Borrowing Seeds

How to Use the Seed Library

The seed library is similar to a public library, but instead of checking out books, you check out seeds and plant a garden.

We ask that you save seed from the best plants you grow based on their finest qualities; save some for yourself and return a portion of them to the seed library. Thus the cycle is complete and more people can check out seeds.

You do not need a library card to use the Sandoval County Seed Library. Borrowers will not be penalized for being unable to return seeds at the end of the season. However, if you are unable to save true-to-type seed, it would be appreciated if you instead donate a packet or two of commercially grown open-pollinated, non--hybrid, non-GMO seed.

Sandoval County Seed Library (SCSL) is self-serve and operates on the honor system. You become a member when you withdraw seeds to plant or donate seeds to the Library.

How to Borrow Seeds

At the Seed Library, complete a Membership Form with your contact information and list the details from the seed label of the seed you are borrowing. Place the form in the front pocket of the Membership Binder. Sandoval County Master Gardeners have packaged each seed envelope with 6-8 seeds for each single plant (or a pinch for tiny seeds), You will want to use the label information to keep good records for returned seeds.

library organization - Choosing Seeds

Seeds are organized by:

  • Category (Vegetables, Flowers/Ornamentals and Herbs)

Flowers/Ornamentals and Herb drawers are organized by common names and alphabetically by variety.

Vegetable drawers are organized by:

  • Plant Family
  • Common Members of the Plant Family (alphabetically)
  • Variety (alphabetically) i.e. Blue Lake Bean, Sugar Snap Pea, Large Red Cherry Tomato, etc.

The seeds are organized into two groups: “Easy” (green) and “Advanced” (red). This refers to the seed saving aspect of each plant, not how easy the plant is to grow.

Start with seeds that are labeled "EASY." These seeds are great for beginners and produce plants like the ones you planted.

The seeds that are labeled "ADVANCED," require special planning to preserve varietal purity. If certain precautions are not taken with them, then the next grower will not get the same plant. We want to ensure that the seeds that you return to the library are indeed what they claim to be. So please borrow "advanced" seeds only after you have learned about isolating plants to prevent cross-pollination. The Latin names are provided to you so it will be easier to calculate if cross-pollination could occur.

Refer to the "GARDENING RESOURCES" and other seed saving information contained on this web site and also located in the "REFERENCE BINDER" at the seed library catalog. 

We hope you will be able to donate some of your seeds at the end of the season. However, if you are unable to save true-to-type seed, it would be appreciated if you instead donate a packet or two of commercially grown open-pollinated, non--hybrid, non-GMO seed.

Over the course of the growing season, we provide seed starting and saving workshops to growers. Sandoval Master Gardeners also have many classes on all aspects of gardening. Refer to Sandoval Master Gardeners web site for class postings on the calendar.