Como Community Seed Library is celebrating its 4th growing season sharing seeds, stories and resources with the Como Park neighborhood and surrounding communities with its annual May event. This year’s gathering is all about growing your garden dreams from seeds to community.
Seed and Plant Material Exchange Bring your extra seed, healthy seedlings and plant materials to trade for something new to your garden.
Garden Hand Tool Exchange This year you can also exchange your unwanted garden hand tools that are clean and in good working order. Do you have one too many spades and need a pair of grass shears?
Folded Garden Dreams into Seeds with the Folding Bee, Karine Rupp-Stanko.
Take Your Garden Vertical with Stephanie CK Hankerson
Composting Demonstration with Teri Alberico
Expert Advice with Ramsey County Master Gardener Volunteers Frank Dolejsi, Ann Aurelius, and Tina Hammer
Pollinator Tour with Julia Brokaw, U of M PhD student and native bee expert
Seed Your Dreams Needs You!
This event would not be possible without many volunteer hours from the Como Community, District 10, RCMG volunteers and the CCSL library membership. Please consider becoming a Volunteer . Do so and share your love of gardening and receive a token of our gratitude. Double the fun and volunteer with a neighbor.
You know it’s officially time to start tomatoes when the folks over at Cornercopia, the U of M student organic farm are posting their method of preparing their tomato seed for starting. They like to use a hot water treatment to avoid any seed born diseases. Check out the other methods of preparing saved and or swapped seed for safe seed starting in the link. It will be one more way to ensure a successful growing season with less disease.
The first snows have fallen. The ground has frozen solid.
Just in time, we recently completed a quick final cleanup of the garden, chopping up thick kale stalks and covering tender garlic cloves with leaves, nestled in for the winter to hibernate, holding energy and promise for next spring.
Our neighborhood jewel, the Lexington-Hamline Cooperative Garden, is now five years in the making and we couldn’t be happier with its progress. The garden hovers around the 10-family mark;. Gardeners are expected to work a day a week at a minimum and the harvests are shared with whomever shows up to plant. In summer weeks, there is most always an excess of crops.
The cooperative garden has provided so much: community of neighbors coming together in and out of the garden, cooperation, kids’ growth and appreciation for where nourishment comes from, exploration, dirty hands on a peaceful warm spring morning, patience, a boy hiding behind a trellis of bursting snap peas as he munches them…
One recent memory I truly love is of chatting with fellow gardener Stephanie about a delightful tomato that we both enjoyed, but had never experienced before. We are diligent about mapping and labeling unusual varieties as we put them in the ground and as hoped, the map provided the answer: Brad’s Atomic Grape Tomato, planted May 19.
But the name of this beautiful zebra, a lovely robust green and red grape variety, wasn’t enough to fully satisfy our curiosity. Where did the seeds come from? Did we grow it from infancy or was it donated to us by Karen, gardener extraordinaire and owner of the property our Coop garden is on? Or perhaps we purchased it at the Farmers Market?
Going to the map and mulling it over a bit more jogged our memory: it had to be from the Como Community Seed Library’s Spring seed and plant exchange! Indeed it was and we are so thankful for the great work the Seed Library has done and the events it puts together, like the plant exchange last May.
And this fond memory, of the Seed Library, leaves us dreaming of longer evenings, warmer mornings, dew on young leaves, the glow of the sun on our arms, and the bursting flavor of ripe strawberries and tender snap peas!
Mike McDonald, Como Park District 10 Environmental Committee member and Capitol Region Watershed District board member, became a Como Community Seed Library Seed Champion volunteer grower this last season. Both Mike and his wife Ruth have been deeply involved in sustainable living and championing environmental and social justice in the Como Park neighborhood for decades. Their gardens are a beautiful combination of native plantings, water conservation, and edibles. Here is Mikes account of growing out Arikara beans to reinvigorate them, make them locally adapted, and to return them to CCSL for checkout. If you are interested in participating as a Seed Champion Volunteer Grower for next season email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and varieties available. Como Community Seed Library is deeply grateful to Mike and Ruth for sharing their time, gardening knowledge and garden space this season and moving the library’s mission to be self-sustaining one more seed into the future. Thank you!!!!
We grew some Arikara Yellow Beans for the seed library this year. They are a yellow-tan dry bean. They are supposed to mature in 80 to 90 days.
We planted all of the seeds in the packet we were given and they have done great. They germinated well and pretty quickly. They have been very healthy. They overgrew the carrots we planted next to them and we have to stake them up to stop overshadowing the carrots.
We did not water them anymore than the rest of the garden and they were ok with that. About 3 weeks ago, we looked at them closely and noticed the bean pods had turned white and were dry. I talked with Dawn about this and she said that this is normal for dry beans and unless we see signs of fungus on the plants we should just let them continue to dry on the plant. That is what we have been doing. They still look good but the pods are not really dry yet, so we will let them continue to dry on the plant in the garden.
I am curious about the taste of the beans and will keep some for us to try after we have provided a good batch back to the seed library.
They have been easy to grow, with little issues or problems. If they taste good, I will consider growing them again next season.
If you walk the paths around the lake in Como Park, you may notice the well tended flower gardens placed here and there. One of these gardens bears a dedication sign perched on a morning glory adorned post identifying the garden steward as Debby Smith. Debby with a help of a few volunteers has been maintaining this garden, as well as two others, and the gardens at Chelsea Heights Elementary for many years. The mix of native flowers, perennial favorites and annuals given to her by the city and donated from her personal garden display an ever-changing mix of color and texture. Her weekly tending means there’s not a weed of any size to be found and all the plants are lush even in the hottest and driest of weather all for the quiet beautification of her neighborhood park and school. So next time you’re walking the paths by the pavilion and you notice someone in a sun hat busy editing one these oases of blooms say “hi” and thank her.
It’s been a long winter and the snow is receding, the sun is getting stronger and the soil is getting warmer. We’ve been busy adding seeds to the library, running germination tests to check viability and vigor of saved seed and others in the collection and starting seedlings for the May Mosaic. We also have a few events planned that we’re really excited about. And along with the events are a host of opportunities to get involved either as a participant or volunteer.
A Seedy Situation: Join Frogtown Farm, Urban Farm and Garden Alliance, Frogtown Neighborhood Association and Como Community Seed Library for all things seed on April 7th. For details follow the above link.
Seeds of Hope Community Garden Kickoff: Sunday, April 22nd. Earth Day!! 2:30-4:30 pm. 965 Larpenteur Ave. W. (Victoria and Larpenteur),Roseville MN 55113. Come check out the community garden, check out seeds and resources from CCSL and hear why seed saving and locally adapted seed are important to a resilient food system. Seed saving is a fun way to share with your neighbors.
May Mosaic: CCSL’s annual garden kickoff complete with the latest in garden education, a plant and seed exchange, and more! Follow the link above for the dirt. Share your gardening enthusiasm and signup to volunteer at the May Mosaic. Volunteers receive a special thank you for their effort!
More to come…
CCSL needs you to grow….literally!
We’re looking for gardeners, urban farmers, and urban/suburban homesteaders who would like to help us grow out certain seed varieties in the library that haven’t seen soil in a few years and are at risk. They need to be planted to grow and seed again. Help us further the CCSL mission of sowing, growing and sharing as well as increasing the locally adapted seed stock and self-sustaining nature of the library by being a volunteer grower. Details and signup are here.