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Library building

Seed And Tool Lending Library

Good news! Now you can order seeds and reserve tools for curbside pickup!

The Monadnock Grows Together Seed and Tool Lending Libraries are a collaboration between the Keene Public Library, Cheshire County Conservation District, Antioch University New England's Community Garden Connections (CGC), and the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).

Monadnock Grows Together is funded by the Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Initiative. The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) established the Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Initiative in 2016 to help conservation districts and their partners provide much-needed technical assistance for agricultural conservation in developed or predominantly developing areas. Since July of 2016, NAC and NRCS have awarded three rounds of grants, totaling $4 million to 81 conservation district projects across 34 states.

The Libraries

Now you can order seeds through the mail!

Our Seed Library is open to everyone in the community, at no charge. No library card is necessary to take seeds. We provide, in addition to seeds, education, and resources about growing and saving seeds and organic gardening. We hope that seed library patrons will return some seeds from their harvest to make the library self-sustaining

Want to start gardening, but don't have the right tools? Ready to tackle a big yard project, and need something unusual? The Tool Library can help! Our tool lending library is in the Kingsbury Makerspace and is open to all Cheshire County residents. No library card is necessary but borrowers must fill out and sign the Keene Public Library Tool Borrower Responsibility Agreement.

 

  • How To Borrow From The Seed Lending Library

    Borrowing Seed From The Library

    Now you can order seeds for curbside pickup!

  • How To And What To Borrow From The Tool Library

    Although the Keene Public Libray is closed to the public, you can place holds on tools through our online catalog. Or call us at 603-352-0157. We'll contact you when the items are ready for curbside pickup.

     

    Broadfork

    Broadfork

    This is a tool used to manually break up hard soil, to improve aeration and drainage. It's indispensable when creating new beds or when trying to turn lawn/turf into a garden. This is a hefty tool, as it weighs 15 pounds.

    Here's a great beginner's video on how to use the Broad Fork.

    Battery Powered Hand Seeder

    Battery Powered Hand Seeder

    This battery-powered seeder is great for any seed you wish to broadcast, from lawn grass, to cover crops or baby greens.

    Flat Spade Shovel

    Flat Spade Shovel

    A spade has a flat edge (not a rounded or pointed edge). It is most useful for cutting. For example, if you need to line the edge of a garden bed.

    Garden Fork

    Garden Fork

    A garden fork is also sometimes called a digging fork. It is useful for loosening soil. For example, to prepare a garden bed or to loosed large weeds before pulling them out.

    Garden Rake

    Garden Rake

    Garden rakes can be used to rake soil smooth and break up clumps, before planting in a seedbed. They can be used to spread compost or mulch and can be used to "tamp down" the soil after planting. They are much sturdier than a leaf rake and are better for use with soil for that reason.

    Hand Cultivator

    Hand Cultivator

    This is a great hand weeding tool! Really versatile in small spaces.

    Hand Fork

    Hank Fork

    A hand fork is a tool used for weeding and for loosening soil, on a smaller scale than a garden/digging fork.

    Hand Rake

    Hand Rake

    A hand rake is used for loosening soil in a garden bed. They are small, like garden trowels, and are really handy for tight spaces. They can be useful when prepping small areas for seeds or digging out weeds. 

    Hoe

    Hoe

    A hoe is a tool for removing weeds. It is best used when the soil is dry, and the blade needs to be kept sharp. You should stand as upright as possible, and aim to cut off the weeds just under the surface of the soil. 

    Pruner

    Pruner

    18 in. D-Handled Pruning Saw

    Pruning Saw

    Pruning Saw

    21 in. Bow Pruning Saw

    Ideal use for clearing brush and pruning.

     

     

    Push Seeder

    Push Seeder

    This seeder is great for row crops. It has interchangeable plates, so it can be used with seeds of different sizes. 

    Here's a great beginner's video on how to use the push seeder.

    Shovel

    Shovel

    A shovel has a rounded or pointed edge (not a flat edge). It is most useful for digging and moving soil. 

