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Welland Public Library

A public library is a treasure trove of helpful information, and the Welland Public Library is no exception. It’s also now a place you can learn how to create a garden and grow your own food – including “borrowing” the seeds to get you started.

A $500 mini-grant from the Niagara Community Foundation allowed the Welland library to invest in creating its seed library – a place where residents can borrow seeds to plant in their own yards or community gardens. The idea is that gardeners save seeds from the plants they grow and return them at the end of the growing season to be loaned again next year. Gardeners learn a new skill, participate in healthy, outdoor activities, and produce healthy, home-grown food.

The 2020 shutdown forced by the pandemic meant the library was unable to offer its intended programs to teach the basics of planting, tending and seed-saving. It also meant that fewer would-be gardeners were reached, and only curbside pick-up of seed – late in the growing season – was feasible.

But Conor Echlin, Welland Public Library’s manager of customer experience, said some gardeners did return to replenish seed and the seed library is still well-stocked, with the 2021 growing season offering another chance. The library has partnered with the Welland Horticultural Society, and the educational component will go online, giving the library the opportunity to share green-thumb knowledge virtually. Cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, kale, spinach, and more are just waiting to burst forth goodness in Welland’s gardens.