What is Manitowoc Seed Library?
Manitowoc Seed Library is a collection of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds that you can “check out” to plant and grow at home. Our seed collection depends on donations. You'll see different seeds available at different times, so check back frequently to see what's available.
It changes all the time. As more seeds are donated and as various seeds are checked out, the variety of seeds–out of necessity–will differ. Click to view a list of seeds.
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 should be considered “buyer beware.” We accept all kinds of seeds.
Each packet includes the type and variety of seed, where it came from, and sowing information. You can find more information about the seeds in the Seed Information Binder on top of the Seed Library or by clicking on the link.
Choose your seeds and fill out the Seed Checkout Form located on top of the Seed Library. The checkout form asks for your name, common name, and variety of each seed packet, and the packet number. Hand in the filled out form at the Main Service Desk with your seeds. Please only take up to 4 packets of seeds per visit.
Sometimes. Most of the seeds have an information page in the binder on topof the Seed Library’s card catalog. Feel free to make a photocopy of the page or copy down pertinent information, or take a picture with your cell phone. You could also click to view the growing instructions that we have on file. Information can be found at the beginning of each section of flowers or plants in the Card Catalog.
Nope! This is not an exchange. If you don’t have any seeds to share, you can take seeds regardless.
- You don’t need to repackage your seeds for the library. For example, you can bring them in a paper bag or even in the original commercial seed packet and we’ll take care of getting them into new packets. Seeds should be dry and clean of chaff.
- Bring them to the Main Service Desk on the First Floor.
- Fill out an information slip–available at the Service Desk or online here. The contact information you provide is for internal library use, for tracking, and in case we need to contact you with questions about your seeds. It will never be used or shared for any other purpose.
- We will accept any seeds. However, we prefer those that are open-pollinated or heirloom, as 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 (these examples were gathered from Seed Ambassadors Zine).
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
- Manitowoc County Master Gardeners
Recommended books include:
- Seed to Seed, by Suzanne Ashworth; comprehensive reference book
- Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener’s and Farmer’s Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving, by Carol Deppe
- The New Seed-Starters Handbook, by Nancy Bubel; great reference for both beginners and more experienced gardeners
- The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds: 322 Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, Flowers, Trees, and Shrubs.
- Donate seeds. We prefer heirloom or open-pollinated varieties, but will take any seeds. Visit the Main Service Desk on the First Floor for more information.
- Donate your time. We need volunteers to do tasks such as packaging seeds. You complete the form that’s available on our Volunteering page.
- Donate your expertise. If you’re an expert gardener or seed saver and you are interested in teaching a workshop, please email us.
- Talk it up! Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell your family, neighbors, and general acquaintances about the MPL Seed Library.