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The Student News Site of Barrington High School

The RoundUp

The Student News Site of Barrington High School

The RoundUp

A green giveaway

Barrington+Area+Librarys+outdoor+garden.+Photo+courtesy+of+the+Barrington+Area+Library
Barrington Area Library’s outdoor garden. Photo courtesy of the Barrington Area Library

Barrington Area Library’s (BAL’s) seed library kicked off for its 5th year this February. The seed library offers over 50 different types of seeds such as flowers, vegetables and herbs. Anyone can come and get seeds for free, even if they don’t have a library card. The seed library will be open until all the seeds are taken, which happens around April.

Although it’s called a seed library, you don’t really need to return the seeds, though donations for next year’s library are accepted. The way that the library get seeds for the following year is a local effort; seeds are obtained from local vendors (which can be found on their website), choosing from community suggestions.

BAL hosts sessions to distribute seeds from the library to members of the community. For this upcoming season, BAL has prepared over 47,000 seed packets for the community. Photo courtesy of the Barrington Area Library

“I will often look at what I think people will want. There’s some standards I always get, then I’ll look and see what looks really interesting. I wonder, ‘What might you not see at the grocery store?’” librarian Liz Kirchhoff said.

For those who don’t know much about gardening, BAL has programs, classes and resources to help. They have a garden page on their website for anyone to learn from.

“One of the programs that we run is our Teaching Garden. A lot of what we have in the seed library, we’ll grow out there. We have hands-on classes every Tuesday from 9:30-11 a.m. starting soon after Mother’s Day, going through fall. We’ll have different classes like how to lay out a garden, weeding, pruning and an herb growing class,” Kirchhoff said.

Growing seeds can be difficult, but there are some seeds offered this year that Kirchhoff recommends for beginners.

“Herbs are always really easy; stuff like oregano, basil and cilantro. Sometimes the veggies will require a little bit more work, but they are still totally doable. If you want to try flowers, Cosmos and Zinnias are super easy,” Kirchhoff said.

Starting in May, there are volunteer opportunities during classes at the Teaching Garden where students can get volunteer hours and learn gardening skills (signs up available at this link).

“With those workshops every week, before every one of them we do some weeding and basic garden maintenance. It’s helpful for us when people volunteer because it helps us keep things clean and looking good out there,” Kirchhoff said.

Towards July and August, there are more opportunities to help prepare the seed library for next year. A lot of work goes into preparing for the next year. For this year alone, volunteers have helped to package over 47,500 seed packets.

“It’s good for you guys because you’re learning something. You’re able to get your service hours and you also get the chance to get some hands-on gardening experience,” Kirchhoff said.

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Alexander Brudvik, Staff Writer
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