SERVICES › HEIRLOOM SEED LIBRARY
Choose from a variety of vegetable, herb and flower heirloom seeds to borrow with your Springfield-Greene County Library card. Plant them at home or in your community garden, enjoy the harvest, save the seeds and return them to the seed library to share with others.
Welcome to the world of sharing and saving seeds with the Library!
What is a seed library?
A seed library is a collection of seeds that you can borrow to plant and grow your own food, herbs and flowers at home. After your plants mature and “go to seed,” you save the seeds and return them to the library so they can be shared with others.
What kind of seeds are available?
These are “open-pollinated,” heirloom seeds. They have been pollinated by natural means such as insects, birds or wind; not manipulated to become hybrid varieties. And, like your family heirlooms, they have been saved after the harvest and passed along to other gardeners. Visit thelibrary.org/seedcatalog to see all the varieties available in the Heirloom Seed Library.
Why is seed saving important?
Today’s gardeners are returning to the seed-saving tradition, when harvesting and protecting the previous year’s seeds was essential to providing the next crop. Seed saving creates a seed stock well-suited to the Ozarks climate, the plants are more pest-resistant, and growers save money on their seeds and plants. Seed saving helps create a culture of sharing and community, too!
How do I check out seeds?
Use your library card to check out up to four packets of seeds just as you check out books and other materials. Plant your seeds and enjoy your harvest. When the season ends and the plants “go to seed,” save some for yourself and return the rest for the Heirloom Seed Library collection.
Do I have to return seeds?
We encourage donations back to the Heirloom Seed Library, but you are under no obligation to save and return seeds. We want you to learn the basics of gardening and seed saving, first.
What’s the difference between beginner and advanced seed-saving?
Some seed varieties are easier to save than others. Please try to match the seed-saving difficulty with your gardening skills and time.
Beginner: These easy varieties are great for beginning seed savers. They produce seed the same season as planted and are mostly self-pollinating. Seeds include beans, lettuce, peas, pepper and tomato.
Intermediate: These varieties produce seed the season they are planted but require separation to keep unwanted cross-pollination from taking place. These include corn, cucumber, melons, radish, spinach and squash/pumpkin.
Advanced: These are better suited for more expert seed savers. They may or may not produce seed the season they are planted, and require special precautions such as hand pollination and tenting to ensure purity. Varieties include beets, carrot, dill, mustard greens, onion and sunflowers.
How do I share my seeds?
We will provide seed donation envelopes and labels for the seeds you save from your harvest so you can drop them off at the Heirloom Seed Library. Here are harvesting and seed saving instructions for the varieties available in the Heirloom Seed Library. If you already save seeds, consider contributing them to the seed library.
Donating seeds or funds to the Library
We invite you to donate these recommended seeds to the Heirloom Seed Library.
We will happily accept any seeds not included on this list and share them at upcoming seed swap events!
To make a monetary donation to the Heirloom Seed Library, contact The Library Foundation at 883-5366 or email email@example.com.
Need help with your garden or seed saving? Here are some resources:
See how to plant all the seeds in the Heirloom Seed Library by going to thelibrary.org/seedcatalog.
- Library assistance: contact GinaMarie at 417-616-0508.
- Master Gardeners: http://mggreene.org/
- Botanical Center: http://www.parkboard.org/789/Springfield-Botanical-Gardens
- Share the Seed: https://shareseed.wordpress.com/
- Seed Savers: http://www.seedsavers.org/
- International Seed Saving Institute: www.seedsave.org
- Seed Saving Handbook: www.howtosaveseeds.com
- YouTube is a great resource with tons of videos for specific varieties of seeds.
- The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds: 322 Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers, Fruits, Trees, and Shrubs by Robert Gough
- The Manual of Seed Saving: Harvesting, Storing, and Sowing Techniques for Vegetables, Herbs, and Fruits by Andrea Heistinger
- Seed to Seed Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth
- Seedswap: The Gardener’s Guide to Saving and Swapping by Josie Jeffery
The seeds in the Heirloom Seed Library and related programs have been generously donated by these local and national seed companies: