Monday, December 11, 2017

Next Seed Packaging Event

The Winter Farmer's Market was well attended!
Bev and I enjoyed talking to all of you who stopped by the Seed Library table. It was nice to see so many people interested in gardening and taking advantage of the late season produce available. We added 39 people to the email list!
One question that came up repetitively was How do I start native plant seeds?
I gave a class this fall, but there is still a need for this information, so at the next seed packaging event, I'll demonstrate 3 of the methods to start native plant seeds.

Seed Packaging Event
Monday, Jan 29, 2018
4:30-8:00 pm
Open event - come when you can
Fun for all! Treats provided!
White Bear Lake Library
2150 S 2nd St
White Bear Lake, MN 55110

I hope you can make it to this event. I'll demonstrate winter seed starting methods multiple times during the event as needed.
Please note, inclement weather may cause this to be canceled. Contact the library if uncertain. I will send out an email if canceled.

Remember, please consider donating some seeds you saved or a commercial package of seeds (open-pollinated only). The seed library depends on seed donations to continue to offer seeds to everyone!

Have a wonderful Holiday Season

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Seed Library will be at Winter Market at Tamarack Nature Center

Come to the Winter Market!
Saturday, December 9th from 10-2
Inside at Tamarack Nature Center

Many local vendors and producers will be at the Market and there is free cider too.

You'll also find a display about the White Bear Lake Seed Library and a selection of seeds.

Find info about the Winter Market at  Winter Farmer's Market

I will be there and I'd love to meet you, so stop by and let me know how your garden grew this summer!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Seed Library Update

Maybe you are missing digging in the dirt or maybe you are happy to hang up your shovel for a long winter nap. In any case, you'll want to start thinking about next years gardens soon and the Seed Library can help you with that!

I have added over 700 packets of seeds to the library, mostly native plants, herbs, annuals, and perennials. Many thanks to the volunteers who have come out to help package seed packets during November. We will be packaging more seed packets after the first of the year. I'll send info about dates and time later.

Some of the seeds I added need to be started quite early, such as native plants, impatiens, onions, and other annuals and perennials, so you might want to be doing some seed shopping at the library soon. There are still lots of vegetable seeds in the library as well, but we'll be adding many more after January.

Some really cool facts about the White Bear Lake Seed Library;

1. There are 105 members of the seed library of which 75 people are on the coolest email list of all.
2. Almost 1,500 seed packets were 'checked out' from the seed library from Jan-Nov 2017! This is 3 times the amount from last year.
3. Over 200 hours of volunteer time was generously given to package seeds in 2017. Also many, many hours were volunteered to solicit companies for seed packets, create the seed catalog, research info on specific plant varieties, maintain blog site, count seed packets every month, and keeping the drawers stocked. Truly a community resource!
4. Over 23 people have donated seeds, plus many anonymous donors as well as 9 commercial companies. 

Keep spreading the word about the seed library!
Think happy thoughts about next year's gardens,

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Gentle Plea for Chaos book review

A Gentle Plea for Chaos
by Mirabel Osler, republished in 2011

I received this book review from one of the Seed Library volunteers-

"It was written in the 1990's, so not new and not ancient! It is just a nice read, particularly in the late winter when you might be wishing you could be gardening! It is not a how-to, but would give some readers good ideas.The writer has a large plot of land and her focus is on flowers and trees."

Synopsis from Amazon:
" In this book the author describes the way her garden evolved and how, without meaning to do so, she let it take over her life. She suggests moving away from planning, regimentation and gardening with the mentality of a stamp-collector. Frequently funny and always stimulating, she writes of the alchemy of gardens, of the 19th-century plant-collectors and plant illustrators and of the gardening philosophers, all fertilizing great thoughts along with their hollyhocks."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Victory Gardens for Bees

Victory Gardens for Bees A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees
Lori Weidenhammer, Pub: 2016

A hands-on guide for gardeners of all levels to help out native bees and honey bees by planting flowers and plants that benefit bees.

Here is a quote from the Preface of the book.
“More than half a century ago, the threat of famine loomed…Yet instead of resigning themselves to scarcity, citizens rolled up their sleeves. In 1943, in North America alone, Victory Gardens … burst forth with nearly 9 million tons of food, much of it coaxed from the ground by people who had never before grown a carrot of cauliflower.”

Now we need Victory Gardens for bees! This book had many charts of plants with loads of info on growing condition such as: Edible Herbs for Bees, Vegetables for Bees, Trees, Shrubs and Perennials for Bees, even “Weeds” to Leave for Bees. A very approachable book for gardeners of all levels. Includes many amazing photographs of bees visiting flowers as well as several garden designs to help you get started or give you ideas of how to improve your own gardens. The author is from Canada, but most of the plants mentioned in the book will grow in our area.

