sowing hope, reaping thanks

In the spring, the Mass Aggie Seed Library, in the Science and Engineering Library, mailed out 1,019 seed packets. Below is a letter of thanks:

I have long enjoyed gardening and growing food in my front yard (as opposed to growing lawn). However, I always bought regular tomato and pepper starts from the garden center, perhaps a few flowers as well. This was my first year growing anything from seed and it has completely changed the way I think about gardening. Early spring was an incredibly difficult time and on a particularly hard day, I received the most glorious, bright orange envelope from the Seed Library. In it, there were a few seeds of varieties I had never even heard of—but most importantly, in that envelope there was hope and something to look forward to. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the UMass Aggie Seed Library. Thanks to the Seed Library, I learned that patty pan squash are not just beautiful, but delicious (my absolute favorite!) and that pepper seeds will not germinate if it’s too cold (sorry little pepper seeds!). I’ve also educated myself on heirloom varieties and open-pollinated plants, learned about food sovereignty and seed saving (and also learned about the unfortunate seed shortages in the wake of COVID-19). Thank you for opening up this whole new world view. I am forever thankful to this awesome UMass program!

I have purchased organic and heirloom seeds from a seed company for my next spring garden. I will be more than happy to share a few of those for the Seed Library. I will, of course, collect seeds from my current garden plants to share with this amazing community as well (I already have coriander and onion seeds I collected!)

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! And I can’t wait to contribute to the seed collection.

Mariamar Gutierrez Ramirez
PhD candidate/Gerson Lab
Graduate Program in Organismic & Evolutionary Biology
College of Natural Sciences
University of Massachusetts Amherst