Want to help out? Share seeds at a farmers market, tend the shelves at one of our branches, build or tend a garden--there is plenty to do! And as we know, many hands make the work easy.

Below is a list by region of our current needs. To volunteer, email us at

NW Seattle:

Farmers Market tabling—

At the PNA, we will be bringing the seeds out once a month this summer at the Farmers Market, which is in the parking lot at the Phinney Center on Fridays, 4-7 p.m. We’d like to have two volunteers staff the table each time.

Dates: June 10,  July 15, Aug. 12 and Sept. 30 (Seed Homecoming)

(The last one will be special, as we hope that people who grew our seeds this summer will harvest, save and bring some back to the library.)

Greenwood Garage Sale/Plant Swap tabling—

This Saturday, May 21, there will be a plant swap as part of the Greenwood Garage Sale day. It also will be held in the PNA’s parking lot, and a volunteer or two could bring out the seeds for sharing. The event is 9-2, and the tabling could be done for any part of that time. As of today, no volunteers committed to that.

Build a Seed Garden—

This year we are building a terraced raised-bed garden at the PNA to grow out plants as a seed-saving demonstration and awareness-building effort. We’ll be using old timbers on site and constructing three small, connected raised beds next to the walkway between the PNA’s parking lots. Work dates are not yet scheduled, but if you like to build, let me know and I’ll include you on that project.


NE Seattle:

Tend the Food Bank Garden—

A food bank garden has been started at the Northeast Seattle Tool Library, which is also the home of the NE Seattle branch of the seed library. Seed library folks are helping plant, tend and harvest the crops.


SE Seattle:

Tend the Library Shelves—

The SE Seattle branch of the seed lending library is currently at the Columbia City Collaboratory, and we are looking for a volunteer or two in that part of the city to stop in occasionally and tend the seed shelves: make sure the seeds are organized and labeled, stock the supplies of envelopes and donation sheets, and process any seed donations. We are also talking with the Seattle Farm Co-op about possibly moving the library to the Co-op, so a volunteer could be part of that effort as well. Tending the shelves doesn’t take much time: an hour or so twice a month would be fine.


Overall needs:

The KCSLL and all its branches will benefit from ongoing administrative projects, such as:

  • Make a list of seed farms or other locations that may be of interest for seed library group field trips
  • Draft letters to organizations asking for donations of seeds
  • Research requirements for grants and coordinate with us to get necessary documentation to apply for grants
  • Help with updating the website, electronic file sharing, and other technology tasks
  • Help keep each branch supplied with envelopes, flyers and signage


Head to Renton for the annual seed and plant swap this Saturday, April 2, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will be held at the Renton Community Center, 1715 Southeast Maple Valley Highway, Renton, Wash., 98057 (map).

Bring your extra seeds and starts, listen to some brief workshop lectures, visit our vendor tables and leave with enough seeds to plant your garden this year.

Bill Thorness, coordinator of the King County Seed Lending Library's NW Seattle branch and gardening author, will speak on the basics of seed saving at 9:15 a.m. He will have KCSLL seeds to share, and also have his books, Cool Season Gardener and Edible Heirlooms, available for purchase.

The free event is sponsored by the City of Renton and hosted by Sustainable Renton.


We are excited to announce a new location of the King County Seed Library in West Seattle!  The Healing Tree will be hosting our West Seattle branch with the Grand Opening scheduled March 13th from 2-4pm.

Healing Tree

Please join us as we celebrate this new branch open to the community!  Normal hours will be Monday-Wednesday 4-7pm.  No membership required, free to the community.  Stop by to check some seeds out or to donate!

Want to help us get the word out?  Click here for our WS Grand Opening Flyer.

Further questions?  Please contact the organizers of the West Seattle branch:

Krista Staudacher

Katie Stemp



From Danvers carrot to Dwarf Sunspot sunflower to Nero de Toscano kale, seed was brought and seed was taken. Edible seeds were shaken into envelopes and carefully labeled by attendees at the third annual Great Seattle Seed Swap was held at the KCSLL's Northwest Seattle location on Saturday, Jan. 30.

NW Seattle Seed Swap 2016

We distributed vegetable, herb and edible flower seed to approximately 60 gardeners and grew the seed bank by a number of varieties that were brought by attendees. We also raised a small amount of funds for seed library supplies, like envelopes and signage, through a raffle of donated items.

