KokHeong McNaughton, left, and Liz Martineau promote the new Los Alamos Community Seed Library program during Los Alamos County Fair. Check out the Seed Harvest event Saturday at PEEC. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
Find out how to save seeds by using these little bags from KokHeong McNaughton during Saturday’s Seed Harvest at PEEC. Courtesy photo
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
What if you could go to your local library and check out seed to plant at your own home and then collect seeds from your own garden to take to the library to share with others? Well, such a program will kick off Saturday with a Seed Harvest from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center where all ages are welcome and admission is free.
The Los Alamos Community Seed Library project is a grassroots effort comprised of individuals and community organizations working together to establish the library. During Saturday’s event at PEEC, you can discover the important role of seeds and learn how to harvest, dry and store seeds through hands-on activities.
KokHeong McNaughton and Liz Martineau are spearheading the local project in collaboration with Los Alamos County Libraries.
There are 600 other seed libraries in the United States, including one in Espanola that started in 2020 and chose the local library because it is open to the public, meaning people of all ages can go there for stories, knowledge, resources, and seeds. Many of the seeds gathered for the Espanola seed library are local heirlooms and Indigenous seeds that have been donated by farmers from throughout the greater Espanola Valley and elsewhere in New Mexico. Other seeds have been donated by local gardeners, greenhouses and nurseries as well as through grants from several heirloom seed companies.
McNaughton and Martineau have been working hard to get the word out about the project. They spread the word during the Los Alamos County Fair by hosting an information table at Mesa Public Library. A Facebook group page – Los Alamos Community Seed Library – already has 75 members.
“Saving seeds is important to me because the seeds, when saved from year to year, grow into ooplants that have become adapted to our climate and are more productive as well as more resilent to pests. It’s about living in harmony with the earth and all her creatures. In traditional Chinese Medicinal term, we adapt to the Qi around us,” McNaughton said.
The project seed stewards subcommittee has producted some guidelines on what seed may be doanted to the seed library. They are also asking people to submit some information about the seeds they have saved. Patented seeds can’t be knowingly accepted. Commercially packaged seeds are accepted as long as the package has not been opened,
“Until we have built up a good supply of seeds, we’ll not be turning away ‘old’ seeds. Further down the road, we may only accept seeds not older than a certain number of years,” McNaughton said. “We will not accept any seeds from noxious or invasive species of plants.”
She suggested checking the list of noxious the Cooperative Extension’s list of “Noxious and Troublesome Weeds of New Mexico at https://pubs.nmsu.edu/_circulars/CR698/ for more information.
Green bean seeds ready to be harvested by Liz Martineau. Courtesy photo
Mandurang Moon tomato seeds from Catherine Hensley’s garden. Courtesy photo