As spring approaches, so does the time for planting seeds.
The Seed Library at the Cherry Hill Public Library reopened for its sixth year on Feb. 22, and from now until September, patrons can request up to 10 unique herb or vegetable seeds or five unique flower seeds.
The library offers 600 types of seeds donated from 12 companies; they include popular herbs like basil, produce and more than 70 types of tomatoes and flowers. The seeds come in a small packet that includes planting instructions and can be obtained in person or online.
Jeff Quattrone, founder of the Library Seed Bank, helped the Cherry Hill branch launch its own program. The bank began in 2014 to help people experience and learn more about seeds and growing their own food. It provides both a large variety and small quantities of seeds that can help with inexpensive gardening and less waste than if people purchase individual packets on their own.
“People are moving more towards securing their own food in a lot of ways,” Quattrone explained. “When you can go into the library and get a couple packages of seeds for free, it’s more user-friendly to explore the opportunity to start growing.”
For those interested in planting seeds or starting their own garden, the township recreation department offers the Plant-a-Patch program from April through October so residents can rent, maintain and harvest individual garden plots at $30 a season.
The plots are 25 by 25 feet and the program includes water hookups and compost. Gardens must have a 3-foot walkway to the right of each plot and be kept clear of weeds. Insecticide is prohibited in the garden area.
Plant-a-Patch is now accepting new gardeners for its wait list, which will expand after returning gardeners have finalized the details for their plots.
“Seeds and gardening are a process like anything else,” Quattrone said. “You’re going to have some successes and some failures with it, and my hope is that people realize this, and if they do have some success with it, it encourages them to keep going on.
“Starting things from seeds is not for everybody,” he added, “but I think with a project or a program like this, it gives people the opportunity to satisfy their curiosity.”
For more information, visit the township library website at chplnj.org.