Members of the Silver Skylarks 4-H Club, including the Clover Kids, have gathered more than 100 heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs to create a seed library for Fremont County residents.
According to Kristi Shiner, Silver Skylarks Clover Kids instructor, over the course of two meetings, club members put together about 662 4-H seed packets that are available and free to all residents of Fremont County, without limit.
Shiner collects heirloom seeds and grows them personally, as do her sons, and having noticed some seed shortages during the pandemic, they decided to start a seed library.
Shiner requested and received a $100 donation from Baker’s Creek of Manesfield, Missouri, that Shiner used to purchase some seeds that would grow well in this area. The rest of the seeds for the seed library came from her seed collection and her sons’, as well as other donations from local residents. Shiner said the Skylarks are proud to be able to provide a variety of seeds for people to grow.
The Silver Skylarks and Clover Kids just planted their own seeds, and Shiner said in the fall she and the other instructors will teach them how to save the seeds from their produce and add them to the seed library. As long as they get enough demand, the Skylarks definitely intend to make this an ongoing project.
Shiner added they hope to eventually be able to grow a 4-H community garden.
Shiner said this is a growing movement, as the Iowa Extension started a Gardening to Give program just last March so people who grew vegetables could donate to food pantries or friends and family. Gardening to Give is a 25-week program, with weekly lessons about gardening. Over 1,000 people participated last year, so the Extension decided to do it again. The Skylarks didn’t participate last year, but Shiner’s boys did, and she expects the club will participate in the next program.
The Silver Skylarks Seed Library opened April 1, and the free seed packets are located at the ISU Extension and Outreach Office in Sidney, available during normal business hours. That office is located at 610 Clay St., just off the Sidney square, and it is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 712-374-2351 for more information.