About the Seed Library
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 locally adapted plant varieties and preserve genetic diversity.
The Seed Library is made possible through the generous support of Slow Food Springfield.
How to Use the Seed Library
Using the Seed Library is easy!
- Pick out the seeds you would like to plant.
- Take up to 5 different seed packets per family per month.
- Please do not take all the same variety of seeds—leave some for others to enjoy!
- Take your seeds home and plant them.
- If you are able, consider saving some seeds from your mature plants and donating them back to the seed library.
Books to Grow Your Green Thumb
The Kitchen Herb Garden
From Rosalind Creasy--a name synonymous with California's garden-to-table movement--comes an accessible guide to cultivating and preparing herbs.
If you buy only one herb gardening book, this should be it. Creasy takes you from seeds to stove top, from preparing the soil to elegant dining suggestions, with easy-to-follow instructions and inspirational ideas every step of the way.
Each section of this book presents vivid photos and practical information, including:
- How to design and grow an herb garden in just about any space--from a spacious plot to a tiny balcony--and in just about any climate
- A tour through many beautiful private herb gardens, including some of Creasy's own, as well as the garden of herb luminary Carole Saville and others
- A fully illustrated encyclopedia of edible herbs--from old favorites like basil, rosemary and sage to more exotic herbs such as lemon verbena and Mexican tarragon
- A savory selection of healthy herb recipes for side dishes, such as blends, butters and vinegars, main dishes from around the world and even cocktails and desserts
- Maintenance and organic pest control methods
- A list of resources for seeds and supplies
- A guide to growing, cultivating and preparing hops
This herb guide is full of practical tips and tricks presented in a beautiful format--perfect for the gardener, aspiring gardener or home chef.
101 Organic Gardening Hacks
Shawna Coronado, one of America's most creative gardeners, gives you her library of clever gardening tricks in 101 Organic Gardening Hacks.
If you ask garden author Shawna Coronado what a hack is, she might just wave her hand toward her own back yard. She could be pointing at the garden bench she created from leftover wood posts and a few cinder blocks, or the rows of wine bottles buried soldier-style along a winding pathway, or even the garden soil itself, which is blended by hand from an organic soil recipe she devised.
In 101 Organic Garden Hacks you'll find the top tips, tricks, and solutions Shawna has dreamed up in her career as one of America's most creative gardeners. Some are practical timesavers; others offer clever ways to upcycle everyday items in your garden.
One characteristic every hack shares is that they are completely organic and unfailingly environmentally friendly. Divided into a dozen different categories for easy reference, each hack is accompanied by a clear photo that shows you exactly how to complete it. If you are looking for resourceful ways to improve your garden and promote green living values right at home, you'll love paging through this fascinating, eye-catching book.
The Balcony Gardener
Discover how to make the most of your gardening plot, however confined, with Isabelle's creative and inspiring projects, including creating a cocktail window box from which you can make your own delicious fruity drinks, recycling containers such as wine and fruit crates, and creating a country garden in the smallest urban space. You can also turn your balcony, roof terrace or patio into an attractive space to dine and entertain with stylish lighting and furnishing ideas. With The Balcony Gardener's uniquely different gardening ideas and practical advice, a lack of space won't hold you back; you will soon transform your mini-patch into a fabulous green oasis.Isabelle Palmer is the founder of The Balcony Gardener (www.thebalconygardener.com) an online company specialising in product ranges for small urban outdoor spaces. Isabelle studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design and then embarked on a degree in Economics before working in PR. She's always been a keen gardener before she started her successful business.
Organic Book of Compost, 2nd Revised Edition
Grow beautiful fruits, vegetables, and flowers with rich soil you produce yourself! Whether you have experience with compost or have always wanted to learn more and see how you can incorporate it into your lifestyle, this book provides everything you need to know. From understanding what compost is and how to make it to using and storing it, this guide carefully explains this sustainable, low-cost way to produce rich soil in your backyard. With detailed chapters on composting techniques, worm composting, and even a section on frequently asked questions, Organic Book of Compost is the only one you'll ever need!
The Old Farmer's Almanac Vegetable Gardener's Handbook
This book is the perfect companion for every vegetable gardener--even those who have never touched a trowel and wouldn't know mulch from mud! The practical advice presented in the Vegetable Gardener's Handbook demystifies gardening by providing the best, most proven methods for sowing, growing, and harvesting.
Highlights include ...
- Step-by-step advice for success with more than 30 vegetables in any zone
- The dirt on soil: why testing is so important--and how to do it
- Easy techniques for growing in-ground, plus alternatives to traditional raised beds
- Seed-starting and -saving methods simplified
- Gardeners' friends and foes: which plants help (or hinder) vegetables
- Enlightening (and humorous!) anecdotes from fellow gardeners
- Space for noting observations and experiences
- More than 150 full-color photos
- Essential reference tables and charts
- Much, much more!
Created for new gardeners, green thumbs, and old hands alike, The Old Farmer's Almanac Vegetable Gardener's Handbook is loaded with advice and inspiration to help plants--and growers--thrive.
