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Carnegie Library Holds Annual Seed Swap

February often means slushy streets and freezing temperatures. But it also means spring planting season is just weeks away. Another harbinger is the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s seventh annual seed-and-plant swap, A Celebration of Seeds.

A seed swap is a low to no-cost way to share the bounty, whether you’re bringing in seeds and seedlings or taking home contributions from others. A Celebration of Seeds is co-sponsored by Phipps Conservatory and Grow Pittsburgh.

Admission is free. Phipps community-outreach coordinator Lauren DeLorenze says beginners are welcome.

“The seed swap is just to encourage people to garden, encourage people to grow their own food and their own flowers, and also to allow folks to get acquainted with new varieties that they may have never seen before,” she says.

The swap specializes in seeds that are open-pollinated heirloom varieties and non-GMO. Seeds on offer will also include donations from seed companies, says Rita Johnson, a librarian at Carnegie Library.

The Carnegie Library’s main branch actually runs its own seed library year-round; patrons can take or donate seeds. Still, the annual swap continues growing. DeLorenze says that last year it drew 400 visitors.

Saturday’s event includes workshops for beginners on seed saving, seed starting and organic gardening. There are also hands-on activities for kids, experts to answer gardening questions, and a station to share your Seed Stories.

Attendees are encouraged, but not required, to bring seeds to share. Those bringing seeds can arrive at 11 a.m. and be entered in a prize raffle. The swap opens to everyone at 11:30 a.m.

DeLorenze says the swap can make gardening more efficient for new and experienced gardeners alike. “It’s really great because instead of buying a whole packet or a bunch of packets of seeds you can just take a couple tomato seeds, and those seeds will translate into two whole tomato plants,” she says.

WESA receives funding from Phipps Conservatory.