Little Seed Libraries will help ‘grow your own’ hobby take root

If you enjoy growing your own fruit, vegetables or flowers, chances are you have plenty of unused seeds.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 6:19 pm

Instead of setting the seed packets aside and potentially forgetting about them, why not take advantage of one of the new Little Seed Libraries set up in Larne and Carrick?

They been installed at Larne, Greenisland and Eden Allotment Gardens by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council in celebration of National Allotments Week.

A Little Seed Library is a container that green-fingered enthusiasts or newbies alike can use to swap packets of seeds in that they can then plant or grow in their own gardens.

Mayor Cllr William McGaughey at the Eden Community Allotments along with growers from Carrickfergus RBL and Marlene Gattineau, Assistant Growing Communities Officer.

Saving seed from one year to plant the next is a traditional skill practiced for centuries, and seed sharing is important for many reasons. Over the past century, we have lost 97 per cent of our vegetable varieties in the UK alone and currently only about 150 of the 10,000-50,000 edible plant species on earth are cultivated for eating.

When communities save and swap seeds it can help protect biodiversity, keep locally adapted varieties going, continue age-old traditions, provide a social element and help gardeners save money.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillorr William McCaughey said: “During the lockdowns, many people ‘growing your own’ a go.

“This new found hobby has turned into a love for many and these libraries aren’t just for allotment holders to use, but the wider community as well.

“Growing from seed does not require a big space, you can grow produce using recycled containers or pots at your front door on or windowsills. It can be a great activity for families, so why not give it a go?

“Gardening is well known for its health benefits, cultivating a healthy mind as well as locally grown produce, so these libraries are another commitment from Council to promoting healthier and happier communities across Mid and East Antrim.”

Ivan Johnston, plot holder at Eden Allotment Gardens added: “National Allotments Week started in 2002 as a way of raising awareness of allotments and the role they play in helping people to live healthier lifestyles, grow their own food, develop friendships and bolster communities.

“The campaign week is still thriving 18 years later and interest in growing your own fruit and vegetables has never been stronger since the WW2 Grow for Victory campaign.

“The theme in 2021 is ‘Plotting for the Future’ celebrating the contribution that allotments make to a sustainable future. This ties in perfectly with the new additions on site. These will be a great way for plot holders and the wider community to swap produce, promote local heritage varieties and share knowledge with each other.”

The three allotment gardens managed by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council are at Greenisland (Knockleigh Drive), Eden (Beltoy Road) and Larne (Town Park).

For more information or to apply for an plot visit www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/allotments

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