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.

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 Seeds, Plan Your Garden at the Seed Swaps

more shoppers 2017 swap

There will be plenty of beans and brassicas at the upcoming Seed Swap in Northwest Seattle. The King County Seed Lending Library also has seeds for salad greens and herbs and over 30 other vegetables.

But perhaps the most interesting edibles will be what’s not yet there. Gardeners seem to jump on the seeds brought in by their fellow seed-savers – so be sure to bring yours!

The KCSLL’s annual seed exchange for Northwest Seattle is coming Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Phinney Center. The Snoqualmie Valley Seed Exchange is also set for Feb. 2 in Duvall, and swaps are planned for Northeast Seattle on Feb. 9 and West Seattle on Feb. 24. Details.

Learn while sharing seeds

At the Northwest Seattle swap, Tilth Alliance, P-Patch, Sustainable Ballard, Seattle Tree Fruit Society and the PNA Tool Lending Library will all have folks and information there. Short workshops will talk about seed saving and seed starting.

Attendees are urged to bring seeds to share, but it is not required. The swaps are free and open to all.

How to participate:

  • 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, plant types that will produce seed true to the stated variety. Heirlooms are by definition open-pollinated.
  • If donating home-saved seed, please winnow and clean it off the stems or stalks as much as possible and bring only the seed.
  • If you can’t clean it in advance, plan to spend some time cleaning it the swap. Some swaps will have screens and buckets available.
  • All shared seed should be fresh, within three years of purchase or saving.
  • Label all seed donations with seed type, variety if known, and year it was grown/saved.
  • Bring envelopes and a pen to store and label your new seeds.

About the KCSLL

The King County Seed Lending Library (www.kingcoseed.org) operates four branches around Seattle and one in the Snoqualmie Valley. Each take seed donations and offer small quantities of seeds year round to local gardeners.