What is a seed lending library?
The Seed Library is a self-perpetuating collection of seeds donated and shared by members of our community. Hosted at the Vancouver, Washougal and White Salmon Valley locations, seeds are available free of charge to any district library patron. (You don't need a library card to use the seed library, but we'll be happy to make one for you.)
The idea is simple: you borrow from a selection of vegetable and flower seeds at any time during the year, plant them in your garden, and watch them grow. When it’s time to harvest, let a plant or two go to seed, and bring some of the seeds back to the library for other gardeners to enjoy.
- Check out up to three seed packets from Vancouver (daily), three vegetable and three flower packets from Washougal or up to five packets of vegetable, flower, or herb seeds from White Salmon Valley.
- Keep varieties of seed types separated when returning seeds.
- Restock information for labeling is by the type of vegetable: such as pepper/sweet bell or pepper/habanero.
- Only heirloom seeds have the ability to adapt and produce seeds.
- Growing plants from hybrid seeds will not allow you to save seeds, and does not guarantee seeds will breed true to what was planted.
- Seeds save best when they are stored in a cool, dark, and dry place.
- For guides on saving seeds, visit Seedsavers.org, the Old Farmer’s Almanac, or WSU Hortsense, or explore the large selection of gardening guides and books in the library's catalog.
Why seed lending?
- Growing and saving seeds from locally grown plants helps cultivate varieties that do well in our region.
- It helps preserve genetic diversity of old varieties.
- We hope to cultivate a network of seed savers in the region, supporting each other and the seed library as a resource for the gardening community.
- It helps to strengthen our local food system.
- Heirloom varieties provide different flavor profiles and interesting physical features, such as colorful carrots.
How seed libraries support the community
- By donating, collecting, and packaging seeds with the help of volunteers and staff.
- By helping collect local heirloom varieties that might otherwise be lost.
- By promoting local agriculture in growing collections of seeds locally adapted to the region.
- By developing how-to classes, from planting seeds, companion planting, and saving seeds to preserving your bounty.