I'll bring the book on Wednesday during our seed packaging event if you are interested in taking a look at it. Afterwards I'll return it to the library.

This gave me an idea!
If you have read a great gardening book, pass along a quick review of it and I'll post it on our blog spot: The book doesn't have to be at the library--any good plant or gardening book info is welcome. Please include the title, author and when published as well as a couple sentences of why you think this is a good book.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Seed Packaging Wednesday Nov. 15, 4:30-8 pm

The next seed packaging event is Wednesday November, 15 from 4:30-8pm at the White Bear Lake Library!

Help the Seed Library prosper by packaging and labeling seed packets for next seasons gardens and enjoy the company of fellow gardeners.

No experience necessary, open to all. I always bring treats too!

Bring your seeds to share with the Seed Library. The Seed Library depends on seed donations to keep it going. If you decide to purchase a packet of seeds to donate, make sure they are open-pollinated, not hybrid.

Any questions please email me at

NOTE: We are now into questionable weather season, as in snow and ice. I will cancel the seed packaging event if the weather is bad and send an email to everyone. If you think the weather is bad for driving, please call the library to check if the event is still being held, but use your own common sense and don't travel if you feel it is not safe.

I will not be having any seed packing events between Thanksgiving and New Years, but will start again in January 2018.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Seeds Added to Seed Libary!

First I want to thank all of you who came to the seed packaging event on Monday--we packaged 263 packets of seeds!
I'll let everyone know when the new seed packaging event is scheduled.

I added lots of new seeds to the Seed Library yesterday.
There are many new herb seeds: borage, cumin, sage, German winter thyme, garlic chives, onion chives, Italian parsley, moss curled parsley, caraway, rosemary, dill, and oregano. Many herbs need a very long period of germination and indoor growing before setting out in the garden, so plan ahead if you want to grow some of these herbs. Check the Seed Library catalog for growing instructions.

If you want to start native plants from seeds, many need a cold or cold-moist period to break dormancy. You can do this by seeding outside now, using the winter sowing method or by moist-stratification inside your refrigerator. More details about some of these methods is at the Prairie Moon Nursery website:

Below are the native plant seeds we have in the Seed Library:

Common Name
Scientific Name
Giant Blue Hyssop
Agastache foeniculum
Aquilegea canadensis
Swamp Milkweed
Asclepias incarnati
Common Milkweed
Asclepias syriaca
Butterfly Weed
Asclepias tuberosa
Smooth Blue Aster
Aster laevis
Sprengel's Sedge
Carex sprengelii
Purple Coneflower
Echinacea purpurea
Rattlesnake Master
Eryngium yuccifolium
Joe Pye weed
Eupatorium maculatum
Helenium autumnale
Meadow/Prairie Blazing Star
Liatris ligulistylis
Cardinal Flower
Lobelia cardinalis
Great Blue Lobelia
Lobelia siphilitica
Foxglove Beartongue
Penstemon digitalis
Prairie ironweed
Vernonia fasciculata
Yellow Coneflower
Ratibida pinnata
Brown-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia triloba
Late Figwort
Scrophularia marilandica
Golden Alexander
Zizia aurea

Friday, October 13, 2017

Seed Packaging Monday Oct 30!

The first seed packaging event is Monday, Oct 30, 2017 from 5-8pm at the 
White Bear Lake Library!

Help the Seed Library prosper by packaging and labeling seed packets for next seasons gardens.
Many people start native plant seeds late in the fall to lie dormant until the first warm days of spring. I have some native plant seeds to package as well as some extra vegetable and flower seeds from earlier.

No experience necessary, open to all. I always bring treats too!

Bring your seeds to share with the Seed Library. The Seed Library depends on seed donations to keep it going. If you decide to purchase a packet of seeds to donate, make sure they are open-pollinated, not hybrid.

Any questions please email me at


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Upcoming Classes!

Free class on how to save seeds is offered Tuesday September 26 at 6:30-7:30 pm at the White Bear Lake library.

Learn the appropriate techniques to collect and save seeds to grow tasty vegetables or beautiful flowers next year. Learn what cross-pollination means and when you want it to happen and when you don't. Find out what seeds are collected for the Seed Library. Also, learn an easy way to get a head start growing plants for next season.

This class will be repeated on Wednesday, September 27 at 6:30-7:30 pm at the Shoreview library.

The Seed Library relies on donations of seeds, so please consider saving seeds from your own garden produce (peas, beans, tomatoes, lettuce or native plants) or donate an open-pollinated package of seeds.

So far this year the Seed Library has given out 1,338 packets of seeds this year!

To make next season even better we need your donations.

Later this fall we will be packaging seeds, so watch your email for the announcement. Lots of hands makes the job go fast.
Also, if you have seed suggestions of plants you would like to grow, please let me know. We have a small amount of funds to purchase seeds for next season.

Enjoy this season of harvest!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017