How Nelson Seed Library works
The basic idea is that any person can come along to the seed library and borrow some seeds for the growing season. At the end of the season, they collect the seeds from the plants that have grown, keep some seed for themselves and return the rest to the library for others to borrow. This idea has worked very well overseas and there are a few seed libraries operating in New Zealand.
Head to the Elma Turner Library during opening hours, through the main door and veer left, look for the signs for the Nelson Seed Library on your right, outside the Research Room. On top of the set of drawers that houses the seed library you will find Registration Packs. These contain three things, a Membership Form, which needs to be filled out and placed in the slot behind the registration packs, a pamphlet about the seed library and a Seed Record Card. The seed record card is your personal record of seeds borrowed and returned, please try to fill it out every time you use the library, it help us to identify usage patterns and provide a better service for the community.
Next step is to find your seeds, this can be done in one of two ways. Firstly you can look at the catalogue in the blue folder, these also contain additional seed saving information and planting times for the Nelson region. The second way is to browse the drawers, the seeds are split into edible and non edible plants, and then organised by common name. For example a brandywine tomato will be in the edibles section under T, for tomato.
When you have decided on your seeds take the jar and look in the top left drawer for a seed packet. Transfer the details from the jar to the seed packet, also make a note on your seed record card. Then measure out the seeds into the seed packet, for very fine seeds you will find some plastic bags in the top left drawer. Please only take what you are going to grow this season, we suggest 2-3 seeds for each plant you want to grow. for example I might take six zucchini seeds as that should give me 2-3 plants, which is more than enough to keep my family fed for months, on the other hand something like carrots I would take a small scoop of maybe 100 seeds as that should give 30-50 carrots which is about the right amount for the space in my garden. For the carrots I would put them in a plastic bag and then put that inside my labelled white paper bag. Once you have your seeds return the jar back to the correct spot in the drawers. You can then look for some more seeds to borrow or file your record card in the box on top of the drawers. Please leave the seed library tidy.
Borrowing seeds from the Nelson Seed Library is an undertaking to do your best to save seeds from those plants and return that seed to the library after you harvest it. If you are unable or unlikely to return seeds we do ask that you consider making a financial contribution toward the running of the seed library. The library receives no official funding and relies on donations, we are completely volunteer run. Without our members returning seeds to the library we will not be sustainable and this precious resource will be lost.