Join us at the Seed Swap!

Interesting lettuce? New tomato? Sunflowers for solidarity with Ukraine? Join the Seed Library for the return of our Great Seattle Seed Swap! It’s our first since 2019, and we can’t wait to share seeds with you.

The swap will be Saturday, April 16, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., in the Community Hall of the Brick Building.

Recent donations from the Organic Seed Alliance of their “Teddybear Sunflowers” and from High Mowing seeds will provide new choices for seed-swappers to try this year.
OSA’s Semi-Teddybear Mix. Photo by Bill Thorness.

See our Facebook event and let us know you’re coming!

Do you have seeds to share? Here’s a guide to our preferences for seed-sharing:

  • 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. We 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.

Look forward to seeing you in person soon!

Winding Down a Quiet Year

Hi friends of the Seed Library! Our quiet gardening season is now at an end. The seeds have been retired to their winter home in a cool, dark back room.

It’s been a tough year to share seeds, with fewer open hours and no chances to get together. We hope that next year will see some return to normalcy. May the autumn bring you peace.

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.

Filling Orders Virtually

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

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.)

Adaptive Seeds www.adaptiveseeds.com  

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