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.

First Seed Swap of 2020 Set for Jan. 25, Two More on Feb. 8

Sprout some new ideas for your edible garden! Come to the annual Great Seattle Seed Swap hosted at the Phinney Center by the King County Seed Lending Library.

Oregon Sugar Pod II peas

The Northwest Seattle swap will be Saturday, January 25, 2-4 p.m. in the Community Center of the PNA’s Brick Building (lower parking lot).

If you can’t make that one,two more swaps will be held on Saturday, February 8, one in northeast Seattle and the other in the Snoqualmie Valley town of Duvall. (See our Events page for details on these swaps.)

Along with seeds of favorite vegetables, you will find enthusiastic fellow gardeners eager to share their best varieties. Nearly half of the 100 attendees at last year’s Northwest Seattle swap brought their own seeds. But bringing seeds to swap is not required.

What’s more, generous seed organizations are sharing seed with us. Oregon’s Adaptive Seeds, Bellingham’s Resilient Seeds and the Organic Seed Alliance from the Olympic Peninsula are all contributing unique varieties for Seattle gardeners to try. (A huge note of thanks to them for their contributions!)

At the swap, stick around to learn about both ends of the gardening year, from sowing to harvest–and beyond. There will be short workshops on seed saving and other gardening topics. If you learn to save some of your own seeds at harvest time, you can make a deposit to the library’s seed supply at next year’s swap!

Tilth Alliance, Seattle Tree Fruit Society, Sustainable Ballard and the PNA Tool Lending Library will be on hand to share information and more gardening opportunities. Also, there will be a table of seed catalogs and books for research, and a table with supplies for cleaning and processing your seed.

Bring your edible garden seed to share if you have it. 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.
Purple peas in flower

We hope you can join us to learn and share the joys of growing our own food from seed. The seed swaps are free and open to all.

See event updates on our Facebook event page.

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 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.

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  • 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.