The Seed Lending Library is a project created in collaboration with the Garden Club of Norfolk. Families are able to choose from a variety of seeds to check out, take home, grow, and perhaps harvest some seeds at the end of the growing season to return. 

Please Note: You must be a SAILS card holder in order to request seeds. 

What is a seed library?

Community members may checkout seeds for free from the Norfolk Public Library.  The idea is that you plant the seeds, let some plants “go to seed”, then return some of these next generation seeds for others to borrow. 

This program is intended to get more people interested in gardening, develop a network of seed savers, and encourage preservation of heirloom seeds and gene integrity.

Beginner Gardeners: Don’t worry about saving seeds to start!  We won’t fine you if you don’t return seeds. Focus first on having fun and learning how to garden!

 

Guidelines

  • Each household can choose up to 10 packets of seeds per growing season
  • Choose your seeds and fill out the Seed Library Request Form either digitally or in person at the library (paper forms are available on top of the seed library). You will be emailed when your seeds are ready to be picked up. Seeds will be available for pick up on the bulletin board in the small lobby for one week after your notification. Any seeds that are not picked up will be returned to the seed library and made available to others.

 

Why save seeds?

All seeds have a story.  Once a plant variety is gone, it’s gone forever. When you grow, save, and share your own seeds, you promote seed sovereignty by: 

– Increasing the genetic diversity of your own seed stock 

– Developing seeds that are more resilient and better adapted to our particular climate and soil 

– Perpetuating the knowledge and culture of seed saving

– Providing seeds to others in our community and building a better world

 

How do you harvest seeds?

First you will need to identify if your plant is an annual, biennial, or perennial.  Not all plants flower, set seed, and die in a single growing season.  Once you have harvested the seeds, there are three basic methods of saving seeds:

Dry—Saving seeds from plants like peas and beans is the easiest.  You simply open the dry pea or bean pod and scoop out the seeds.  Seeds from flowering stalks are also easy to save.

Wet— With seeds that are wet (cucumbers, melons, peppers, and   squashes), you can scoop out the seeds and rinse them under running water until they are clean.  Dry them on a paper towel, a paper plate, or a coffee filter.

Fermentation— Removes the germination-inhibiting substance on the seed coat.  During  fermentation, bad seeds generally float to the surface of the water, good, viable seeds sink to the bottom.  Example:  when  saving tomato seeds, you will need to use the fermentation process.

 

Looking for more information?

The Seed Garden: The Art and Practice of Seed Saving, by Lee Buttala and Shanyn Siegel, Seed Savers Exchange, 2015.  

Seed to Seed, by Suzanne Ashworth, Seed Savers Exchange, 2002. 

Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, by Carol Deppe, Chelsea Green, 2000. 

The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer’s Guide to Vegetable Seed Production, by John Navazio, Chelsea Green, 2012. 

Organic Seed Production and Saving: The Wisdom of Plant Heritage, by Brian Connolly, Chelsea Green, 2011. 

Garden Seed Inventory, Seed Savers Exchange, 2005. 

The New Seed Starters’ Handbook, by Nancy Bubel, Rodale Books, 1988.

www.seedsavers.org

howtosaveseeds.com

www.seedalliance.org

www.richmondgrowsseeds.org

Available Seeds

(updated 4/14/21)

*Name – variety (how many are in stock)

Fruit

Ground Cherry – Aunt Molly (out of stock)

Melon – Prescott Fond Blanc (4)

Melon – Minnesota Midget (2)

Sunberry (5)

Watermelon – Mountain Sweet Yellow (7)

Watermelon – Citron Red Seeded (6)

 

Flowers

Amish Cockscomb (3)

Anise Hyssop (15)

Bachelor’s Button (2)

Bells of Ireland (1)

Blackberry Lily (14)

Black Eyed Susan Vine (1)

Broomcorn Sorghum – mixed colors (10)

Cleome (8)

Coneflower – purple (3)

Cosmos – Bright Lights (4)

Daisy – Late, not montauk (15)

Gaillardia – blanket flower (out of stock)

Gaillardia – punch bowl (9)

Gloriosa Daisy (4)

Hollyhock – chatter’s double (1)

Hopi Red Dye Amaranth (6)

Jewels of Opar (5)

Liatris (11)

Marigold – yellow/orange (out of stock)

Mexican Sunflower (3)

Morning Glory – Clarke’s Heavenly Blue (3)

Nasturtium (1)

Painted Tongue (5)

Petunia – mixed of purple and pink (5)

Prairie Blazingstar (3)

Prairie Clover – purple (7)

Prairie Red Milkweed (3)

Rose Campion (out of stock)

Rose of Sharon (19)

Sunflower – Taiyo (16)

Sunflower – Mammoth Russian (7)

Sunflower – Rostov (11)

Tartarian Aster (out of stock)

White Cypress Vine (13)

