Tiger’s Eye beans. Swenson Swedish snowpeas. Dragon carrots. Wapsipinicon Peach tomatoes. Grandma Einck’s dill. Grandpa Ott’s morning glorys. French Breakfast radishes. These are all names of heirloom seeds and all of them – and many more! – are now available from the Davenport Library’s Seed Library!
There will be a brief ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, April 19 at 11:45am to kick off this new library program.
The Seed Library has 107 varieties of vegetables, 42 different flowers and 29 herbs. Currently, all of our seeds are from Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa and all of them are heirloom varieties (some seeds were purchased and some are from a grant from Seed Savers). Many of these varieties have interesting stories about how they were handed down through different generations and how they were prized for their delicious flavors and ease of growing.
Sometime after World War II, the US population moved away from a largely agriculture background and to a more urban one. Farming and gardening habits faded away just as Madison Avenue advertising executives decided Americans only wanted to buy perfect, unblemished vegetables and only flowers suitable for bouquets. To meet these imagined desires, plants were bred to produce vegetables and flowers that were uniform in color and size and able to withstand long-distance shipping without damage. This meant that flavor (and in the case of flowers, fragrance) was sacrificed for uniformity and many heirloom seeds were in danger of disappearing altogether. Seed Savers is dedicated to preserving unique varieties before they are lost. By growing some of these heirloom seeds in your own backyard you too are helping to keep them alive.
To participate in this program, stop by the Davenport Library Main library at 321 Main Street and browse our notebook which has entries for every seed that we carry, plus basic growing tips. Choose up to five varieties of seeds per family per month (we have checklists that you can use to mark your choices) Library staff will pull your seeds for you. Be sure to log your choices in the Seed Log – there will be a drawing for a garden gift basket on May 1 from the names listed in the log! Now the fun begins – growing your seeds! If you post about your seeds on social media, be sure to tag us @davenportlibrary and use #dplseeds.