     

    Telescoping Lopper

    Telescoping Lopper

    25 in. - 37 in. Telescoping Bypass Lopper

     

    Trowel

    Trowel

    A shovel has a rounded or pointed edge (not a flat edge). It is most useful for digging and moving soil. 

     

Gardener Support

Do you have questions about the seed and tool libraries or library materials dealing with gardening? Contact Gail Zachariah at the Keene Public Library, 603-352-0157.

Do you need advice from a gardener? Contact Rachel Brice; the Monadnock /Grows Together Coordinator at the Cheshire County Conservation District. Rachel Brice is a current Environmental Studies Doctoral student at Antioch University New England; she relocated to the Monadnock region from Austin, TX. Rachel has more than ten years of experience as an environmental educator in a wide variety of educational settings, from outdoors to the classroom full-time, working with youth grades K-12, as well as adults. She serves as Cheshire County's Urban Ag & Gardens Coordinator. She works as the Garden Educator for the C&S Workplace Organic Gardens Project, both of which are a great fit with her small-scale organic growing and permaculture design experience. Rachel's interests intersect with food systems/food justice, environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, community work, organizational leadership, and program planning/design and evaluation.

Rachel is available to answer questions, provide 1-on-1 technical assistance, and will even come out and visit you and your garden to offer advice!

Reach out to Rachel via email: Rachel@cheshireconservation.org

  • Library Print Resources

    • Recommended Physical Books For Adults

      101 organic gardening hacks: eco-friendly solutions to improve any garden by Shawna Coronado, Shawna. Cool Springs Press, 2017. 635.04 CORON

      The beginner's guide to growing heirloom vegetables: the 100 easiest, most flavorful vegetables for your garden by Marie Iannotti. Timber Press, 2012 635 IANNO  

      Fresh from the garden: an organic guide to growing vegetables, berries, and herbs in cold climates by John Whitman. University of Minnesota Press, 2017. 635.04 WHITM  

      Fresh food from small spaces: the square-inch gardener's guide to year-round growing, fermenting, and sprouting by R. J. Ruppenthal, R. J. Chelsea Green Pub. Co., 2008. 635 RUPPE 

      Good garden bugs: everything you need to know about beneficial predatory insects by Mary Gardiner. Quarry Books, 2015. 635 GARDI  

      Growing the Northeast garden by Andrew Keys, Timber Press, 2015. 635.09 KEYS  

      Lasagna gardening for small spaces: a layering system for big results in small gardens and containers by Patricia Lanza. Rodale, 2002. 635 LANZA

      Mini farming: self sufficiency on a 1/4 acre by Brett Markham. Skyhorse Pub., 2010. 630 MARKH  

      The new seed-starters handbook by Nancy Bubel. Rodale Press, 1988. 635.04 BUBEL  

      The organic gardener's home reference: a plant-by-plant guide to growing fresh, healthy food by Tanya Denckla Cobb. Storey Communications, 1994. 635.04 DENCK  

      Rodale's vegetable garden problem solver: the best and latest advice for beating pests, diseases, and weeds and staying a step ahead of trouble in the garden by Fern Bradley. Rodale, 2007. 635 BRADL  

      Root cellaring: the simple no-processing way to store fruits and vegetables by Mike Bubel. Storey, 1991. 641.45 BUBEL  

      Seed sowing and saving by Carole Turner. Storey Pub., 1997. 635 TURNE  

      Seed to seed: seed savng and growing techniques for vegetable gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth. Seed Savers Exchange, 2002. 635 ASHWO  

      What's wrong with my vegetable garden?: 100% organic solutions for all your vegetables, from artichokes to zucchini by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth. Timber Press, 2011. 635 DEARD  
       

    • Recommended Physical Books For Children

      Garden to table: a kid's guide to planting, growing, and preparing food by Katherine Hengel. Scarletta Junior Readers, 2014. j 641.5 HENGE  

      My backyard garden by Carol Lerner.  Morrow Junior Books, 1998. j 635 LERNE  

      Plant, cook, eat!: a children's cookbook by Joe Archer, Joe. Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc., 2018. j 641.5 ARCHE  

      Secrets of the garden: food chains and the food web in our backyard by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld. Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. j PICTURE BK ZOE 

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