Zinnia – Giants of California Mixed Colors (out of stock)

 

Herbs

Anise (1)

Basil – emerald towers (out of stock)

Basil – Globe (4)

Basil – Genovese (out of stock)

Black Cumin (1)

Chives (21)

Cilantro (3)

Fennel – bronze (2)

Fennel – perennial (no bulb) (11)

Gillenia Trifoliata (2)

Hyssop (9)

Lovage (4)

Lovage – Magnus (17)

Oregano – container variety (8)

Oregano – Greek (2)

Parsley – triple curled (6)

Parsley – Italian (out of stock)

Rue (3)

Sage – container variety (9)

Sweet mace (2)

Sweet marjoram (2)

Tarragon – Artemisia Redowski (4)

Thyme (2)

 

Native Plants

Butterfly Weed (14)

Common Milkweed (8)

Green Headed Coneflower (out of stock)

Hollow Joe Pye Weed (14)

Mountain Mint (1)

New York Ironweed (6)

Showy Goldenrod (2)

Swamp Milkweed (8)

Switch Grass (4)

White Wood Aster (1)

 

Non-Edible

Gourd – ten commandments (out of stock)

Gourd – apple (8)

 

Vegetables

Asian Green – Peking ta ching koo pai tsai (3)

Asian Green – prize choy (8)

Artichoke – green globe (3)

Bean – scarlet runner (4)

Bean – turkey craw (12)

Bean – Fiskeby Soybean (10)

Bean – Henderson bush lima (12)

Bean – Calypso (7)

Bean – Bush Green Bean (14)

Bean – stringless green pod (4)

Beet – Detroit Dark Red (30)

Beet – Burpee’s Golden (3)

Broccoli – Romanesco (6)

Broccoli – Calabrese (6)

Cabbage – premium late flat dutch (2)

Carrot – scarlet nantes (9)

Cauliflower – ole timey blue (out of stock)

Cauliflower – early snowball (2)

Celeriac – monstorpolgi (13)

Corn – Tom Thumb (2)

Corn – Calico popcorn (36)

Corn – Golden Bantom (1)

Corn – Country Gentleman (12)

Corn – Black Aztec (20)

Corn – Bear Paw (12)

Corn – Japonica striped maize (13)

Corn – Oxican Green Dent (3)

Corn – Two Inch Strawberry (2)

Corn – Picasso Hybrid (18)

Cucumber – Sugarcrunch (out of stock)

Cucumber – Boothbay’s blonde (3)

Cucumber – Marketmore (18)

Cucumber – Miniature white (17)

Cucumber – Spacemaster Bush-type (7)

Eggplant – diamond (1)

Endive – tres fine maraichere (1)

Hot pepper – fish, medium hot (4)

Kale – lacinato (16)

Kohlrabi – white vienna (1)

Kohlrabi – purple vienna (6)

Leaf Heading Mustard (9)

Leek – prizetaker (3)

Leek – blue solaise (2)

Lettuce – loose leaf (2)

Lettuce – Tom Thumb Baby Bibb (12)

Lettuce – lolla rossa (2)

Lettuce – red romaine (8)

Lettuce – spicy salad mix (3)

Lettuce – Gulley’s favorite (5)

Onions – scallions (13)

Onions – red wethersfield (3)

Onions – yellow of parma (3)

Onions – blush hybrid (8)

Onion – long red florence (1)

Pea – green arrow (9)

Pea – amish snap pea (8)

Pea – British wonder pea (8)

Pea – blue podded shelling (3)

Pea – Sugar snap (20)

Radish – Cincinnati Market (22)

Radish – French Breakfast (8)

Radish – plum purple (13)

Radish – Philadelphia white box (19)

Radish – rat tailed (22)

Rutabaga – macomber (10)

Salsify – mammoth sandwich island (18)

Sorghum – Mixed colors broomcorn grain (8)

Spinach – bloomsdale (33)

Squash – amish pie (18)

Squash – dostal cucumber (8)

Summer Squash – Early Summer Crookneck (6)

Sweet Pepper – king of the north (3)

Sweet Pepper – buran (9)

Sweet Pepper – chocolate beauty (3)

Swiss Chard – red magic (7)

Swiss Chard – five color silver beet (6)

Tomatillo – purple de Milpa (5)

Tomatillo – purple (3)

Tomato – Amish paste (out of stock)

Tomato – federle (out of stock)

Tomato – white cherry (2)

Tomato – white tomesol (10)

Tomato – Hartman’s yellow gooseberry (1)

Tomato – Sheboygan (4)

Tomato – stupice (3)

Tomato – large red cherry (1)

Tomato – German pink (2)

Turnip – purple top white globe (6)

Winter Squash – turk’s turban (1)

Winter Squash – rende de nice (1)

Winter Squash – Boston marrow (7)

Winter Squash – winter luxury (6)

Zucchini (3)

Zucchini – black beauty (5)

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