2021 Update: No Swaps, but Seeds Available

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The sad news is that we won’t be holding any seed swaps this year due to the coronavirus. That is probably not a surprise to most of you.

The happy news is that seeds are available in two of our locations, and more locations may reopen in the near future.

Borrow Seeds in NE, NW Seattle

Two KCSLL branches are resuming seed sharing in their respective locations. Both the NE Seattle branch and the NW Seattle branch are located in their community tool libraries, which are now reopened with limited hours.

— The NE Seattle branch is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 5-8 pm and Saturday 9 am-noon.

— The NW Seattle branch is open Saturdays 9 am-1 pm. 

— Both branches are limiting the number of simultaneous visitors and requiring coronavirus precautions such as wearing a mask and observing a 6-foot social distancing rule.

Due to limited display space, the NW Seattle branch is only offering seeds of crops that can be sown now. Seeds of warm-weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash will be made available in early spring.

Donate Seeds

Seeds can also be donated at these two locations, but please observe these guidelines: pre-clean any homegrown seed, put it in a compact package, and label it with the crop, variety name, and year saved. Partial seed packets may be donated as well; please tape them shut.

Thanks to Territorial Seed Company for sending this lovely donation last fall. Look for their colorful packets of 2019 seed in our offerings this year.

Please continue to watch this blog and our Facebook page for updates on seed availability at other locations or expanded hours. Current location hours and a link to spreadsheets of available seeds at these two branches are available on our Locations page.

NE Seattle Branch to Take Virtual Orders

NOTE: This post is from 2020; seed orders are not being filled in this manner in 2021.

The Northeast Seattle branch of the seed library will now begin taking orders to be filled virtually. Recipients will pick up orders in the Ravenna neighborhood.

Visit the Seed Library page on the NE Seattle Tool Library’s website to learn more about this branch.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Browse the current NE Seattle branch seed inventory list
  • Take note of the crop and common name of each seed you would like.
  • Please limit your order to 10 items.
  • Send an email with your list and name to susanjoel@earthlink.net. Please write “Seed Order” in the email subject line.
  • We will package and label your seeds (small quantities only, regardless of our “KCSLL Supply” designation).
  • If we run out of an item, we might substitute another variety of the same crop.
  • We will respond with an email telling you where you can pick up your seeds.

Seed orders will be taken to our pickup location twice a week. Each order will be packaged with the recipient’s name on the bag. We suggest you take the same precautions when handling the package as you would at a grocery store. To be extra-safe, use gloves when taking the seed order home, then let it sit for 72 hours before opening it. We also ask that recipients practice proper social distancing if another recipient is at the pickup location.

Unfortunately, we are unable to take seed donations at this time. Please (safely) share with your neighbors and friends! Hopefully, we will be able to reopen our physical branches and resume regular activity later this spring.

Next Swap Set For Saturday March 30

If you missed our first seed swaps, don’t worry! Just head over to northeast Seattle on Saturday, March 30 for “Hands On! A Community Skills Share-Fair.” We’ll be there with the seeds from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The free Skills Fair is presented by Sustainable Northeast Seattle, NE Seattle Tool Library and Meadowbrook Community Center and is being held at the center, 10517 35th Ave NE, Seattle. It offers an amazing array of DIY tips and skill-building workshops running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Paige with shoppers

Gardening tips abound. Learn to build productive soil, hammer together a worm bin, grow micro-greens, propagate houseplants or succulents, cultivate mushrooms, keep Mason bees, identify weeds and cultivate a compost bin. Whew! Better bring a notebook.

But that’s not all – far from it. Imagine yourself learning emergency toilet repair or “stop the bleed” techniques. If you know those things, how about simple bike repair, binding a book, or the basics of electrical wiring, pipe soldering and drywall repair.

As if that isn’t enough, there will be a lunch speaker talking about the Beacon Food Forest and buffet taco bar.

Sounds like an amazing day. But you had us at “Seed Swap!”

Sharing Tiny Treasures for This Year’s Edible Garden

Shaking their future vegetable garden out of glass jars laid out under headings like “Brassicas” and “Roots,” gardeners palmed new varieties and puzzled over plants they hadn’t yet tried. Handfuls of treasures were shared in the first Seed Swap of 2019 held by the King County Seed Lending Library on Saturday, Feb. 2. More than 100 people attended.

Seed Swap 2019 1

Many brought seeds and traded knowledge. Non-profit groups , including Tilth Alliance, P-Patch and the Seattle Tree Fruit Society, shared information at tables and in workshops.

KUOW’s reporter Ruby de Luna stopped by and recorded some interviews with coordinator Bill Thorness and some attendees for a very nice piece that aired on the public radio station on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Read and listen to it here.

Here are a few more images of the event:

Seed Swap 2019 5
Seed Swap 2019 4
Seed Swap 2019 3
Seed Swap 2019 2

Share, Learn, Grow at Our Seed Swaps

Sprout some new ideas for your edible garden in January! Come to the annual Seed Swaps presented by our King County Seed Lending Library branches.

Along with seeds of favorite vegetables, you will find enthusiastic fellow gardeners to share their best varieties. Many attendees at last year’s swap brought their own seeds.

Seed Swaps will be Saturday, Feb. 2 in Northwest Seattle and Snoqualmie Valley, and Saturday, Feb. 9 in Northeast Seattle and Feb. 24 in West Seattle. (See details on our Events page.)

shoppers 2017 swap

At the swap, stick around to learn about both ends of the gardening year. There will be short workshops on seed starting and seed saving. If you save your own, you can make a deposit to the library’s seed bank at next year’s swap.

Bring your edible garden seed to share. It can be commercial or home-grown seed, but please follow these guidelines:

  • Share only seeds of edible plants that your fellow gardeners would grow from seed, such as annual vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.
  • If donating packaged seed, it should be organic or open-pollinated or heirloom.
  • If donating home-saved seed, please clean it off the stems or stalks and bring only the seed.
  • You can clean your seed at the swap. We will have screens and buckets available.
  • All shared seed should be fresh, within three years of purchase or saving.
  • Please label all donations with seed type, variety if known, and year it was grown/saved.

The Seed Swaps are free and open to all; bringing seed is not required.

The King County Seed Lending Library has five locations around the county, all operated by volunteers and supported solely by donations.

Seed donation