Seed Library

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What is a seed library? 

A local lending library for seeds. Just as a traditional Library enriches a community by sharing books and information, we want our Seed Library to play a long-term role in enriching our local community by sharing and preserving seeds.  Similar to checking out a book at the library, at our Seed Library you can “check out” the seeds that you want to plant this season in your garden. Save seed from the best plants and then return them to the library. Seed libraries promote healthy eating and the growing of local food. Together as a community we can strengthen food security and nurture a culture of sharing, learning and abundance. The bounty from your garden can be shared with family, friends, and neighbors.  Seed libraries help to maintain and preserve a diversity of heirloom plants. By saving seeds you are helping to protect and develop plant varieties that are uniquely adapted to our local climate.

 

How it works

CHOOSE YOUR SEEDS

Explore the variety of vegetable and flower seeds available at both the Atwater and Smith Library and choose the plants you want to grow. The seed collection was created with donations and with ongoing success will have a continuous variety of seed choices with different seeds available at different times. To ensure a plentiful supply for the whole community, please take only what you know you can grow in this season.

CHECK ‘EM OUT

To borrow seeds, all you need is a valid Library card from the town you live in, you do not need to be a North Branford resident. After selecting your seeds from our catalog, visit the circulation desk where a staff member will check out your prepackaged seeds and record them in our Borrower’s binder. There is a limit of 5 seed packets per visit.

PLANT & GROW

Take your seeds home, plant them according to the directions, and watch your garden grow!

HARVEST & RETURN

As the plant reaches maturity at the end of its growing season, collect the seeds and dry them out. Save some for yourself and set some aside to bring to the Library. Store them in clearly labeled envelopes or baggies Fill out a “Seed Donation Form” (available on our website or at the circulation desk) and attach it to your seeds. Fill out a form for each kind of seed you return. Bring your labeled seeds to either the Atwater or Smith Library. This will help re-stock the Seed Library for the next season.

Where do you get the seeds?

We have been fortunate to receive donations from reputable seed companies including Burpee, Baker Creek Heirloom and Seed Savers Exchange.

Seed examples

Depending on availability, here are some examples of what you might find in the Seed Library.

VEGETABLES

  • Bean
  • Beet
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli Raab
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Chard
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Pea
  • Pepper
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Tomato

HERBS

  • Basil 
  • Catnip
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary

FLOWERS

  • Amaranth
  • Bells of Ireland
  • Butterflyweed
  • Cardinal Climber
  • Cockscomb
  • Cosmos
  • Dianthus
  • Lavender
  • Marigold
  • Nasturtium
  • Red Milkweed
  • Sunflowers
  • Zinnia

Seed saving

There is no obligation to return seeds but we encourage all users of our Seed Library to learn basic seed-saving techniques so that you can return seeds. This will allow us to create a self-sustaining library! Seed saving does take a little bit of know how. If you are new to seed saving and want to give it a try, we have several resources in our collection on how to save seeds. The Community Seed Network and Seed Savers Exchange also have several resources listed on their websites.

NEW TO SEED SAVING?

Start with seeds that are easier to grow! These seeds are great for beginners and only a few plants are needed to reliably produce seeds. Most of these are self-pollinating, which means you don’t have to worry too much about isolation and cross-pollination.

  • basil
  • beans
  • beets
  • carrots
  • chard
  • eggplant
  • leeks
  • lettuce
  • onions
  • parsley
  • peas
  • peppers
  • spinach
  • sunflowers
  • tomatoes

More advanced seeds require special planning to preserve varietal purity. If certain precautions are not taken with them, then the next grower will not get the same plant. We want to ensure that the seeds you return to the library are indeed what they claim to be. So please borrow advanced seeds only after you have learned about isolating plants to prevent cross-pollination.

Other great resources

Grow and Learn! We have an expanded collection of gardening books to help guide gardeners of all skill levels throughout the growing season.

Local garden center, Natureworks, has created some very helpful handouts on seed starting basics and vegetable crop timing. Stop by the library to pick up a copy or visit their website to learn more about a variety of horticultural topics.