The Richard H. Thornton branch of the Granville County Library System continues to offer innovative services by introducing a “Seed Library” and community garden to residents and library patrons. Now available to the public is a card catalog filled with vegetable seeds, as well as herbs and berries that can be “checked out,” taken home and planted in family gardens.
According to Adult Services Librarian Ashley Wilson, families can come in, browse through the “card catalog” that has been stocked with a wide variety of seeds, and select what they would like to grow. Collards, cucumbers, corn, melons, squash, tomatoes, peas, peppers, okra and other vegetable seeds have already been prepared and are available in starter packs, which include growing instructions. With a limit of three packs of seeds per family, it is hoped that those who begin their own gardens will share seeds after harvest to keep the project ongoing from season to season.
“The community played a large role in the plant and seed selections at the library,” Wilson notes. “We asked what they would like to see growing – most said tomatoes – so we made sure we offered tomatoes. The library values community input in all our projects and this one wouldn’t have been possible without it.”
Packets offered were also selected based on local soil conditions and other criteria that would make them “region friendly,” with many of the seeds available being donated by interested community members in support of this project.
To continue the message of sustainability through gardening, the Thornton Library also announces the addition of an on-site community garden. Planted just outside the front entrance and in the surrounding area, plantings include strawberries, peas, okra and other seedlings, as well as lavender, mint and cooking herbs.
“Visible and open access gardens are a way that my family has always enjoyed the growing season, especially when we didn’t have a place to grow ourselves,” Wilson explains. “Open gardens also gave us a chance to learn about new plants or varieties we may not have seen before.”
Through mulch donated from a local business and in garden beds constructed by library staff and volunteers, seedlings are just now peeking through the soil. Taller plantings and bush varieties such as tomatoes and blueberries can also be spotted along the library’s exterior walls and around the corner to the side entrance. As these plantings grow and mature, community residents are encouraged to come by and keep track of the garden’s progress, and to share in the harvest once the produce has reached its peak.
To provide hands-on instruction in using fresh ingredients in the kitchen, cooking demonstrations and samplings have been scheduled at the Thornton Library during the month of May, with all ingredients provided. The “What’s Cooking at the Library” series kicked off on May 8 with a class on making homemade pasta. Demonstrations continue on May 15 with Sultan’s Pilaf, and on May 22 with Versatile Salads and Dressings. These programs are being held at 2 p.m. in the library’s large conference room.
The Richard H. Thornton Library is located at 210 Main Street in Oxford and is one of four branches of the Granville County Library System, which also includes the South Branch in Creedmoor, the Stovall Library and the Berea branch. For more information about programs and presentations offered through the Granville County Library System, visit www. https://granville.lib.nc.us/ or call 919-693-1121.