A Little Seed Library is sprouting in Gahanna.
Former mayor Tom Kneeland said most people are familiar with the Little Free Library effort that promotes neighborhood book exchanges, but he and his wife, Becky, have created a free Little Seed Library at their house, 123 Serran Drive.
"Becky and I started a new little thing for the community that I hadn't seen anywhere before," he said. "We started a Little Seed Library and put one up in front of our house and advertised it on Gahanna Gardening Facebook and a couple other places."
People can pick up vegetable, flower and herb seeds and can leave seeds as they choose.
Kneeland said the idea has taken root.
As of April 28, Kneeland's original April 15 post on social media had been shared 204 times and received 53 comments.
"Surprisingly, people have started to use it, and they are also contributing seeds to it for others to enjoy," Kneeland said. "It's all about sharing with the community."
Val Miller said she's a big fan of the seed library, as well as the little book libraries.
"My son Drew, 11, really enjoyed looking through all the seed packs," she said.
They chose tomatoes, peas and coleus out of Kneeland's supply and left behind daisy, Forget-Me-Not and marigold seeds.
"It's a great idea, and I hope it stays around for a long time," Miller said. "It's just another thing that makes Gahanna a great place to live."
Kneeland said the idea has gone international.
A comment from Margaret Fitzgerald of the Community Gardens Ireland Group indicated she got the go-ahead to set up its first seed library like the one Kneeland posted.
Kneeland said he and his wife both thought about the seed library and figured it might help some residents.
He said he built the Little Seed Library cabinet with scrap lumber, creating a box with some thin metal flashing as a roof, and put it in the ground.
"We both had a hand in making the container," he said. "I built the box and Becky did all of the painting and stenciling before we put it out and advertised it."
His wife also re-packaged the seeds the couple had on hand into smaller packets, he said.
"Part of what generated this idea was that we always seem to have leftover seeds every year and they are good for four to five years, so we thought that by re-packaging them and adding some from the current year that were leftovers for us, we could likely fill the box with vegetable, flower and herb seeds," Kneeland said.
"We have had quite a few people visit. Some browse and take some seeds; others take seeds and leave some seeds; and others stop by and leave their extra seeds for others."
He said he and his wife traditionally have a garden that is about 40 by 60 feet, and they use raised beds.
"Usually, we have the normal stuff -- tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, zucchini, peas, beans, peppers and asparagus," he said.
"Becky has been canning tomato sauce and making salsa, freezing peas and beans, in addition to making jellies and raising bees. We typically have a full pantry and freezer."
Kneeland said he hopes others residents will add seed libraries in different areas of the city.