Seed Library

What is the Seed Library all about?

Encouraging our community to experience the joys of gardening.

Educating our community about growing, harvesting, and saving seeds.

Reconnecting our community to the traditions of growing healthy, delicious food.

Nurturing a culture of sharing and abundance.

Building a local collection of desert-adapted seeds.

How does our Seed Library work? It's easy!

Browse seeds in person at select library locations.

Search for seeds using our online catalog and place them on reserve for pick-up at your local branch.

Harvest, save, and share! Find more about how to save and share in our brochure or watch our video.

Seed Tips and More

Read & Grow

Using the Seed Library

FAQs

  • The Seed Library is a collection of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds that you can borrow from to plant and grow at home. Our seed collection depends on donations and seasonality. You'll see different seeds available at different times, so check in frequently to see what's available. See the list of libraries that have seed collections you can browse. If your library does not have a collection, you can place holds in the catalog and have the seeds sent for pick up at the library of your choice.  Learn more on our Welcome page, and browse through all our resources, news, tips, and events on the Seed Library page! Download our brochure (en español) to learn:
    • What is the Seed Library
    • Why we save seeds
    • All about choosing and borrowing seeds
    • How to save and share seeds from your garden
    • What are some helpful seed saving resources to get you started
    • How to stay connected with the Seed Library community

    View in full screen

  • You can browse seeds in person at any one of our seed library locations below.

    You can also search our online catalog, opens a new window and place seeds on reserve for pick-up at your local branch library. When using the online catalog, type “seed library” or the plant’s common name into the keyword search box to get a listing of all available seeds. You can add the planting month to your search, too! See more on that here, opens a new window.

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  • Using your Seed Library couldn't be easier! Download the printable brochure below to have on hand.

    Download our brochure to learn:

    • About the seed library
    • How to select seeds
    • Easy vs. Advanced seeds
    • How to borrow seeds
    • How to save seeds
    • Why we save and share seeds

    En español: Tomar prestado semillas

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  • Your Pima County Public Library card is your key to borrowing seeds. You can check-out up to 10 packets of seeds per month, checking them out just as you would books, DVDs, and any other library materials! Seed Library locations.

    Download our brochure (en español) to learn:

    • What is the Seed Library
    • Why we save seeds
    • All about choosing and borrowing seeds
    • How to save and share seeds from your garden
    • What are some helpful seed saving resources to get you started
    • How to stay connected with the Seed Library community

    View in full screen

  • When growing to save seed, please try to match the seed saving difficulty with your level of gardening experience.

    Easy Seeds

    Easy seeds are great for beginning seed savers. These plants are mostly self-pollinating, so the risk of cross-pollination is minimal (but not impossible). Saved properly, they are reliably the same as the parent plant.

    Advanced Seeds

    Advanced seeds are better suited for more expert seed savers. These plants are cross-pollinating and are very likely to cross-pollinate with other plant varieties, which can result in "mystery" plants. Saving seeds from advanced plants requires special precautions such as hand pollination, tenting, and other methods to ensure varietal purity.

    See: A Beginner's Guide to Sharing and Saving Seeds

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  • There is no obligation to save and return seeds, especially if you’re new to seed saving. As you grow as a gardener and a seed saver, we hope that you will consider sharing your seeds with the Seed Library community.

    By saving seeds as a community, we help create local seed stocks that are better acclimated to our desert climate.

    Download the Seed Library brochure | Tomar Prestado Semillas, opens a new window for more information about sharing seeds.

    View in full screen

About the Seed Library

Welcome to the World of Saving and Sharing Seeds

The Seed Library is a collection of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds that you can borrow to plant and grow at home. By saving seeds as a community we help create local seed stocks that are better acclimated to our unique desert climate and which support an abundant and genetically diverse landscape. We support gardeners from beginner to expert, and help you learn how to grow, harvest, and save seeds.

Our seed collection depends on donations and seasonality. You'll see different seeds available at different times, so check in frequently to see what's available.

Many seeds shared by the Seed Library were grown by community members with love and care like our ancestors have done for thousands of years, please know they may not meet state germination or labeling standards. We do not knowingly accept or share any seeds that are chemically treated, patented, or genetically modified.

International Seed Library Forum

The Seed Library was proud to be a part of the first International Seed Library Forum, opens a new window held in Tucson on May 3-5, 2015 where the Joint Resolution in Support of Seed Libraries was adopted.

 

Thank you to our partners and donors!

Native Seeds/SEARCHCommunity Food BankUniversity of Arizona Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, and the UA Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners helped launch the Seed Library.

We also want to acknowledge the Seed Library trailblazers that inspired us, mentored us, and helped pave the way, most notably Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library and Westcliff Seed Lending Library.

The seeds that make up the collection have come to us through the generous donations of local and national seed companies, businesses, and individuals. We'd especially like to acknowledge Aravaipa Heirlooms, BBB Seeds, Botanical Interests, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange, Garden Medicinals & Culinaries, Gardens of California, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and many, many more.

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