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Green Thumbs Sprouting At Library’s Seed Starting Class

Published: April 13, 2019 at 07:00 am

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As light poured through the windows of the C.H. Booth Library’s Gathering Room, on the second floor, a planter on the sill growing parsley, thyme, and oregano welcomed the nutrient-rich sunshine in on April 4.

The windowsill herb garden was just one of the examples instructor Louise Zierzow showed the library’s Seed Starting Class of what they could create in their own homes.

Ms Zierzow led the program with fellow Newtown resident Vicki Boccuzzi. Together, they educated attendees on tips for growing herbs, vegetables, and flowers for the summertime.

When selecting a container, people can make their own pot by recycling items they already have in their home, like glass yoghurt containers, metal coffee tins, or newspaper shreds that can be manipulated into forming a pot. For the latter option, Ms Boccuzzi gave a tutorial on how to make them by using a wooden tool called “The PotMaker” from the gardening company Burpee Seeds.

Whichever vessel is chosen, it is important to allow for proper drainage, Ms Zierzow explained.

Small pebbles, broken shells, and clay pot shards are all good options for placing inside the bottom of the pot for drainage.

After placing the seeds into the soil, it is important to stick a label in the pot, as well, to indicate the name of the seeds and the date it was planted.

Ms Zierzow recommended using recycled plant labels or wooden Popsicle sticks, to which she said, “And you don’t have to eat all those Popsicles; you can buy them at the craft store.”

During the class, Ms Zierzow and Ms Boccuzzi answered the class’s gardening questions, one being, “What is the optimum time to put plants outside?”

While there is no specific day, Ms Zierzow said usually in the middle of May, around Mother’s Day, is a good time because the temperature outside will be consistently warm enough for plants to survive.

When asked what brands Ms Zierzow prefers, she said she gets seeds of all price points but makes sure they are non-GMO and do not have neonicotinoids.

Neonicotinoids, she explained, are a chemical insecticide that is designed to kill aphids and flies, but it also kills bees and other important pollinators.

The Seed Bank

The C.H. Booth Library has a special resource for gardeners called The Seed Bank, which was established in the library last year by Ms Boccuzzi’s granddaughter, Sabrina Boccuzzi, for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.

The Seed Bank, now located in the Gathering Room, allows for people to sign-out seeds for their own gardening.

After their seed plantings have grown, the person is asked to collect the new seeds and bring them to the library for the next person to enjoy.

“It’s like a real bank; you put things in and take things out, and it asks that you record what you’ve done here,” Ms Boccuzzi said.

Ms Zierzow brought the class a variety of seeds to try, including zinnias, cucumbers, marigolds, forget-me-nots, butterfly wildflower mix, Shasta daisies, tomatoes, Thai basil, dill, lettuce leaf basil, lemon basil, sweet Italian basil, thyme, sage, and oregano.

“There’s plenty to go around,” Ms Zierzow said.

Supplies of glass jars and gardening soil were also provided to the class.

In addition to taking home the plantings created in the Seed Starting Class, participants were given handouts on growing culinary herbs and recipes for how to incorporate them in different dishes.

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