April Update

Hello Friends and Fellow Gardeners,

We hope you and your families are finding ways to cope with the current emergency situation.  Managing the logistics, and especially the stress, is a challenge for all of us.  But we who garden know what good medicine that activity and the food and beauty it yields is for us, and we are itching to get started.  This memo is to let you know that even though the Seed Library will not be distributing heirloom seeds this year, we will soon be offering stronger than ever Gardener Support via the Charlotte Library website.  We will also establish a new program which we hope you will be a key part of, called Seedlings to Share.

Seedlings to Share will promote those who can, to plant a few (or a lot of!) extra seeds in their sunny windows or under grow lights now, in order to share the resulting eager seedlings with the community in 8-10 weeks when they are ready to go into the ground.   Vegetables and herbs will be especially welcome, but flowers are also (especially edible and/or pollinator-friendly ones).  Details on how to participate are coming soon.

Meanwhile, it is still too early (cold and wet) to do much digging or planting out in the garden.  When soil is wet, we risk compacting it and damaging the structure if we work it too soon.  Damp is okay, but not so wet that it forms a firm ball when you squeeze a handful.  There are, however, many things that we CAN do outside now.  You probably have fallen twigs and branches to clear up, some spring bulbs to liberate from heavy leaf litter, and time now to just walk around your home base and re-connect with your resident flora and fauna….. see how old and new friends fared over the winter.

And this is the perfect time to plan your garden, if you haven’t already.  You may want it to be a little or a lot different from last year.  You may be ready to try saving some of your own seeds.  If you are new to seed saving, start with the easy ones: beans, peas, tomatoes, and lettuce.   Seed Savers Exchange website has great seed-saving information under their Resources link, and this will help you design your garden to avoid cross-pollination.  Once you decide what you want in your garden, you know what seeds to start now in your sunniest window or under a grow light.  For inspiration and practical information, read this article on Low-waste, Inexpensive Seed Starting on Resilience.org.

If you are looking for sound general advice on gardening, Oregon State University’s Master Gardener program has excellent courses available free on-demand. ( Online Vegetable Gardening Course ) Gardeners of all experience levels may find a few hours of computer time spent on one of these courses a welcome source of pleasure and increased gardening confidence.  Hey, if you’ve got the time to do this now, why not?

Happy preparation for the gardening season!

Linda Hamilton and Karen Tuininga, Seed Library Coordinators

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