SHERIDAN — Whether you have a green or black thumb, the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library has made available a seed library — a free, seed-lending program through the Powder River Basin Resource Council and the Wyoming seed library network, which spans the state.
Fulmer Library Director Cameron Duff said Sheridan’s seed library is small and newer than others around the state, which are located in Gillette, Lander, Casper, Torrington, Cheyenne and Laramie.
The concept of the program is to have gardeners visit the library’s seed collection to choose, or “borrow,” and plant in a personal garden. Once seeds sprout and become plants, toward the end of harvest season, the grower then brings seeds back to the library to “return.”
For a brief time, the seed library was located at Sheridan College, but was less frequented, so the library agreed to house the seeds. Volunteers will clean, maintain and tend to the seeds, though, instead of library staff.
“It’s part of a process with the county where we’re trying to get a little bit more exposure to it, more seeds being added to it, so we’ll see how it goes,” Duff said.
Duff said the hope is for other growers, beyond those who borrowed seeds through the program, to bring or donate seeds to the library to expand the collection.
“They might sprout, they might not sprout,” library board of trustees Chair Shannon Anderson said. “But they’re free.”
Sheridan County Commissioner Christi Haswell, who sits as the commissioners’ liaison to the library board, said even though library staff does not have to maintain the program, it provides another avenue for traffic into the library.
The pamphlet available for growers interested in the program said there is no obligation to save and return seeds if one is new to seed saving.
“As you grow as a gardener and a seed saver, we hope that you will consider sharing seeds from some of your plants with the seed library,” the pamphlet says.
Saving seeds also helps plants adapt to Wyoming growing conditions, in addition to making local seed stock more genetically diverse and resilient. The intention of having the seed library available at the library is to provide literature alongside the seeds to help with the growing process. Those without backyard gardens also have opportunities to grow in one of Sheridan’s seven community gardens and the Sheridan Food Forest, according to the pamphlet.
The seed library opened Wednesday and will remain available for any curious community member wishing to start a gardening experience.