Thank you to organizations sponsoring the event:

  • Phinney Neighborhood Association, who hosts the seed library, donated use of the community hall and a one-year PNA membership to be awarded in our small raffle.
  • Organic Seed Alliance, who donated a copy of their recent book The Seed Garden, as well as a supply of two seeds, their recent localized hybrid Abundant Bloomsdale spinach, and phacelia tanacetifolia, an excellent flowering cover crop that attracts pollinators.
  • Sustainable Ballard, who helped get the word out and hosted an information table at the event.
  • Speakers Bill Thorness (Cool Season Gardener) and Caitlin Moore (Root and Radicle Seed Co.), who donated their time to talk about seed saving. Each also donated a copy of their books to use in the raffle.

Most importantly, thank you to all who attended!

Paige with kale seeds

Please save seeds of some of the varieties you picked up at the swap and donate fresh seed this fall at our Seed Homecoming event at harvest time.

And if you couldn't make this swap but want to attend one, check out our earlier blog post with dates/locations of more regional swaps.



Join us for three short workshops at the Great Seattle Seed Swap coming to Northwest Seattle on Saturday, Jan. 30, 1:30-4 p.m. Also find out more about associated programs and ways you can help the King County Seed Lending Library.


  • 2:30 p.m. -- Basics of Seed Saving and Storage, Bill Thorness, author of Cool Season Gardener and Edible Heirlooms.
  • 3:00 p.m. -- Plant Are Parents Too: The Botany of Pollination and Seed Formation, Caitlin Moore, owner, Root & Radicle Seed Co.
  • 3:30 p.m. -- Basic Garden Planning for Small Spaces, Katie Stemp, Founder, Seattle Farm School

    Caitlin Moore
    Caitlin Moore giving a seed talk at Interbay P-Patch in 2014.

More fun:

  • Support the Seed Lending Library in the raffle of great garden-related items. Funds are being raised for a new seed-garden test plot on the grounds of the PNA.
  • Browse the Seed Lending Library's growing shelf of books and catalogs.
  • Visit with representatives of Sustainable Ballard, Root & Radicle Seed Co., the Seattle Farm School and others.
  • Chat with author Bill Thorness about growing food year-round. His books will be available for purchase and signing.
  • Learn about the PNA's Home Design & Remodel Fair, which will be held on Jan. 31, and other PNA events.
  • Take a tour of the Well Home Program's Tool Lending Library.
  • Learn how you can help the Seed Lending Library in other fun events and activities throughout the year.

More seed swaps:

Don't forget, if you can't join us for this one, there are more swaps coming up in the next few weeks!


Share your edible garden and get inspired to try a new vegetable variety at the Great Seattle Seed Swap, sponsored by the King County Seed Lending Library.2015 seed swap

This year the event is being held in three locations, and in cooperation with a swap in the Snoqualmie Valley and another in Bellingham.

The 3rd annual Seed Swap in Northwest Seattle will be Saturday, Jan. 30, which is National Seed Swap Day. Bellingham's 8th annual heirloom seed swap is the next day, Jan. 31. The Northeast Seattle swap and Snoqualmie Valley’s 6th annual seed exchange will both be held on Saturday, Feb. 6, and the 2nd annual West Seattle swap is set for Sunday, Feb. 21.

Details of each swap:

Northwest Seattle: Sat., Jan. 30, 1:30-4 p.m., Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., in the Community Hall of the Brick Building.

Bellingham: Sun., Jan. 31, 3-4:30 p.m., Majestic Ballroom, 1027 N. Forest St., Bellingham. Facebook event page:

Northeast Seattle: Sat., Feb. 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Meadowbrook Community Center, NE 105th and 35th Ave/ NE.

Snoqualmie Valley: Sat., Feb. 6, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Cedarcrest High School, 29000 NE 150th St., Duvall.

West Seattle: Sunday, Feb. 21, 2-3:30 p.m., Seattle Public Library, West Seattle Branch, 2306 42nd Ave. SW.

How to participate:

  • Please bring seeds if you have them. They can be homegrown or store-bought — even partially used packets. They should be recent, 3 years old or less. No hybrids or GMO seeds.
  • If you will be bringing seeds to swap, please arrive at the beginning of the event to set out your seeds.
  • Make a display card for your seeds stating the variety, year saved, and brief notes about growing the plant.
  • It is not necessary to bring seeds to participate.
  • Seeds will be organized by type of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.
  • Attendees will be asked to limit the seeds they take so all may share in the supply.
  • You may donate your extra seeds to the seed lending library, which will have them available throughout the year.

