Seeds Give-Away

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“Plant the Seeds, Frame the Art!”

When Ken Greene founded the Hudson Valley Seed Library a dozen years ago at the Gardiner (NY) Library, it was the first seed library hosted by any public library in the United States. The concept was that patrons could borrow seeds in the spring, grow them into plants, and then harvest the seeds and re-deposit them in the library collection for others to use and enjoy.

Since then, Greene’s seed library has grown into an independent business, a seed company that focuses on heirloom and open-pollinated vegetables and flowers. It no longer shares seeds for free, nor does it depend on patrons as sources of its products.   But it remains just as dedicated to a do-it-yourself, locally sourced style of gardening. Its criteria for including a cultivar it its catalog is not only the quality and, commonly, the history of the plant but also that it must be suited to seed-saving.   Many of its seeds HVSL raises itself (organically) on its 3-acre farm; the rest it buys from other organic growers.   Currently it offers a list of some 400 different cultivars.

What I enjoy most about HVSL, though, is another aspect of its effort to preserve our garden heritage. Old time catalogs were full of original art – for some rural customers, I suspect that the arrival of the seed catalogs in late winter was their main exposure to the fine arts from one year to the next.   In this spirit, HVSL commissions original art to adorn its seed packets.   Produced in media as varied as paint, ceramic, needlework and even stained glass, these images are varied in style, but all are contemporary and fresh. Each takes as its theme the type of seed contained in the packet, and lends a special context to the crop. The Seed Library calls these its “art packs”; I like to think they contain seeds of aesthetic as well as horticultural growth.

GIVE AWAY:  Share a tip from your experience with seed saving and you may be the person to win a free set of Art Packs from Hudson Valley Seed Library.

The give-away will include:  2016 Art of the Heirloom Calendar
7 gallon “fabric” planter, with handles for easy transport
2 gallon fabric planter
9 seed packs: an assortment of some of our very favorite varieties!

A retail value of over $55.

Posted by

Thomas Christopher
on February 1, 2016 at 7:58 am, in the category But is it Art?, Grab Bag, Shut Up and Dig, Uncategorized.

Article Categories:
Crrritic · Shut Up And Dig


  • modern art meets heirloom seeds. yeeha !

    Saxon 1st January 1970 4:00 am
  • Ooh!!
    My only real seed-saving advice is: give it a shot. There are whole books on seed saving, but you don’t need a book to tell you common sense. Try what seems to make sense and experiment. This is supposed to be fun!

    Erin 15th November 2009 8:13 pm
  • Don’t over water; make sure there’s plenty of sunshine; if you thin, do it by cutting, not uprooting, as the roots get entangled. I love what these guys are doing!

    anne 11th January 2013 9:01 am
  • My goal is to spread the love of CA poppies. I have a swath of them growing where my lawn used to be a decade ago. Early summer, when the plants have flowered and the seeds ripened I collect the seed heads, then stash the seeds til now. Rains finally are beginning and my first volunteers from last year are germinating…. using that as my cue I then start tossing the seeds along hillsides etc. Golden hills here we come!

    admin 25th August 2015 5:57 am
  • I’ve saved seeds from my flowers – especially my wildflowers – and scatter them in our wild area in hopes to get even more! A couple of asclepias types and columbine I’ve saved and started as well. I find that a lot of things “save” themselves voluntarily in my garden.

    KarenJ 5th April 2016 7:55 pm

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