What seeds are available?
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we are doing things a bit differently in 2021 — we are offering our FREE seeds in two pre-seed bundles:
- Seed bundle #1 (available March 2) contains seeds for starting indoors, such as tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Due to our short growing season, these crops benefit from getting a head start by starting the seeds indoors in early spring and then transplanting them to your garden.
- Seed bundle #2 (available May 1) contains seeds that you can plant directly in the ground. This pack includes crops such as beans, beets, carrots, cucumbers, flowers, greens, herbs, lettuce, peas, radishes, squash, and pumpkins.
These seeds are available for you to grow in your home garden. You can “check out” both seed bundles if you would like (while supplies last). If there are seeds that you won’t use, please share them with family or friends.
How it works
- Become a member – it’s free! Click the JOIN NOW tab to fill out a membership form.
- Call your local library branch to schedule a time to pick up your seed bundle.
- Plant your ‘borrowed’ seeds in your garden.
- Grow a bounty of vegetables and flowers.
- Use our resources for planting and seed saving instructions.
- There is no need to return any seeds, although we encourage you to try saving seeds and donating some to the seed library if you have extra.
Where to pick up your seeds
After you’ve filled out a membership form, call one of the following library branches to schedule a time to pick up your seed kit:
- Door County Library, Baileys Harbor (920) 839-2210
- Door County Library, Forestville (920) 856-6886
- Door County Library, Egg Harbor (920) 868-2664
- Door County Library, Fish Creek (920) 868-3471
- Door County Library, Sister Bay/Liberty Grove (920) 854-2721
- Door County Library, Sturgeon Bay (920) 746-7121
- Door County Library, Washington Island (920) 847-2323
About our seeds
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, Territorial 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 lending program.
We freely distribute these generously-donated seeds to our community. These seeds may or may not meet germination or variety purity standards as prescribed for all other seeds that are sold in the state.
Open-pollinated vs. heirloom vs. hybrid seeds
We offer only open pollinated seeds because they produce plants just like the parent plant, who resemble THEIR parent plants. In other words, they are genetically stable. If open-pollinated seeds were dogs, they’d be considered the purebred variety (e.g., Labrador Retrievers); their offspring will look very similar to their parents.
Heirloom varieties are open-pollinated varieties that have been passed down from generation to generation. Most people define heirlooms as seeds that have been passed down for over 50 years.
All heirloom plants are open-pollinated, but not all open-pollinated plants are heirlooms. Heirloom classification is time dependent; they have been grown for many generations.
Hybrids are seeds from two varieties of parent-plants that are genetically different, but of the same species. Hybridization can occur naturally through random crosses or through a controlled method where humans deliberately cross two different varieties. While you can save seeds from hybrid varieties, they are not stable, so you will get all sorts of interesting plants the next year that will be considerably less vigorous. In the dog world, hybrid seeds would be considered ‘mutts.’ You never know what their offspring will look like.