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Phipps, Grow Pittsburgh partner with Carnegie library for seed, plant swap

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Phipps Conservatory
Phipps officials collect seed donations from farmers, gardeners and mail-order seed companies, to make sure they have a large variety of seeds,

There’s not been much of a winter here in Western Pennsylvania this year, but gardeners still can celebrate next month’s official start of spring by exploring seeds at a library event.

A Celebration of Seeds: 5th annual Seed and Plant Swap, on Feb. 25 at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland, will provide both new and seasoned gardeners with plenty of information, along with free seeds to take home.

“We hold the event to provide a free source of seeds for local gardeners, educate the public about seed starting, and celebrate seed saving and the upcoming growing season,” says Gabe Tilove, adult education coordinator at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Oakland.

At the event — held in collaboration with Phipps and Grow Pittsburgh — gardeners can swap seeds, learn about how to start and grow seeds in workshops and explore the Carnegie’s seed library zine for garden enthusiasts. Activities include a seed starting workshop at 11:30 a.m., a seed saving workshop at 12:30 p.m., and a children’s session on African agriculture at 12:30 p.m.

“The seed library is a source of knowledge and community building using seeds as the catalyst,” says Carnegie librarian Rita Johnson in a news release. “The library wants to preserve local garden stories and knowledge while promoting the growth and expansion of a free and regionally adapted seed base as part of our commitment to sustainability.”

Along with the workshops, the seed swap includes a roundtable for seed stories. Activities also will be provided for children, so you can bring them with you. Phipps Master Gardeners will attend the event, and answer gardening questions from visitors.

Though not required, organizers encourage gardeners to bring organic, non-GMO seeds, seedlings and perennials to share with others, Tilove says. Phipps officials collect seed donations from farmers, gardeners and mail-order seed companies, to make sure they have a large variety of seeds, he says.

Kellie B. Gormly is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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