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Get growing with free seeds from Niagara Falls library

Have you ever been curious about what it would be like to grow your own vegetables? Have you ever thought about teaching your children or grandchildren where their food comes from?

Or, like me, have you ever been known for having a black or a brown thumb?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, Niagara Falls Public Library has some exciting news about a brand new collection coming soon.

This new collection is called Seed to Seed and will be available at all library locations. Vegetable seeds will be provided to the community free of charge and no library card is required. All you need to do is visit your local branch, choose up to three varieties of seeds and fill out the seed form. Each packet of seeds will come with brief instructions about planting and caring for your seeds. Depending on the variety, each packet will contain five to 10 seeds.

There are a variety of different seeds to choose from, including beets, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumbers, collards, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, onions, parsnips, radishes, spinach and butternut squash.

The Seed to Seed program has chosen to use only heirloom or open-pollinating varieties. These varieties have been grown for so many generations that their physical and genetic qualities are relatively stable. When saved, these seeds will be true to type, or, in simpler terms, you will reap what you sow.

If you are new to vegetable gardening, you might want to know how to grow the seeds that you have chosen. If you require more information than what is included in your seed packets, you will certainly be in the right place to borrow a gardening book or two.

Additional online resources will also be available in the “Learn More” section of the Seed to Seed website. As well, please keep an eye on our online program calendar and follow us on social media to learn about the many upcoming programs related to seed saving and gardening.

After you have enjoyed the “fruits” of your labour, there is one small task left. Once the growing season is over, we ask that you harvest your heirloom seeds from your healthiest plants. The method for saving seeds depends on the variety and additional information can be found on our website.

Simply place your saved seeds in labelled envelopes and return them to any library branch. Saving seeds helps us to create a culture of sharing, where all members of our community can experience the pleasures of growing our own food. Saving seeds will also help to restock the Seed to Seed program for next year’s growing season.

The Seed to Seed collection will be ready for you to borrow on Friday, May 17. Once I have visited the display of gardening books at Victoria Library, I will try to find out which varieties are the most forgiving and then make my seed selections. Hopefully, this will be the year that my thumb turns “green.” Happy gardening, everyone.

Cathy Roy is the information resources and connections librarian, local history, for Niagara Falls Public Library.

Vegetable seeds will be provided to the community free of charge and no library card is required. Each packet of seeds will come with brief instructio…

Cannabis seed shop owner hopes business will grow

Change is coming.

And Justin Rotella plans to be ready to embrace that “big change” when it comes.

The Port Colborne native who recently opened the doors of Rose City Seeds can’t dispense marijuana at his 405 East Main St. Welland business; however, he said current legislation does not prevent him from selling seeds.

And his shop is stocked full of a large assortment of seeds from all over the world, allowing his customers to grow a variety of cannabis plants.

“It’s all legit. These are all cannabis seeds for medical patients,” he said.

Purchasing and growing seeds within limits is legally permitted in Canada for medical users, who submit required documentation to the federal government for approval.

“But in the end, if you’re 19 (years old) or older, pretty soon the law’s going to change. You’re going to be able to grow.”

New legislation regarding marijuana is expected to be in place by the spring of 2017. When that happens, Rotella hopes being at the root of the seed-selling business will put him an ideal position to expand.

“You have to start somewhere and the seed business is going to be one of the best businesses, I think, when the time comes.

“When everyone wants to start to grow, they’re going to go to the seed banks,” he said. “They have to go where they have to go to grow, you know what I mean.”

When the federal government starts licensing businesses to dispense marijuana, Rotella suspects companies that are currently involved in the industry will be first in line to be awarded those licences.

“I’m basically waiting for that, so Rose City Seeds will become Rose City Weeds,” he said. “But until then, it’s seeds.”

Rotella said he’s providing a service to people who are relying on marijuana for treatment of chronic pain and other ailments.

He said customers bring him their prescriptions and he’s then able to help them select plants that will best treat their symptoms. Whether customers have back pain or headaches, he said, “there’s so much different stuff that can address all of that.”

Rotella said he is a medical marijuana patient himself, using five grams of the drug daily to combat his insomnia, and it helps him better than pharmaceutical remedies he’s tried in the past.

Although physicians write prescriptions for marijuana, he said there’s no one available to direct people on what type of plants they need, at least not in Welland.

“We’re here to let people know that this is what will be available and you have no idea how much it can change your life to get off pharmaceuticals.”

Although a packet of a few seeds can cost $70 to $110 at Rotella’s shop, he said the plant that grows from those seeds can last users for years.

And in some cases, the plants can be harvested in as little as about eight weeks.

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“This is going to be a really big change and I’m really anxious to see what’s going to happen,” he said.

More information is available by calling 289-241-7787.

Change is coming.And Justin Rotella plans to be ready to embrace that “big change” when it comes.The Port Colborne native who recently ope…