2015 swap participantWorkshops will offer further education on saving and cleaning seeds. Non-profit greening groups will be on hand.

Come find some seeds, meet some great organizations making a difference in your community and learn new skills!


Veteran environmental reporter Martha Baskin digs into seed libraries and interviews King County Seed Lending Library leaders Bill Thorness and Caitlin Moore in an article and radio piece for Green Acres Radio and

In "Saving Seeds: It's about a lot more than tradition," she delves into genetic diversity, GMOs, and mentions the excellent Washington State biologist Thor Hanson's new book "The Triumph of Seeds" and our friends at Organic Seed Alliance. Check out this great read, and send it on to a friend.



Join us for National Seed Swap Day, Saturday January 31st from 1-4 pm at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, and enjoy swapping seeds and three fun-filled workshops with Lisa Taylor, Caitlin Moore, and Bill Thorness.

From 1:30-2:00 
Chive on Families are invited to join author and garden educator Lisa Taylor in a lively, hands-on session about chives. Chives are more than just a garnish for baked potatoes. This hardy perennial can grow just about anywhere with very little care and saving chive seeds is a snap. Chives are a powerful medicinal plant that aid digestion and give a boost to the immune system. Participants can plants seeds in paper pots or save seeds to plant later.

Lisa Headshot
Lisa Taylor

From 2:15-2:45
Down and Dirty Seed Saving Skills
Seed saving can be intimidating at times, but this workshop will cover the three most important aspects of seed saving so you can get started this year! If you've ever wanted to save seeds from your garden plants, learn what you need to know from seed saving guru Caitlin Moore.

Caitlin Moore KingnCo Seed Library
Caitlin Moore

From 3:00-3:30
Preserve Our Heritage: Save Heirloom Seeds
Passed down through generations or carried as precious cargo by immigrants, seeds from heirloom vegetables carry our stories as well as our food. Hear some of those origin tales, discover where beloved Northwest heirlooms came from, and learn why it’s important to preserve our vegetable heritage.

Bill with Seeds
Bill Thorness


Mark your calendars, it's almost here! Come celebrate with us and bring your seeds to the second annual King County Seed Lending Library Seed Swap. This year we are graciously hosted by the Phinney Neighborhood Center located at 6532 Phinney Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98103.

The event will be held from 1-4 pm on Saturday, January 31st, 2015. Bring your seeds and your notebooks too, because we will be offering workshops on seed saving and cleaning, and will have a very special guest giving a talk!

If you don't have seeds to share, you are welcome to come to learn and to get a few seeds- just please be mindful of how much you take- we expect a couple hundred people and want everyone to be able to get some seeds!

This event will also mark the opening of our fourth seed library branch, right there at the Phinney Tool Lending Library. If you are part of the neighborhood, this is an excited new resource for you!

Any questions about the event can be directed to Caitlin at

Special shout out to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and High Mowing Organic Seeds for their kind donations! We love you guys!



Join the King County Seed Lending Library (KCSL) for its First Annual National Seed Swap Day on Saturday, January 25, 2014. The adventure begins at 1:30 p.m. with a seed-saving workshop by seed-saving guru and KCSL director Caitlin Moore. After the workshop, beginning about 3:00 p.m., KCSL will be offering free seeds to the community. Participants are encouraged to bring their own seeds to contribute to the swap, which will help protect the genetic diversity and overall health of our local seed stores.

Seeds previously swapped from the Olympia Seed Exchange
Seeds previously swapped from the Olympia Seed Exchange

A Seed Swap brings gardeners of all skill levels together to exchange seeds, resources, ideas, and experiences. Participating gardeners often share excess seeds they don’t plan to use, and seeds from their most successful yields. Many of the seeds that are “swapped” are also specific to plants that are appropriate to grow in this region and climate. By using seeds from previous bountiful yields, future harvests can turn out to be overwhelmingly successful.

The event will be at the Good Shepherd Center, Room 202, at 4649 Sunnyside Avenue North in Seattle. The event is free and open to the public, and you don’t have to bring your own seeds to participate.