Look, plants can be expensive. Even if you’re filling up a small yard or a few containers, biodiversity can take a toll on your wallet. That’s one of the many reasons seed libraries are so great! What is a seed library, exactly? If you’ve never been to one and you’re looking to become a master gardener, grab your library card and read on.
What is a Seed Library?
A seed library is “a place where community members can get seeds for free or for a nominal fee and is run for the public benefit,” according to the Seed Libraries Weebly. Library locations tend to be in public libraries, community centers, or community gardens. Card holders can use this seed savers exchange to snag seeds on the cheap.
Basically how the seed library works is, you’ll get packets of seeds to “borrow” for the season to grow different plant varieties — they could be flower seeds, vegetable seeds, you name it. Then, at the end of the growing season, you’re encouraged to return seeds from seed collection in your own garden and bring them to your library to replenish stock.
These great resources connect gardeners to each other in their local community, and help to preserve “rare, open-pollinated or heirloom seeds” as well as “encourage gardeners to save quality seeds that are suitable for your local growing area,” according to Gardening Know How. Gardening books can also help you identify pollinators or heirloom varieties perfect for your seed library.
Are They Free?
You can often get seeds for free at your local seed lending library, although seed donations may also come with a small membership price to help with all that seed saving and other expenses.
No matter if they’re truly free or come at a small price, you can be fairly sure when you pick up seeds from a library that they are non-GMO, or organic seeds, and the seed varieties you’re looking for, unlike sketchy online listings where you can’t be truly sure of what you’re ordering.
If there isn’t a seed library in your area, why not start one? With the help of some local gardeners and a local community building or library, you can get one off the ground in no time and help your neighbors get to growing their own food and creating beautiful gardens you can all enjoy.