Seed-Lending Library

Frost Free Seed-Lending Library

The Seed-Lending Library is available for Cheshire County gardeners to borrow seeds and use them for their own gardens. The goal of the seed library is to help improve food security, and to encourage community gardners to develop an outdoor hobby that is beneficial for both their mental, and physical health.

How It Works

  1. If this is your first time borrowing seeds, fill out a Membership Record in the binder available at the library. Watch for Meet-ups and workshops, and follow our Facebook Group to receive the latest information when its available! Our seed library is for home gardens only, and you do not need a library card to sign up for the program.

  1. Choose your seeds. The easiest seeds for beginners to practice saving are tomatoes, beans, peas, and lettuce. Those plants are self fertile (They will be just like their parent plants) and you won't risk cross-pollination with something else. More advanced-technique crops require isolating varieties from each other. Some plants create their seeds as annuals: they make the seeds the year they were planted (like tomatoes), others are biennial: they make their seeds in their second year (like carrots.) Keep your packets to remember your varieties, and remember to sign them out on the back of your membership form.
  1. Grow your plants! If you have any questions during the growing season, take a look at the seed saving pamphlet, our favorite seed saving books, or contact us by email at [email protected]
  1. Harvest your seeds. To make sure that we always have seeds to circulate, we entrust our gardeners with harvesting the seeds from their fresh veggies so we can continue to lend them to gardeners. Please store your seeds in a cool dry place after they have been cleaned and are completely dry. Make sure that the seeds are as free of plant matter and debris as you are capable of, and try your best to not let undesirable varieties cross pollinate. (ex. cucumber cross pollinated with a melon) until you bring them back to the library. Only share seeds you feel confidently reflect what you were trying to grow. If you're unsure about whether or not your plants were isolated well enough, please note that on your donation slip. Your seeds will be sorted and put into next seasons seed library to be shared with other fellow gardeners.
  1. When your seeds are ready to be donated, please write on your donation slips-or the packet itself: The variety, the type, and the year they were harvested. (ex. Cherokee Purple Tomato, 2022). Feel free to include any extra information about what you grew or how you acquired your seeds. Please only donate heirloom or open pollinated seeds, and NOT hybrids. If you are a beginning seed-saver, please only return your saved seeds from the “easy” category. We have labels if you like.

For the continued success of the seed library, please try to return more seeds than you borrowed, and only return seed that you are confident were not cross-pollinated. This will keep our drawers well-stocked and our community of gardeners happy with their results. We also will take donations of commercially-grown, non-GMO, open-pollinated seeds and or cash donations to keep the seed library sustainable.

Thank You.

-Your fellow Marlborough Seed Savers. ♥