What is a Seed Library?

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Simply stated, a seed library lends or shares seeds.  Gardeners borrow seeds, grow them and then return some of the harvested seeds back to the library.

Why is a Seed Library important?

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Community seed libraries are an effective way to collect and distribute heirloom, unique and culturally important seeds. Seed libraries help protect genetic diversity, promote food security and aid in the development of locally adapted varieties of plants. Many plants from seed libraries attract beneficial insects and pollinators, while gardeners who use seed libraries can save money and learn new skills. Seed libraries can include vegetables, flowers and native species. They help disseminate seed varieties not typically available from seed companies and promote public access to seeds.

Contact

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For more information, please contact seeds@bradford.library.on.ca

Share your Gardening Experience with us!

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Please share photos of your gardening experience with us!  You can send them to the BWG Library through Facebook at www.facebook.com/bwglibrary or email them to seeds@bradford.library.on.ca.  We are looking forward to sharing this gardening journey with you and will be posting photos and videos of the BWG Library Community Garden, as well as photos and videos submitted by staff and community members, on Facebook and Instagram. 

Planting and Growing Information by Seed Variety

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Basil

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Variety: Sweet basil

Description: Common large leaf basil with mild flavour

Uses: Tomato sauce, pesto, salads

Container gardening: yes

Planting: Can start and grow indoors anytime. Can direct seed after all danger of frost and soil has warmed up. Sow .5 cm deep in warm soil (15 - 20 degrees C) in full sun.  Germinates in 7 – 14 days. Thin to 15-20 cm apart.

Harvest: 60 – 90 days

Other: Pinch tops to encourage bushiness. Pinch flowers to prolong harvest.

 

Beets

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Variety: Early Wonder

Description: An heirloom variety with flat, semi-globed blood red beets. The tops are tall and flavourful and can be used as greens.

Uses: Use tops as greens, similar to spinach or swiss chard. The beets are good fresh, pickled, cooked or in soups.

Container gardening: Yes, use a container at least 30 cm deep.

Planting: Plant seeds 1 cm deep, 2cm apart. Thin to 8 cm between plants. Germinates in 7 – 15 days. Full sun.

Harvest: 55 days.

Other: Planting mid-season for late summer  or fall harvest can result in a sweeter more tender beet.

 

Brussels Sprouts

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Variety: Catskill

Description: Introduced in 1941, Catskill produces large yields of extra-large, deep green flavourful sprouts.

Uses: Fresh eating, freezing.

Container gardening: Yes, need a large pot at least 30 cm wide and deep

Planting: Sow seeds from spring to early summer .5 cm deep, 10 – 15 cm apart. Thin to 45 -60 cm apart. Sunny location. Seeds germinate in 10 – 21 days.

Harvest: 120 days

Other: Still the best garden variety for sustained production, frost improves flavor.

 

Cabbage

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Variety: Red

Description:

Uses: Salad, cooking

Container gardening:

Planting: Plant seed in the garden between 4-6 weeks before the last expected frost and 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost. Sow seeds 1 cm deep and 2.5 cm apart. Thin seedlings to 45 cm apart.

Harvest:  110 days

 

Cosmos

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Variety: Bright lights

Description: Mix of gold and orange shades.

Uses: Cutflower, attracts pollinators.

Container gardening:

Planting: Sow outdoors when the soil is warm, after frost date in full sun. Sow .5 cm deep. Seedlings will emerge in 7- 10 days.

 

Cucumber

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Variety: National Pickling

Description: Heirloom variety that produces and abundance of 15 cm pickling cucumbers.

Uses: Fresh eating, pickling

Container gardening: yes – use a large container at least 30 cm across and 20 cm deep and use a trellis.

Planting: Direct seed in warm soil (22-27 degrees C). Plant 4 seeds 1 cm deep in hills 60 cm apart.

Harvest: 55- 60 days

 

Kale

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Variety: Green ruffles (Westlandse)

Description: Original Dutch variety. Excellent taste with dark green curled leaves.

Uses: Salads, dehydrating, cooked, freezing, stir fries, boerenkool.

Container gardening: Yes

Planting: Sow .5 – 1 cm deep, plant 3-4 seeds every 30-45 cm and thin to one plant per bunch. Sow from Early May to end of June, in partial shade. Germinates in 5-14 days, soil temperature 10-21 degrees C.

Harvest: 60 – 100 days

Other: May overwinter, flavor improves with frost.

 

Lettuce

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Variety:  Black seeded Simpson

Description: Old favourite variety. Leaf lettuce with large light green crumpled leaves.

Uses: Salad

Container gardening: Yes

Planting: Sow .5 cm deep, 2.5 cm apart in rows 30 apart in early spring. Germination 7 – 14 days, soil temperature 5 – 18 degrees C.

Harvest: 40 days

Other: Likes cook weather and lots of moisture. Best for spring and fall crops. Can sow in late summer for fall crop.

 

Pak Choy (Bok choy)

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Variety: Canton White Stem

Description: Fast growing, non-heading variety. Cool season variety for spring and fall.

