NE Seattle Branch to Take Virtual Orders

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.

Filling Orders Virtually

We are delighted that we’ve found a way to share seeds during this difficult time. In our first week, we have served several dozen gardeners, from a third-grader to a neighbor group. Our seed supply is getting short on some items, but we are happy to get the seeds into peoples’ gardens while it is still relatively fresh and viable. Thank you for your patience as our intrepid volunteers fit this task into their full lives. Shout out to Polly for all her help!

Here are a few images of the process at the NW Seattle branch, starting from cataloging the seeds to filling and packaging up the orders.

Cataloging seeds
Filling seed orders
Seed orders bagged and labeled

Support our Bioregional Seed Companies

With the current craze to start or revive an edible garden, seed companies have been hit hard. They need to keep their workers safe while filling mountains of orders. Some have stopped taking orders temporarily, or are only shipping to commercial farmers. Many report turnaround times of two weeks to ship an order.

Still, these small businesses deserve our support. Seeds are alive and need to be planted while fresh. So we plead with our supporters to please patronize our bioregional seed companies. Check multiple companies to see who is shipping now. Be patient. Thank them for their work.

Here is a list of seed companies. Those with an asterisk * are outside of the Washington-Oregon region. (Please let us know if we’ve missed any that you think we should include.)

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Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds https://www.rareseeds.com/

Deep Harvest Seeds www.deepharvestfarm.com

Fedco Seeds https://www.fedcoseeds.com/ *

Filaree Garlic Farm www.filareefarm.com  

Horizon Herbs www.horizonherbs.com  

Irish Eyes Garden Seeds www.irisheyesgardenseeds.com  

Johnny’s Selected Seeds https://www.johnnyseeds.com/ *

Kitazawa Seed Company (CA) www.kitazawaseed.com *

New Dimension Seed www.newdimensionseed.com  

Nichols Garden Nursery www.nicholsgardennursery.com  

Osborne Seed Company www.osborneseed.com

Peace Seeds www.peaceseedslive.blogspot.com

Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply (CA) www.groworganic.com *

Renee’s Garden Seeds https://www.reneesgarden.com/ *

Resilient Seeds https://www.resilientseeds.com/

Seed Savers Exchange (IA) www.seedsavers.org *

Seeds Trust/High Altitude Seeds (CO) www.seedstrust.com *

Seattle Seed Company www.seattleseed.com  

Siskiyou Seeds www.siskiyouseeds.com

Snake River Seed Cooperative (ID) www.snakeriverseeds.com *

Sustainable Seed Company www.sustainableseedco.com

Territorial Seed Company www.territorialseed.com  

Uprising Seeds www.uprisingorganics.com

Victory Seed Company www.victoryseeds.com  

Wild Garden Seed www.wildgardenseed.com  

*beyond Washington or Oregon  

Seeds Available Through NW Library Branch

With a booming interest in gardening and the temporary shutdown of our seed lending library locations, we have devised a pilot program to get our seed supply to neighbors who can use them.

Starting today, we will be accepting emailed seed orders for our Northwest Seattle branch. We will fulfill the orders twice a week and leave them at a secure, outdoor, weatherproof location for recipients to pick up. The pickup location will be in Northwest Seattle.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Browse the current seed inventory list. Navigate through the list by using the category tabs at the bottom of the screen.
  • 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 kingcoseedinfo@gmail.com.
  • 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.

This program will initially cover Northwest Seattle only. If successful, we will try to enact it at other branches.

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.

Happy planting!

In Troubling Times, Grow With Seeds

Life might seem a bit empty right now, with limitations on our work, school and social activities. But an old Hawaiian proverb says, “When your hands are turned to the soil, you will be full.” So let us keep gardening, the healthy activity that can be done alone or with a loved one. May it fill our spirits as well as our bodies.

Growing edibles begins in earnest now as our soils warm up and the days become longer. Here are some ideas to get started.

Is your soil warm enough to plant?

  • Calculate the soil temperature. Find out the soil warmth by watching the daily highs/lows. Add the daily high and nightly low together, then divide by two. That’s the approximate temperature of open soil. (e.g.: 50+40=90/2=45) It’s more accurate if you do it over the course of a week and then average those, because the soil temp doesn’t move with just one warm day. A soil thermometer will tell you right away if the soil is warm enough to sprout seeds. Most seeds require soil warmed to a depth of 3” to germinate.
  • Temps needed to germinate. Our coolest vegetables (lettuce, peas, chard, parsley, mustard greens, beets, carrots) will sprout in soil as cool as 40 degrees F. Other crops (corn, tomatoes) need at least 50 degrees F, while others (beans, peppers, melons, squashes) need 60 degrees F minimum. Of course, all will sprout faster in soil a little warmer than the minimum.
  • Warm up your soil. You can cover the garden bed for a few days with plastic sheeting to warm it up—but remove the plastic when you begin to plant. That will increase the soil temperature a few degrees above an open garden bed.

“When your hands are turned to the soil, you will be full.”

Start earlier with season extension

  • Raised beds. Are you growing vegetables in a raised bed? If so, the soil may already be getting warmer and drying out, the two key indicators that it will be ready for seeds.
  • Cover the bed. If you have “season extension” covers for your bed, like a cloche or a cold frame, they will really help you get the soil ready. You can plant under season extension two to three weeks earlier than in an open garden bed. But remember to open the device regularly to water the bed so the seeds are kept moist (but not too wet) while sprouting, and so that it doesn’t get too hot under the device on sunny days to wilt the tiny plants.

Is your soil dry enough to plant?

  • Soil readiness test. Here’s an easy test to find out if your soil is ready: Dig up a scoop of soil and pack together a softball-size clump of it in your hands. Hold it in one hand and throw it up in the air about two feet, letting it fall back into your open hand. If it lands with a “splotch!” and water sprays everywhere, it’s still too wet for planting. If it breaks apart easily and crumbles in your hand, it’s dry enough.

If your outdoor garden is not yet ready, you can still start indoors. See our post on Starting Seeds Indoors that includes a list of bioregional seed companies.