Seed Library Coming to Corvallis 

A person holds a selection of seed packets. Credit: urbancow, Getty Images

The Public Seed Library is a new collaborative project of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, with the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library serving as the host partner and the OSU Extension Master Gardener Program providing educational resources. The free, volunteer-run Public Seed Library is expected to open at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library downtown by March ’23. 

“This is a natural opportunity to collaborate to benefit so many, so easily!” said Jill Farrow, who is a member of both organizations. “The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s Food Action Team puts on the free Edible Garden Tour each year to increase local food consumption and support home gardening. The Benton County Master Gardeners provide many educational resources for gardening. The new Public Seed Library leverages the strengths of these two community volunteer organizations.”  

This will be a seed-sharing library to share sustenance: Give what you can, and receive seeds and garden knowledge on how to plan a garden, grow vegetables, and companion herbs and flowers too for pollinators and other beneficial insects. 

The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition is looking for volunteers to collect donated seeds, then help organize and inventory seed packets to stock the new Public Seed Library. If you’re an individual interested in volunteering, or a company interested in making a tax-deductible donation of commercial seed packets, reach out to connect with the Food Action Team now here

As the educational partner, Benton County Master Gardeners will offer vegetable garden planning and growing lectures, as well as staff pop-up Plant Clinic help desks at the Corvallis Public Library next spring and summer. The Public Seed Library will be available to everyone who visits the Corvallis Public Library, for their personal use, regardless of whether they have a library card. It’s intended to support new and experienced home gardeners too.  

These local organizations already partner with others to provide the free Corvallis Garden Resource Guide and gardening educational outreach through the Neighborhood Planters Kiosks project. Corvallis has an active gardening community and three family-owned retail nurseries that support local school gardens, community gardening, and natural area conservation groups. There’s a lot of programming support for people who are looking to start gardening or grow more of their own food. “The Public Seed Library will benefit all: current gardeners who will have free access to a broader variety of seeds, new gardeners, and the environment too,” Farrow says. 

The Public Seed Library will be stocked exclusively with donated vegetable, herb, and flower commercial seed packets “Packed for 2022.” Please consider donating new or open and partially used seed packets if you’re a home gardener who has left over commercial seed packets “Packed for 2022”. Donations from the general public will be collected from mid-December through January ’23 at two drop-off donation sites: 

  • Benton County Master Gardener’s OSU Extension Office at 4077 SW Research Way 
  • Corvallis Public Library downtown at 645 NW Monroe Ave inside at the Librarian’s Desk 

Look for future updates on the Public Seed Library project on the Benton County Master Gardener and Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s Food Action Team websites, also a new Instagram account, coming soon. For questions about the project, contact the Food Action Team here. 

Pollinator Benefits of a Messy Yard 

by Janet Morlan, Master Gardener Volunteer

This post is part of the Neighborhood Planter Kiosk project.

Credit: Getty Images collaged by OSU Extension

Beyond Flowers 

While flowering plants provide pollinators with food, insects also require shelter for nesting and overwintering. Most bees and wasps create nests in the soil or within dead plant stems or in cavities in wood. Many butterflies, wasps, moths, and lady beetles seek shelter in leaf litter and brush piles. Here are 3 things you can do to provide nesting & winter habitat. 

Save the Stems 

  • Rather than cutting dead stems to the ground, leave stalks for insects 
  • Provide hollow and pithy stems from perennial flowers and shrubs 
  • Provide variety of stem heights (8 to 24 inches) and diameters 
  • Cut stems in spring and leave stems through summer, winter and at least first half of second summer.  

Leave the Leaves 

Insects, worms, beetles, spiders, and many other small creatures use leaves for winter shelter. 

  • Leave a thin layer on lawns; a thin layer won’t damage it 
  • Spread over flower and veggie beds 
  • Pile around trees & shrubs as mulch 
  • Rake or blow to move, don’t shred with mower, as that harms the critters 

Build Rock Piles and Place Logs 

  • Rock piles or rock walls (dry wall construction) provide protected crevices for critters 
  • Keep it messy and loose, with access to bare ground 
  • Logs with loose bark and beetle holes provide habitat for insects, frogs, lizards, and more 

Rotting log with holes and cracks 

Planting gardening ideas

Neighborhood Planters Kiosks help build thriving communities


A young woman and a dog check out a Neighborhood Planters Kiosk
Community members get gardening ideas from a Neighborhood Planters Kiosk.

Neighborhood Planters Kiosks (NPKs) look a bit like Little Free Libraries, but instead of sharing books, they offer seasonally relevant, research-based gardening tips. NPK is a collaboration of OSU Extension Benton County Master Gardeners, the Corvallis Evening Garden Club, the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, and the City of Corvallis Civic Beauty and Urban Forestry Group. OSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers Christina Clark and Kathleen Rochester contributed to this story. Learn more at the NPK blog.

Elizabeth Records – OSU Extension:  For someone who has never seen an NPK before, describe what it looks like and where it might be found.

Neighborhood Planter Kiosk team: NPKs (Neighborhood Planters’ Kiosks –a word play on the NPK composition of fertilizer) are bright painted wooden boxes. They are mounted on posts in volunteers’ yards where they can be seen from the street. They can be found in parks, community gardens, and front yards all over Corvallis.

ER: Who is the intended audience for NPKs?

NPK: Our intended audience is anyone who is interested in or might become interested in gardening, sustainable living, and enjoying our outdoor spaces.

ER: What are some sources of inspiration for this project?

NPK: We’d like to build community and share the love of gardening. We’re continuing to try to reach a greater audience with research-based information. Some of the misinformation out there  can lead to discouragement, wasted time and money, or negative effects on our environment.

Gardening is such a fun, healthy, vital part of our lives that we’d like to encourage others to also benefit. We also believe that growing our own food is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves, our loved ones, and our planet. Sustainability is never more fun than when we learn to grow something for ourselves!

ER: How do NPKs help fulfill the mission of OSU Extension Service?

NPK: We plant gardening ideas to help build thriving communities! While OSU Extension supports a variety of programs, we focus on gardening education and related community events. Much of the information we share starts with tips from OSU Extension’s monthly gardening calendar. Then our writers add photos and resources to engage our readers. Links on our blog connect them with additional Extension articles that help them get more in depth.

We provide another way to link Extension and all its expertise and knowledge with anyone on the street or in front of a computer. We hope to engage people that may not know how much free, but valuable research-based information could be at their fingertips.

ER: Is there a story that stands out to you about someone interacting with NPK kiosks or blog posts?

NPK: We’ve had views from all over the world. We had one email come in from Victoria in Omaha, Nebraska. She was part of a group trying to start a similar program in their neighborhood; trying to find funding and figure out how to build the kiosks. It was great fun to share our enthusiasm and many building tips and photos.

Have you visited a Neighborhood Planter Kiosk for garden information or inspiration? Share your story with elizabeth.records(at) and we’ll post it in future updates. Check out the NPK blog anytime.