Milton Public Library-Seed Library

The Milton Public Library is providing a seed program for any patrons who want to participate in gardening.

If you’re located in or around Milton, Delaware, and you’d like to get into gardening this summer, you’re in luck.

The Milton Public Library is hosting a Seed Library Program. Read on to learn more about what that is and how your local library can help you get started on your gardening journey.

What is a Seed Library?

A seed library is essentially what the name implies, a library program designed to make gardening accessible to the general public. With a seed library, patrons can visit their local library establishment and explore the selection of gardening seeds on display. When they discover seeds they’d like to add to their home gardens, patrons are permitted to “check out” seeds from that variety.

Of course, because the intent is to bury the seeds in one’s garden in the hopes they’ll grow into produce, there’s no expectation of returning them in a couple of weeks like you’d expect to do with other library resources (books, movies, magazines, etc.). They’re the patron’s seeds to keep. 

How Does It Work at Milton Public Library?

At the Milton Public Library, the Seed Library Program is relatively simple and straightforward. Patrons visit the library location, then browse through the available seeds in the Seed Library binder. Each patron is permitted to select up to five different seed varieties. 

Once they decide on the seeds they want to plant, the patron uses the measuring spoon provided and may scoop a spoonful of seeds out of the jar that corresponds to the binder entry. From there, they can place each seed type into a separate envelope, seal it, then write the seed details on each one to avoid confusing one seed type for another. 

After this step, the patron needs to complete a Checkout Form, documenting the five seed types they’re going to bring home with them. Library checkout forms like these have been in circulation for decades, though they’re not often used in many public libraries on account of how most checkout processes are now conducted digitally. 

The physical checkout form refers to a paper form that patrons use to record a specific library item that they want to use. These forms essentially confirm that a patron is going to borrow the item and understands the expectations in place when it comes to returning the item. In the case of the Seed Library, patrons have no expectation of returning the seeds to the library. The form is likely required for data collection and organization purposes.

After filling out the form, it’s then time to submit it to a staff member at the Circulation Desk. 

When the seeds have been checked out, the patron can return home and plant them in the garden space they have available. Watering and otherwise maintaining them has the potential to yield fruits, vegetables, or flowers the individual can grow at home. 

Seed Library Rules and Considerations

According to the announcement for the Milton Public Library’s Seed Library Program, there are a couple of rules and considerations that patrons need to be aware of. 

  • Seeds being distributed may not meet germination standards prescribed by the state seed law.

    This is nothing to worry about for home gardeners, as it only means that the seeds offered through the Milton Public Library’s Seed Library Program may or may not be of a high enough quality to germinate. This means that, even in ideal conditions, there is no guarantee that the seeds will grow into fruit, vegetable, or flowering plants. It’s a common disclaimer included when gardening seeds are being traded as doing so removes the responsibility of an assumed guarantee from the trader.

    Simply put, Milton Public Library is not responsible for seeds that fail to thrive under typical or ideal conditions.

  • Patented seeds or varieties protected by the Plant Variety Protection Act will not be accepted or distributed without the permission of the certificate holder.

    This point is a little more complicated, though it also should not be a big concern for typical home gardeners. Some plant specialists make efforts to preserve rare or endangered plant species, which can include creating a hybrid with closely related plant types. In some cases, cultivators of these plant types patent the new species they’ve created. In other cases, these plant seed varieties are rare enough to qualify for state and federal protections. This could be due to the plant being endangered or at risk of extinction.

    When a plant is listed in the Plant Variety Protection Act, the cultivator of that species has full legal intellectual property rights to that species, so long as the plants reproduce either by seed or tuber-propagation.

    This point means that, in order to allow the participation of patented plants in the Seed Library Program, the patent holder must give express permission for these seed varieties to be included. A new plant species is the cultivator’s intellectual property, and because of this, it’s considered theft to take and use these seeds without their consent.

    Additionally, plants that are listed on the Plant Variety Protection Act will not be included in the program either (again, unless express permission is granted), as these plant types are usually delicate, endangered, or unique to the cultivator’s grow setup. As such, the seeds are in limited or fragile supply, so they need to be reserved for professional cultivation. 

Libraries provide their communities with a variety of invaluable resources, and now, gardening assistance is one of them. If you’re interested in growing your own produce at home, take a trip to Milton Public Library and participate in the Seed Library Program while it lasts. Should you have any questions along the way, your local library staff would be happy to find an answer or a solution for you.



Get a Delaware Library Card Today!

When you sign up online you gain access right away to all eMedia! Download eBooks, read eMagazines, use online resources for FREE! Then, contact your public library to transfer your online account to a full account.

Sign Up Here