Use FREE, locally donated seeds from the library to grow your own vegetables and flowers. Then, let some go to seed and return some of the next generation seeds for others to borrow. Everyone will be able to borrow seeds whenever the library is open, year-round, whether or not they have library cards. The Seed Library is located just outside the Imaginarium on the library's second floor.
Mead Seed Library is a collection of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds that you can borrow to plant and grow at home. Our seed collection depends on donations. You'll see different seeds available at different times, so check in frequently to see what's available.
What seeds are in the library?
It changes all the time, as more seeds are donated, and as seeds are checked out. A mostly current list is here.
How many seeds are in each packet?
There are roughly enough seeds for 3-5 plants in each packet. Because not all seeds germinate, this equals about 10-15 seeds. If the seeds are small, there may be even more in the packet. All seeds are donated, and are “buyer beware.” We accept all kinds of seeds.
What information is included on a seed packet?
Packet Labels look like this:
The first line is common name, including type and variety.
The last line shows the date the seeds were repackaged for the Mead Seed Library.
The round sticker indicates the difficulty level of saving the seeds.
How are the seeds organized?
The small set of drawers contains flowers. They are arranged alphabetically by the common name and then variety.
The larger set of drawers contains vegetables. They are also arranged alphabetically by the common name and then by variety.
How do I check out the seeds?
Choose the seeds you would like to take home to grow. Fill out the form next to the catalog with your name, contact information, and the common name and variety of each seed packet you are taking home. Hand in the form at the second floor help desk. Please only take up to 6 packets of seeds.
Are there directions for growing the seeds?
Sometimes. Most of the vegetable and herb seeds have an information page in the binder next to the seed library. Feel free to make a photocopy of the page or copy down pertinent information. The same information can also be found here. Information can be found at the beginning of each section of flowers in the card catalog. Check out some of the resources below for further help.
Are there any fines if I don’t save and return seeds?
How can I help the seed library grow?
Donate seeds. We prefer heirloom or open-pollinated varieties, but will take any seeds. Visit the help desk on second floor for more information.
Donate time. We need volunteers to do tasks such as sort and package seeds.
Donate expertise. If you’re an expert gardener or seed saver, and you’re interested in teaching a workshop or being a gardening mentor, email us.
Talk it up! Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell your mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, and general acquaintances.
Please print and complete the volunteer form found here and bring or mail it to the library.
How do I save seeds?
Here are some helpful websites to visit to help you save and grow your seeds:
Seed Savers Exchange
Crop Specific Seed Saving Guide
Richmond Grows - well known public seed library
SeedSave.Org- great information on the basics of seed saving
Seed Saving Ambassadors’ Seed Saving Zine
USDA Zone Map
University of Wisconsin- Sheboygan Extension
Sheboygan County Master Gardeners
University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee Extension
635.0421 As399s 2002 Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth - very comprehensive, reference book
635.0423 D442b Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving by Carol Deppe
635.0421 B848n The New Seed-Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel - great for beginners and more experienced gardeners
How do I donate seeds?
You don’t need to repackage your seeds for the library; you can bring them in a paper bag, for example, or in the original commercial seed packet. Seed should be dry and clean of chaff.
Bring them to the Help Desk on Second Floor.
Fill out an information slip, available at the help desk or online here. The contact information you provide is for internal library use, for tracking and in case we have questions about your seeds.
We will accept any seeds, however we prefer those that are open-pollinated or heirloom, because seeds from these plants will be viable in the next year. If you do not know if your seeds are open-pollinated, please note that on the information card.
Easy seeds to save include: tomatoes, beans and peas, cucumbers, melons and squash, annual and biennial herbs, lettuce, peppers, eggplant, spinach and miscellaneous greens. (from Seed Ambassadors Zine)
Do I need to donate seeds in order to use the library?
Nope! This is not an exchange. If you don’t have any seeds to share, you can still take seeds.
The seeds that make up our collection have come to us through donations of local and national seed companies. We’d especially like to acknowledge Seed Savers Exchange and Winter Sown. Many thanks to the other businesses and individuals who have contributed time and seeds to this endeavor. We will continue to accept donations of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds in any quantity, from anyone in the community who is willing to share.
We also want to acknowledge the seed library trailblazers that inspired us and helped us pave the way for the Mead Seed Library, most notably the Seven Hills Seed Library in Port Washington, Mountain View Public Library, and Richmond Grows.