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Check Out That Garden

Posted by | March 12, 2018


Published in: Camas-Washougal Post-Record • March 8, 2018, 5:30AM

By Dawn Feldhaus

Area’s first ‘seed library’ encourages love of growing food, flowers

A new Washougal-based hybrid of library protocol and seed-sharing is expanding the idea of “community gardening.”

Washougal Community Library staff and volunteers, the city of Washougal and Washington State University Extension Master Gardeners are combining efforts to create the first seed bank in Southwest Washington and the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District.

Area residents can check out heirloom vegetable, herb and flower seeds at the library, 1661 “C” St., then plant them and watch them grow. When it is time to harvest, seed library participants are asked to let one or two plants go to seed and bring some of the seeds back to the library for other gardeners to plant.

According to information provided by the Washougal Community Library, only heirloom seeds have the ability to adapt and produce seeds, and seeds are saved best when stored in a cool, dark and dry place.

James Stupfel, of Camas, completed the Master Gardener program in 2017.

He has helped sort seeds for the new seed library.

“I liked the idea of creating a place where gardeners can exchange seeds that may not be available from retailers, and I hope this leads to more garden related opportunities within this community,” Stupfel said.

David Gano, a Master Gardener since 2016, said there is value in preserving history, including heritage and heirloom seeds and plants.

“I think the seed library is a great way to lower the barrier to entry and encourage more of our community members to learn the joy of gardening,” he said.

Gano, a Camas native who now lives in Hockinson, said many people are intimidated by the prospect of gardening.

“I think all of the information available about soils, fertilizers, GMO/non-GMO seed, sun, shade and raised beds all gets to be overwhelming and creates the illusion of a high barrier to entry to start gardening,” he said. “We hope to simplify some of this information and make it easy to get started in the gardening game.”

Washougal School District students who volunteer at the library have also been involved in some of the seed sorting.

Seeds sorted so far include peas, kale, spinach, cabbage, carrots and hot peppers. Additional vegetables, herbs and flowers will be included in the seed library.

Washougal Community Library Branch Manager Rachael Ries said there will be seven raised garden beds, to plant seeds and harvest for the seed library, in a former pumpkin patch owned by the city of Washougal, by City Hall, 1701 “C” St.

Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance board members Joyce Lindsay and Janice Ferguson have landscaped the former pumpkin patch.

The Washougal seed library launch includes a ribbon cutting at 12:15 p.m., Saturday, March 31. Children’s activities, including painting rocks and planting and taking home seeds, will be available from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. that day.

Donations of heirloom seeds are accepted at the library. For more information, call 360-906-4860 or visit

If You Go:

Free workshop series, presented by Washington State University Extension Master Gardeners and the Washougal Community Library

What: Seed Selecting and Saving

When: 6 p.m., Thursday, March 15

Where: Washougal Community Library, 1661 “C” St.

What: Soil and Soil Microbes

When: 6 p.m., Thursday, March 22

Where: Washougal Community Library, 1661 “C” St.

What: Beneficial Insects

When: 11 a.m., Saturday, March 31

Where: Washougal Community Library, 1661 “C” St.

What: Gardening: Ready, Set, Go!

When: 2 p.m., Saturday, March 31

Where: Washougal Community Library, 1661 “C” St.

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