We’re excited that you took home some seeds from Merrimack College’s Seed Library! This volunteer-run Seed Library works in concert with the Merrimack Garden (located at 27 Rock Ridge Rd.). Feel free to pop by the garden any time. We have a host of annual vegetables and perennial plantings.
Our Seed Library will be open from the end of February through December in the McQuade Library basement. Beginning in the spring of 2023, we are offering over 30 different kinds of seeds! Into the summer and fall, we will have a rotating offering of seeds that suit the time of year.
If kept cool and dry, the seeds you take home should last for at least a year. Once you get growing, please tag @Merrimack_Garden on Instagram or email Lisa Perks (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any photos to share!
This first post gives some general advice for starting and maintaining a garden. Click the links below for your type of seed to learn more specific growing advice. If you have more questions, feel free to do what some of the best gardeners do: Google it.
Many seeds can be planted directly in the ground. Others may need to be started indoors (under grow lights or on a sunny windowsill) during the colder New England months to get a jump on the growing season. Check out the seed-specific blog posts linked below:
Getting to Know Your Merrimack Library Seeds (more links to follow)
Plants can be grown in many ways: raised beds, straight in the ground, in pots or containers.
The first main step is to find a site that gets a good amount of sun. Six to eight hours a day is ideal. Be creative: this may mean you grow plants on a deck, rooftop, front yard, driveway, etc.
Types of Gardens
Consider whether you want to build raised beds or an in-ground garden. To build a raised bed (which means you raise up the soil level), you can use lumber, logs, bricks, rocks, a kit, or something else. Just avoid using treated wood that could leach chemicals into the garden. Alternately, do an in-ground garden (with no border holding up the soil) and simply mound up the soil.
Many towns offer free compost (usually from yard waste or leaf pick up). Or purchase compost, loam mix, or topsoil (in bags or a large delivery) to build up a bed.
Container gardening can be done in pots, five gallon buckets, grow bags, reusable grocery bags–even a repurposed kiddie pool! Just make sure whatever container you have has good drainage.
One additional thing to remember is that the container garden growing medium should be light and fluffy. Regular soil is too heavy for containers and doesn’t drain well. Find a bagged container potting mix or make your own with one part compost, one part vermiculite or perlite, and one part coco coir (a more sustainable alternative to peat moss).
If starting seeds indoors or in tiny pots before putting them in the garden, water the young seedlings daily. Container gardens also dry out quickly. Giving container gardens a soaking (at the base of the plant, not at the foliage) once every day or two is generally wise.
If you’ve recently put baby plants outside into the garden (or you’ve planted seeds directly in there), give them a good daily watering about every day or two for about two weeks. Once they’re established (maybe 2ish weeks in their new spot) they can go longer between waterings–a soak every 3 days or so in the absence of rain.