Who We Are

The Door County Seed Library offers open-pollinated vegetable, herb, flower, and native seeds that people can check out for free to plant and grow at home. Our seeds are offered through select Door County Library branches every spring and at special events.

We are committed to encouraging our community to participate in the centuries-long traditions of gardening and seed saving. Our goals are to help people become successful gardeners and seed savers, increase our sustainability and capacity to grow wholesome food, and foster a culture of sharing.

We a collaborative project of the Door County Library, Door County Master Gardeners Association, The Community’s Garden, Extension Door County, and Wild Ones of the Door Peninsula. And volunteers like you!

History

We’d like to take a moment to let you know a little bit about us…

Penne Wilson, a Door County Master Gardener Volunteer, came up with the concept of a Door County Seed Library in 2018 after reading an article about the Appleton Seed Library in Edible Door magazine. Everything clicked – what better way to contribute to our community than by reconnecting people to the centuries-long traditions of gardening and seed saving?!

We held a public planning/input session in August 2018 and connected with many interested community gardeners and growers who embraced the concept. Before long, the core team of collaborative partners and volunteers had been formed. Our all-volunteer planning team defines and oversees the key elements of our free seed library. We hosted the launch of this new community resource in March 2019 at the Sturgeon Bay Library.

During the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021, we offered our seeds via pre-packaged seed bundles. Hopefully, by 2022 we will offer our seeds through Door County Library branches and you will be able to peruse and select the varieties that you are most interested in growing.

FAQs

Where are you located?

We distribute our seeds through the following Door County Library branches:

  • Baileys Harbor, 920-839-2210
  • Egg Harbor, 920-868-2664
  • Fish Creek, 920-868-3471
  • Forestville, 920-856-6886
  • Sister Bay-Liberty Grove, 920-854-2721
  • Sturgeon Bay, 920-746-7121
  • Washington Island, 920-847-2323

Where do your seeds come from?

Our seeds come from several sources: 1) many have been generously donated by several seed companies, including Seed Savers Exchange, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, High Mowing Organic Seeds,Terri torial Seed Company, and Prairie Nursery; 2) we purchase our “core” seeds in bulk from various seed companies; 3) seed “borrowers” donate their harvested seeds back to the seed library at the end of the season; and 4) community members donate leftover commercial seeds. Seeds are packaged and prepared by volunteers for distribution through the seed sharing program.

What seeds are available?

Due to our reliance on seed donations, our seed inventory varies from year to year and even through the course of a growing season. We always strive to offer a variety of vegetable, herb, flowers, and native seeds. Around March of each year, we will provide each participating library branch an inventory of available seeds for their seed cabinets.

How does it work?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have distributed our seeds in pre-packaged seed bundles for the past two years, but we are hoping that the process for 2022 will work like this:

  • If you are not already a member, fill out our online membership form (you only need to do this once).
  • In March 2022, we will make an announcement when our seeds are available.
  • Go to your nearest participating library branch.
  • Peruse their seed packet inventory and select your desired seeds. (To help maintain our seed library, we ask that you only ‘check out’ the seeds that you will plant in your personal garden.)
  • Record your selections on a Seed Record Form located near the seed cabinet.
  • Plant your ‘borrowed’ seeds in your garden.
  • Grow a bounty of vegetables and flowers and share with your friends and neighbors!

While there’s no requirement to save and return seeds, we encourage everyone to learn basic seed saving techniques.

Do I have to return seeds?

There is no obligation to save and return seeds, especially if you are 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. When our community saves seeds, we help to create seeds that are better adapted to our unique climate and soils.

New to seed saving?

We recommend you start with these easy-to-save seeds: beans, peas, lettuce, and tomatoes. These annual, self-pollinating seeds are great for beginners and it’s very easy to produce plants like the ones you planted. The other seeds require a bit of planning to ensure that the seeds remain pure. While you are free to grow and enjoy these seeds, we recommend that you learn about more advanced seed saving techniques before saving seeds from these varieties.

How do I donate seeds?

For seeds that you saved, complete a Seed Donation Form (located on the Resources tab), filling out as much information as you know. Place your clean seeds in a labeled, well-sealed envelope and drop them off along with the completed Seed Donation Form at your local library branch.

If you are interested in being a part of this grass-roots organization, please fill out a volunteer form. We’d love to connect with other people who are interested in promoting and supporting gardeners and seed savers!