Uses: Stir fry, soup, salad

Container gardening: Yes

Planting: 6 mm deep in rows 30 cm apart. Thin to 8 cm. Grow in partial shade.

Harvest: Baby size 28 days

 

Peas

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Variety: Lincoln

Description: Old homestead variety. Produces medium sized pods with 7 to 8 peas. Plant height 45 to 73 cm tall.

Uses: Eating fresh, freezing or canning.

Container gardening: Yes, use a large container and keep soil moist.

Planting: Plant 2.5 cm deep, 3 to 5 cm apart in full sun.  Sow from early spring to last frost date, optimal soil temperatures 8 to 15 degrees C. Germinates in 5 to 7 days.

Harvest: 67 to 72 days.

Other: Adding pea fence or stakes for support recommended.

 

 

Pumpkin

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Variety: Small Sugar

Description: Heirloom variety of cooking pumpkin. Average size 18 to 24 cm. Rich orange flesh.

Uses: Cooking, canning, baking, freezing.

Container gardening: Yes, use a large sized pot (10 gallons). Allow enough room for vines to sprawl or build a trellis for the vines with slings for the pumpkins.

Planting: Sow in warm, fertile soil after frost date. Plant 2.5 cm dep in hills of four seeds.  Germinates in 5 to 7 days at soil temperature of 22 to 28 degrees C. Pumpkin vines like to ramble and can grow 20 feet.

Harvest: 100 days.

Other: Keeps well.

 

 

Radish

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Variety: Cherry Belle

Description: Round, smooth, scarlet radish, 2 cm diameter with white flesh. Fast maturing early season radish.

Uses: Raw in salads. Greens can be used in salads, steamed or braised.

Container gardening: Yes, container should be at least 18 cm deep.

Planting: 1 cm deep, 2 to 4 cm apart in rows 15 cm apart. Germinates in 5 to 7 days at soil temperatures 10 to 18 degrees C. Prefers cool soil.

Harvest: 20 to 30 days. Best used immature, will become hot and woody if left too long.

Other: Can be succession planted every two weeks for continual harvest. Plant in full sun.

 

 

Spinach

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Variety: Bloomsdale Dark Green

Description: Great tasting heirloom variety with heavy yields of dark savoyed or crumpled leaves. Easy to grow. Can overwinter if planted in the fall.

Uses: Salads and cooked.

Container gardening: Yes, choose a pot that is 15 to 20 cm deep.

Planting: Spinach does best in cool weather. Sow seeds 1 cm deep, 2.5 cm apart. Thin to 8 to 15 cm apart. Germinates in 5 to 7 days at soil temperature of 15 degrees C.

Harvest: 50 days.

Other: Best grown in early spring or fall.

 

 

Squash (Winter)

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Variety: Butternut

Description: Dark orange flesh in tan cylindrical fruit.

Uses: Cooking, steamed, roasted.

Container gardening: Use a large pot

Planting: Sow 1 -2 cm deep in hills of four seeds, in warm soil after frost date. Germinates in 9 – 14 days.

Harvest: 110 – 120 days

 

Squash (winter)

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Variety: Pink Banana

Description: The medium-dry flesh orange with exceptional flavor.

Uses: Can be harvested and used as summer squash or use sautéed steamed and roasted as butternut squash.

Container gardening: Need lots of space, use a large pot

Planting: Sow 1 -2 cm deep in hills of four seeds, in warm soil after frost date. Germinates in 9 – 14 days.

Harvest: 120 days

 

Swiss Chard

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Variety: Lucullus and Green Perpetual

Description: Prolific variety which produces wonderful, heavily crumpled light green leaves. Old variety noted as best tasting (Lucullus). Smooth leaf European variety, with large dark green leaves. Very tender flavor. Heat and frost tolerant (Green Perpetual). 

Uses:  Leaves and stems can be eaten cooked or raw.

Container gardening: Yes

Planting: Sow 5 cm apart, 1 cm deep, from three weeks before frost date to early summer. Germinates in 7 – 12 days at 12 – 21 degrees C soil temperature. Plant in full sun.

Harvest: 32 days baby, 60 days bunching. Tolerates multiple cuttings.

Other: Easy to grow and other colourful varieties cultivated as an ornamental plant.

 

Tithonia

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Variety: Orange

Description: Mexican sunflower. Easy to grow flower that loves heat and butterflies.

Uses: Attracts pollinators

Container gardening:

Planting: Direct seed after last frost.

 

Zucchini (Summer squash)

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Variety: Black Beauty

Description: Open pollinated variety (from 1920s) producing dark green fruits with white flesh on large bush plants.

Uses: Fresh eating, best variety for freezing.

Container gardening: Yes, use large containers at least 45 cm across and deep.

Planting: Direct seed when soil is warm (22 to 28 degrees C). Plant seeds 2.5 cm deep. Plant four seeds in a hill.  Space hills 1.5 m apart. (Seeds will rot if soil is too cool or wet.) Germinates in 5 to 7 days.

Harvest: Ready in about 55 to 60 days. Best harvested under 20 cm in length.

Other: These big, fast-growing plants need plenty of moisture and lots of food. Grow them in rich, well-drained soil in full sun.