Brilliant Idea: Manitou Springs Seed Library

Some things are just so cool that they must be recorded. This is one of those things.

If you’re not familiar with the 3.03 square miles of wonder that is Manitou Springs, let me bring you up to speed.

Manitou Springs, which climbs the mountains just west of Colorado Springs, is home to the world famous Manitou Penny Arcade, where the Wonder Hub and I had our first date. (I schooled him at Skeeball. He killed me at everything else.)


photo credit: springs


Manitou Springs is home to the Emma Crawford Festival and Coffin Races, in which I got to participate last year.


This is the only thing I will ever (ever, ever) have to do with zombies.


My zombie BFF




Manitou Springs is home to Kinfolks Mountain Shop, where you and your good dog can get a beverage and snacks while listening to live music.


Molly Sue making friends


Perhaps most famously, Manitou Springs is home to the Incline, on which you gain 2,000 breath-taking feet in elevation during an .88 mile climb.


Oh yes we will!


Top ‘o the Incline. From left: Moose, Bubba, Moi, Monkey


As you can see, I have a fair amount of experience with Manitou Springs. I thought I knew all that this gem has to offer. When Katie Sanders*, instructor extraordinaire from the North American School of Clinical Herbalism, told me about the Manitou Springs Seed Library, I was intrigued. A library? Of seeds?

Yes, friends. A library of seeds. Check it out.


The library building was given to the city by Andrew Carnegie in 1910


“The purpose of our project is twofold. We want to promote the development and preservation of landrace heirloom seeds and varieties that are well adapted to the arid growing conditions and short growing season that are typical of Colorado’s Front Range and in conjunction, promote the development of an equally well adapted body of local knowledge on how to save and pass on those seeds to future growers.”



A card catalogue of seeds!

“Seed libraries work by creating a relationship with regional growers. The seed library offers free seeds and a means of regional seed exchange while teaching people how to save those seeds successfully. In return, growers commit to bringing back a portion of the seed produced by those plants at the end of the growing season. The returned seed enters the library catalog and becomes available to more growers the following season, who will in turn, borrow and return even more.”



My next adventure!

This is the list of seeds I chose. I wanted every. single. thing. I did. Seeing as how I need to return twice as many seeds in the fall, I forced myself to stick with seeds that were marked easy to harvest, except in the case of the peppers, which I couldn’t resist.

It is my understanding that the library will have a class on planting and growing this month, and then another in the fall on harvesting seeds. I will endeavor to attend, bumble my way through, and report back to you.

See what I mean? Some things are so cool that they must be recorded.


*You can follow Katie at Garden Fairy Apothecary on Facebook and