First season for Bay’s seed library

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Bay College Library Director Oscar DeLong takes down a display promoting the Bay College Seed Library, which was introduced this spring. DeLong said while participation in this program was healthy for its first year, the rainy conditions seen in Delta County during much of the summer put a damper on its introduction.

ESCANABA — Since the Bay College Seed Library was introduced at the Bay College Library this spring, area residents have had an opportunity to grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, and more by “borrowing” seeds from the library. Library Director Oscar DeLong said while this initiative is still young, it has shown some early signs of success.

“Now, it’s time to see if we have success in getting some of these items (back),” he said. Once the seeds used by program participants have grown into new plants, participants are asked to collect seeds from these plants and return them to the library.

Participation in the Bay College Seed Library was healthy for the program’s first year.

“We did loan out a good chunk of seeds,” DeLong said. He estimated all of the library’s flower seeds and about one-third of the library’s vegetable seeds were loaned out this spring and summer.

Unfortunately, the rainy conditions seen in Delta County during much of the summer put a damper on the seed library’s inaugural year.

“Obviously, this was an interesting year, weather-wise,” DeLong said.

So far, only a few seed library participants have returned seeds from plants they grew over the summer. DeLong said this is in line with expectations.

“Some of the items that people would have taken wouldn’t have had a chance to seed just yet,” he said.

However, he encouraged anyone who was involved in the seed library program to bring back seeds from the plants they grew as soon as they can.

“Now it’s time for people to… bring in some of the dried seeds that they’ve preserved,” DeLong said. If possible, participants should return at least as many seeds as they borrowed.

DeLong said before they bring their seeds in, participants should make sure the seeds are ready to be stored until next spring.

“The primary thing is that the seeds need to dry,” he said. Seeds may need to be cleaned before going into storage, as well.

Ideal seed preservation methods can vary from plant to plant, DeLong noted.

“Each one’s going to be a little different,” he said. He also reminded seed library participants the Bay College Library has some books on this topic.

DeLong said he is looking forward to watching the Bay College Seed Library’s collection of seeds develop over time.