Seed Library

Dane County Libraries
rowing more than readers

By participating in the seed library you are helping to create a culture of sharing and community. Saving seeds leads to a sustainable future for your community and your garden. If you already save seeds, consider contributing to one of the seed library locations listed.

Borrowing seeds from the seed library is FREE! However, your contribution to your community is priceless. Gardening allows you to become more self-sufficient, eat more nutritious food, and save money. 

To participate in the seed library we ask that you not only save seeds for yourself but also for the seed library. When you return seeds to the seed library they will be cataloged and other community members can check them out. 

The greater number of seeds that are returned to the seed library the greater the number of community members who can benefit. 

  • Basiltomata
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Chard
  • Chives
  • Hot Peppers
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

How It Works
The seed library will start with these seeds because they are fun and easy to grow for beginner seed savers. These seeds tend to produce plants that are like what you planted and are self-pollinating. The seeds are generally easy to harvest and dry. 

Download the seed library brochure. Download the seed library brochure in Spanish (¡gracias Lakeview's Martin Alvarado!)

Download Planting & Seed Collecting Instructions here.

Link to Seed Labels here.

Borrowing Seeds

  1. Choose packets of seeds to checkout, take home and plant 
  2. You will receive instructions specific to your seeds on how to plant and save seeds 
  3. Check out related programs at participating libraries 
  4. Plant your seeds and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Returning Seeds

  1. Before harvesting your seeds review the specific instructions you received at checkout. 
  2. Once the seeds are collected and dried set some aside for yourself to use next year, fill out the information on the labeled envelopes, and place the seeds inside the envelope with the barcode. 
  3. Drop off your seeds at your library for others to check out! 
  4. Don’t worry if you have a crop failure, there’s no penalty for failing to return seeds. Return the barcode envelope if possible!
Funding for this program
generously provided by the
John A. Johnson Fund
and an anonymous donor through the
Madison Community Foundation.