Get Growing

Enjoy environmental literacy initiatives at the library including a seed library, outdoor gardening opportunities, and hydroponic indoor growing.

Happy black father and son watering plants together.
Group of kindergarten kids learning gardening outdoors

Discover All You Can Grow at the Library

As part of our focus on helping the community build environmental literacy skills, we’re excited to introduce new initiatives at the library that provide opportunities for people of all ages to learn more about food production and food sustainability along with increased awareness around caring for the environment.

We invite you to take part and discover more about:

  • Environmental Litearcy
  • Food Security
  • Community Building

Seed Library

Our Seed Library is an opportunity for customers to take seeds home and grow their very own vegatables, fruits, herbs and flowers. Our Seed Library has been re-located to our Main Library. There are still several seed packets available for customers to take home, plant and enjoy.

Not only will seeds from our Seed Library be available to the public, but we are also using these seeds in other Get Growing initatives and teaching opportunities. Seeds from the Seed Library will be used to help plant our new Naturespace garden beds during our upcoming Roots & Shoots event and to replenish food stock in our grow towers (available at the Eastside Branch).

Person holding basket with freshly picked vegetables.

Seed Library FAQs

  • How many seed packets can I take?

    UPDATE: Customers are now welcome to take as many seed packets as they are prepared to use.

    Seed packets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Where can I get the seeds?

    UPDATE: Our Seed Library is now located exclusively at our Main Library for the remainder of the season.

  • Where did WPL get the seeds for the Seed Library?
    We purchased all our seeds from Ontario Seed Company (oscseeds.com).
  • How will I know how to plant my new seeds?

    Each seed packet comes with a label that includes planting instructions. We have also included the seed name, seed number and Ontario Seed Company website link, so customers can easily access full planting, germination, and care instructions.

  • What seeds do you have available in the Seed Library?

    We have a selection of herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers.

    Herbs

    • Cilantro Coriander
    • Dill (Fernleaf)
    • Oregano
    • Chives
    • Parsley (Italian Plain)
    • Catnip

    Vegetables & Fruits

    • Beets (Early Wonder)
    • Carrots (Rainbow Blend)
    • Green Beans (Blue Lake Bush)
    • Yellow Beans (Kentucky Wonder)
    • Radish Early Scarlet
    • Cucumber (Straight Eight)
    • Peas (Sugar Snap)
    • Zucchini Dark Green
    • Spaghetti Squash
    • Pumpkin (Howden)
    • Bib Lettuce
    • Swiss Chard (Bright Lights)
    • Red Kale
    • Cantaloupe (Hale’s Best)
    • Watermelon (Sugar Baby)

    Flowers

    • Bee Pollinator Mix
    • Native Ontario Pollinator Mix
    • Double Shirley Mixed Poppy
    • Sunflower (Colour Fashion Mix)

    Seeds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Do I need a library card to use the Seed Library?
    No. Anyone is welcome to use the Seed Library.
Green lettuce growing on a vertical hydroponic tower system

Grow Towers

Grow towers are vertical hydroponic gardens where food is cultivated in a soilless environment, receiving essential nutrients through a continuous water flow. The Eastside Branch has two grow towers that will operate and produce food year-round. Customers will be able to pick food as plants become ready for harvesting (please follow onsite signage or ask staff for assistance).

The grow towers will act to foster ongoing discussions about food insecurity in Canada as well as highlighting technology for food production in challenging environments like Canada’s far North. The sunlamp-equipped lights will support year-round plant growth, adding vibrancy to library spaces.

Grow Towers FAQs

  • How do the grow towers work?

    The plants grow without soil; their roots are held in rock wool. They get watered automatically for five minutes every 45 minutes, all day and night. The lights are on a 14 hour schedule. Every three weeks, we refill and check the water, nutrients, and pH levels.

  • What do you grow in the grow towers?

    We will grow a variety of plants on a rotational basis. Once plants are harvested we will plant new seeds to grow. Signage will accompany the grow towers to let customers know what is currently growing.

    Some of the plants we grow will come from seeds in our Seed Library.

  • What will happen with the plants when they are ready to be picked?

    Anyone visiting the Eastside Branch will be able to pick the plants and take them home. We ask that you please only pick plants or leaves on plants that are ready for harvesting. Directional signage will let customers know when plants are ready for harvesting or you can ask staff for assistance. Excess food will be donated.

  • Will the grow towers operate all year long?

    Yes! The grow towers will be available year-round, with major maintenance occurring twice a year in September and March. During that time, the grow towers will be removed for a deep clean before being returned.

Naturespace Garden Boxes

Our Naturespace garden boxes feature a mix of pollinators, native plants and even vegetables. These boxes help to enhance and sustain the environment around the Eastside Branch while providing opportunities for learning and engaging with the natural environment. The boxes are designed with an accessible side to allow for everyone to participate in the gardening process.

The new garden boxes were co-designed by our Teen Events Team, who will be volunteering their time to nurture the plantings. The garden boxes will be used for programs and will be planted by library staff and community members alike.

As an added bonus, the pollinator plants in the garden boxes will provide a source of pollen for our beehive.

The Naturespace at the Eastside Branch with raised flower boxes, a water table for kids, tables and shade structures.

Interested in learning more about our teaching beehive?

That’s right! We’ve got a functioning beehive at our Eastside Branch. Learn more about our hive and accompanying programs and events.