Only The Old Farmer's Almanac has the experience and longevity to offer the very best tried-and-true information, tips, and advice about all things gardening and growing. With the Vegetable Gardener's Handbook, we are a patient master gardener passing down the secrets of growing great food to every gardener.
A Garden Can Be Anywhere
Edible Gardens LA founder Lauri Kranz shares her secrets for planning, planting, growing, and maintaining luscious edible gardens, no matter the setting or size of the plot. Through gorgeous gardens created for her well-known clientele, including James Beard award–winning chefs, celebrities, rock stars, and more, Lauri shares her essential methods for growing abundant organic food. This practical guide is built around Lauri’s philosophy that nourishment and beauty are not separate goals. It’s also at the forefront of a gardening revolution, where more and more people are craving a patch of land for growing and the trend is toward edible gardens over ornamental gardens. A Garden Can Be Anywhere reveals Lauri’s knack for providing both beauty and bounty in her clients’ outdoor spaces.
Regrow Your Veggies
No need to keep buying the same vegetables you eat all the time over and over again. Regrow Your Veggies is an insightful guide that provides effective propagation techniques to recycle and regrow more than 20 popular vegetables right at home! Learn how to have a source of fresh and healthy vegetables close by, from onions and sweet potatoes to pineapples and mangoes, reduce waste, and know how to prevent and solve issues with pesky pests and pathogens. Get the most out of your favorite foods and produce your own produce!
The Family Garden Plan
Grow a Year’s Worth of Food for Your Family
Do something good for your loved ones by learning how to plant a garden that will yield wholesome, organic fruits and vegetables in surprisingly less space than you would think. Melissa K. Norris, fifth-generation homesteader and host of the popular Pioneering Today podcast, walks you through each step of the process, including how to
- decide which food crops are best for your area and family
- plan your garden to maximize the space you have
- protect your garden from common pests and diseases naturally
- determine when your fruits and vegetables are ready to be harvested
- improve soil health with simple techniques like crop rotation and backyard composting
Sharing the same practices and techniques from her homestead, Melissa shows you how easy it can be to raise a year’s worth of produce at home. Simple-to-follow charts, worksheets, and photographs are provided throughout to help you through every phase of the gardening process.
You can enjoy good eating and greater well-being for you and your family.
Gardening for Geeks
The ultimate organic gardening resource, Gardening for Geeks provides readers with everything they need to know about designing, building, and sustaining their own garden. Filled with step-by-step processes, helpful diagrams, and expert tips on the best practices, this book covers it all for anyone who dreams of gardening, even the city dweller. Starting off with the basics and progressing into more advanced concepts for a wide scope of gardening strategies and techniques, this is a comprehensive and geeky look at your favorite hobby. Founder of Gardenerd and author, Christy Wilhelmi shares her expertise to break down the biology and ecology of gardening in an easy, breezy writing style that will make you appreciate and understand gardening even more than you did before!
It's nearly impossible for gardeners to resist the allure of heirloom plants. Their names alone sound inviting--Flanders Purple kale, Golden Marconi sweet peppers, Moon & Stars watermelons, Turk's Turban squash, Scarlet Emperor running beans, and Jefferson plums--and many growers claim that their taste is unsurpassed. Beyond the classic appeal, however, lies the far more important issue of biodiversity. Unless these unique seeds are grown and saved, they will not only be forgotten, but lost forever. Based on the extensive seed catalogs of Thomas Etty, the popular heirloom seedsman, Heirloom Plants includes information on almost 500 exciting cultivars to be grown and harvested, along with detailed profiles and cultivation tips for each plant. In addition to edibles, the book also has chapters on antique herbs and flowers, from Cup and Saucer vines to Sweet William carnations to Empress of India nasturtiums. Trowel and book in hand, let your motto be, "Growing the past, saving the future."
The Garden Seed Saving Guide
At a time where commercial forces have increased control over the food supply by patenting seeds with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), seed saving has become an important skill to encourage and share. Longtime organic gardener Jill Henderson explains how preserving open-pollinated and heirloom garden seeds from one season to the next will not only save gardeners money but will also increase their self-sufficiency and help them maintain a naturally diverse gene pool of food plants. Here are some of the many "insider tips" you'll discover: which seeds are easiest to save, why saving seeds preserves genetic diversity, easy hand-pollination techniques for beginners, the right way to harvest, clean, and store seeds at home, how to save hundreds of seed varieties from only seven crop types, how to ensure seed viability and test germination rates, and ways to keep seeds from cross-pollinating. Armed with these simple tips and instructions, anyone with a green thumb will find seed saving easy and rewarding.
Seed Library FAQs
A: The Seed Library is on the 2nd floor of the library, in front of the Reference & Information Desk.
A: No, you do not need to return seeds to the library. 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.
A: The Seed Library is free to use and there are no late fees or replacement costs. No library card is required to use the Seed Library.
A: Supplies and varieties vary, but the focus is on vegetables and other edible plants. To check what seeds are currently available, call us at 217-753-4900, ext. 5630 or stop by to browse!
A: Please fill out a Seed Donation Slip to tell us about the seeds you are donating.