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. 

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. 

Borrow  -> Grow  -> Harvest 

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!


  • Each family can choose up to 6 packets of seeds per growing season
  • Choose your seeds and email Sarah at [email protected] by noon on Wednesdays. Seeds will be left (outside) with your last name on them on Thursdays, pick up any time after 10am. All seed selections will be in a disinfected plastic bag and taped to the door with removable tape. Please only touch or take your own. If your selection is not available, Sarah will email you back so you can choose another packet. 


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.

Available Seeds

(updated July 1st, 10:10am)


Anise Hyssop (7 remaining) Baptista (OUT OF STOCK) Bells of Ireland (4 remaining) Blackberry Lily (8 remaining)
Black Eyed Susan Vine (5 remaining) Calendula (OUT OF STOCK) Cleome (5 remaining) Columbine (OUT OF STOCK)
Cosmos (12 remaining) Daisy – Late Summer/Early Fall (7 remaining) Gaillardia – punch bowl hybrid (8 remaining) *2nd color available, see below* Gloriosa Daisy – Double Gold (UNAVAILABLE)
Hollyhock – Chater’s Pink – Biennial (3 remaining) Hyacinth Bean (OUT OF STOCK) Liatris (6 remaining) Lychnis (OUT OF STOCK)
Marigold (3 remaining) Mexican Sunflower (6 remaining) Nasturtium (8 remaining)

Petunia (OUT OF STOCK)

Purple Coneflower – Pow Wow Wild Berry (2 remaining) Sweet Pea (OUT OF STOCK) Tartarian Aster (OUT OF STOCK) Gillenia Trifoliata (2 remaining)
Rose Campion (OUT OF STOCK) Yellow Wax Bells (OUT OF STOCK) Blanket Flower (4 remaining) Gloriosa Daisy (7 remaining)



Arugula (RE-ORDERED) Bean – Scarlet Runner (OUT OF STOCK) Bean – Kentucky Wonder Bush (OUT OF STOCK) Bean – Stringless Green Pod (OUT OF STOCK)
Bean – Sultan’s Green Crescent (OUT OF STOCK) Bean – Royal Burgundy Bush Type (OUT OF STOCK) Beet – Chioggia (OUT OF STOCK) Beet – Bull’s Blood (OUT OF STOCK)
Detroit Dark Red Beet (30 available) Broccoli – Gypsy Hybrid (6 remaining) Broccoli – Calabrese (OUT OF STOCK) Broccoli – Romanesco (OUT OF STOCK)
Brussels Sprouts (OUT OF STOCK) Cabbage – Red Kalibos (OUT OF STOCK) Cabbage – Late Flat Dutch (OUT OF STOCK) Carrot – Danvers (OUT OF STOCK)
Carrot – Purple Dragon (OUT OF STOCK) Carrot – St. Valery (OUT OF STOCK) Caultiflower (OUT OF STOCK) Collards (OUT OF STOCK)
Corn – Tom Thumb (2 remaining) Corn – Golden Bantom (OUT OF STOCK) Corn – Country Gentleman (3 remaining) Corn – Black Aztec (3 remaining)
Corn – Oxican Green Dent (3 remaining) Corn – Two Inch Strawberry (2 remaining) Corn – Butter and Sugar Bicolor (OUT OF STOCK) Corn – Picasso Hybrid (19 remaining)
Cucumber – Mexican Sour Gherkin (OUT OF STOCK) Cucumber – Sugar Crunch Hybrid (OUT OF STOCK) Cucumber – Spacemaster Dwarf Bush (OUT OF STOCK) Eggplant – Round Mauve (OUT OF STOCK)
Endive (2 remaining) Kale – Lacinato (17 remaining) Kale – Heirloom Red Russian (OUT OF STOCK) Kohlrabi – White Vienna (1 remaining)
Kohlrabi – Purple Vienna (3 remaining) Lettuce – Gold Rush (OUT OF STOCK) Lettuce – Green Oak Leaf (OUT OF STOCK) Lettuce – Black Seeded Simpson (OUT OF STOCK)
Lettuce – Loose Leaf Blend (14 remaining) Lima Bean – Henderson Bush (OUT OF STOCK) Onion – Blush Hybrid (8 remaining) Onion – Long Red Florence (1 remaining)
Pea – Swenson Swedish (OUT OF STOCK) Pepper (Sweet) – Miniature Chocolate Bell (OUT OF STOCK) Pepper (Sweet) – California Wonder (OUT OF STOCK) Pepper (Sweet) – Great stuff Hybrid (OUT OF STOCK)
Pepper (Hot) – Fish (OUT OF STOCK) Pepper (Hot) – Anaheim Chili (OUT OF STOCK) Pepper (Hot) – Red Hot (OUT OF STOCK) Radish – Watermelon (OUT OF STOCK)
Radish – French Breakfast (OUT OF STOCK) Radish – Philadelphia White Box (OUT OF STOCK) Rutabaga – Macomber (2 remaining) Squash (Summer) – Zucchini (2 remaining)
Squash (Summer) – Summer Crookneck (OUT OF STOCK) Squash (Winter) – Turk’s Turban (1 remaining) Squash (Winter) – Ronde de Nice (2 remaining) Squash (Winter) – Acorn (OUT OF STOCK)
Squash (Winter) – Spaghetti (OUT OF STOCK) Squash (Winter) – Boston Marrow (2 remaining) Swiss Chard – Five Color Beet (OUT OF STOCK) Swiss Chard – Rainbow of Lights (OUT OF STOCK)
Swiss Chard – Ruby Red (9 remaining) Turnip – Purple Top White Globe (4 remaining) Scallions (15 remaining) Sugar Snap Peas (10 remaining)



Anise (1 remaining) Basil (7 remaining) Black Cumin (OUT OF STOCK) Bronze Fennel (2 remaining)
Fennel (OUT OF STOCK) Dill (OUT OF STOCK) Chives (23 remaining) Lemon Mint (OUT OF STOCK)
Lovage (4 remaining) Parsley (OUT OF STOCK) Rue (3 remaining) Summer Savory (OUT OF STOCK)
Sweet Mace (2 remaining) Perennial Fennel – no bulb (11 remaining)    


Native Plants

Bee Balm (UNAVAILABLE) Black-eyed Susan (OUT OF STOCK) Butterfly Weed (7 remaining) Blue Wood Aster (OUT OF STOCK)
Common Milkweed (4 remaining) Green Headed Coneflower (1 remaining) Hollow Joe Pye Weed (4 remaining) Mountain Mint (2 remaining)
New York Ironweed (8 remaining) Showy Goldenrod (4 remaining) Swamp Milkweed (9 remaining) Switch Grass (OUT OF STOCK)
White Wood Aster (1 remaining)      



Ground Cherry – Aunt Molly (1 remaining) Melon – Amish (OUT OF STOCK) Sunberry (3 remaining) Tomatillo – Purple (OUT OF STOCK)
Watermelon – Picnic (OUT OF STOCK) Tomato – Yellow Pear (OUT OF STOCK) Tomato – Amish Paste (1 remaining) Tomato – Brandywine (OUT OF STOCK)
Tomato – Dr. Wyche’s Yellow (OUT OF STOCK) Tomato – Federle (1 remaining) Tomato – Martino’s Roma (OUT OF STOCK) Tomato – Silvery Fir Tree (OUT OF STOCK)



Gourd (1 remaining)      

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