.

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