By Chris Mazachrism@thereminder.com
WILBRAHAM – Residents with a green thumb now have a new resource offered through the town to help them get growing.
Will Caruana, who recently ran an unsuccessful campaign for selectman and serves as the chair of the town’s Broadband Committee, has teamed up with the Wilbraham Public Library
to create a seed library. The seed library allows residents to “check out” seeds of the plants they wish to grow.
“We have 158 packets of seeds that were donated, including 28 different varieties,” Caruana said. “Concord was one of the first to do one of these in the state and they have about 30 packets, which makes ours substantially larger.”
He said because of the “agricultural element” of Wilbraham, from its history as a farming community to popularity efforts such as the community gardens, which recently hosted a “plow day” to open the season, having such a program seemed to make sense.
“A lot of people in this community love gardening,” he said. “I went to the Garden Club and they were very supportive of the project.”
He also noted the recent growth in interest in locally grown fruits and vegetables and home food production.
“I have a neighbor whose entire front yard is a garden where they grow food,” he said.The Organica Seed Co
., headquartered in Wilbraham, donated all of the seeds needed to launch the program.
“I facilitated the donation of seeds from them,” Caruana said. “I met with the owner, James Weinberg just to discuss the project and that day he handed over all the seeds and we were well on our way.”
Caruana also said Wilbraham Public Library
Director Karen Demers was pivotal in bringing the program to Wilbraham, as was the Board of Library Trustees. Former Library Trustee and local farmer Llewellyn Merrick was also helpful in voicing concerns and offering advice on the kinds of seeds that would be best suited for the community, he added.
The seeds are stored and organized alphabetically in an old card catalog box that was discovered during the planning stages.
“They’re also on the C/W MARS card catalog system,” Caruana said. “People should be able to look up the seeds they’re looking for and we can track what seeds are more popular. We can watch the program grow and get some statistical information out of it about what people are growing and what they’d like to see more of.”
Those who utilize the seed library are responsible for then harvesting the seeds from the plant and returning them to the library for others to use in the future, in order to make the program a self-sustaining one. Literature on drying out seeds is available at the library.