Orange Home Grown & Orange Public Library Foundation Seed Lending Library

OHG and OPLF are excited to collaborate on the first Seed Lending Library for the City of Orange.
The mission of the Seed Lending Library is to nurture a community of backyard farmers and seed savers in and around the City of Orange.
What is a Seed Library?

A SEED LIBRARY is a depository of seeds held in trust for the community at large. Community members come to the library and borrow seeds for their garden. They grow the plants in their garden and at the end of the season, they let a few plants ‘go to seed.’ From those plants, they collect seeds and return the same amount of seed (or more) as they borrowed (if they so choose) at the beginning of the growing season. Seeds are free to the community.

The Seed Library is both a collection of seeds and a community of gardeners. Since seeds are a living thing, they must be renewed each year somewhere by someone or unique varietals can become extinct. Even growing one seed and returning it to the library is a valuable contribution.


Orange Public Library & History Center 2nd Floor

407 East Chapman Ave. Orange, CA 92866

El Modena Branch Library

380 S Hewes St, Orange, CA 92869

The Seed Lending Library is self serve and is available during regular library business hours.

FullSizeRender (28)

10 Benefits of a Seed Library

1. A far wider variety of seeds can be kept fresh by many people growing rather than one person growing in one garden. We all gain when we combine our efforts.

2. Participants can save hundreds of dollars each season by growing their own food and saving their own seed. In Southern California, we are blessed with a climate that allows us to grow food year-round!

3. A seed library ensures we have a food supply that is reproducible, local, uncontaminated by unproven genetic modification, and free from external controls.

4. Our seed library is focused on varietals ideal for home gardeners (full flavor and variety in a small garden) rather than commercial varietals, which often sacrifice flavor and personality for the sake of uniformity and durability for shipping.

5. Over time the plants will change in response to our local climate and soil, and gradually will become better seeds for our area.

6. We get to hang out with other like-minded gardeners!

7. Growing our own food and saving our own seed continues the fine American tradition of self-reliance.

8. Gardening nourishes the soul as well as the body, and is a great source of relief from the chaos of urban life.

9. As caretakers of seeds, we cooperate with nature in carrying on priceless genetic material for future generations. Seeds are a sacred trust passed down to us by our ancestors. The seed library helps us to best honor that gift.

10. By growing a plant from seed, eating its fruit and returning it back to seed, we become fully engaged in the rhythm of nature, grow more attuned to the world around us, and gain a deeper understanding of our own place in the web of life.

Source: Seed Library of Los Angeles

How it Works:

The Seed Lending Library is open to the public and shared with you at no financial cost by OHG and OPLF. A commitment to growing plants from seeds is a gift you give to yourself. The seeds you save and return (if you so choose) are a gift to your community! We hope you learn much, experience the joy of gardening, meet new people in your community who also love to garden, and enjoy harvesting, cooking, eating, and sharing the food that you produce.

At harvest time, please take some extra steps to save seeds for the future seed exchange events. Save a portion of the seeds from your best plants in order to help make the seed exchange events a success. The more seeds exchanged at the seed exchange event, the more community members can experience the joys of gardening! Seed Library users are not required to give seeds back for the seed exchange events at the end of the season. Please only save seeds if you are familiar with the seed saving process.

The OHG & OPLF Seed Lending Library is simple to use. Just borrow seeds, grow plants, and experience the joy of growing food!

How to Borrow Seeds:

1. Select your seeds from the seed drawers.

2. Determine how many seeds to take, based on what you intend to plant this season, but please remember this is a share system, so please be considerate and take only what you need.

3. Write any additional seed growing instructions on your seed packet to assist with planting. Planting and growing information helps you know what the optimal growth conditions are for the seeds, and when to plant the seeds. In addition, if you return seeds from this plant to the library at the end of the season for a seed exchange event, the next gardener will be grateful for your notes!

4. Document the Borrowing Date, Plant Name, Variety, Estimated number of seeds taken, and your name and email address in the Seed Share Check Out Folder. This helps OHG & OPLF keep track of the seeds distributed to seed library users.

Guidelines for Returning Seeds:

Make sure seeds are dry.

Have seeds reasonably cleaned by removing as much of the chaff as possible.

Only return seeds from plants that you know how to save properly. “Easy” seeds can be fairly reliably saved without cross-pollination (and unintentional hybridization). “Easy” seeds include tomatoes, beans, peas and lettuce. Do not return seeds to the library for a seed exchange event from the brassica (ex. broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage) or cucurbit (ex. cucumbers, squash, melons) families unless you have taken appropriate steps to prevent cross-pollination, such as hand-pollinating.

Write as much information on the packet as possible. Remember that people only have what you have written on the package to decide if it is a plant that they would like to grow. More info is better. Drop off the packet of seeds in the Seed Return container located next to the Seed Library. These seeds will be stored until the next seed exchange event is planned. Seed Return Labels

If you have lots of seeds, consider making multiple packets of the same seeds.

* Guidelines for Returning Seeds from the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library, Richmond, CA.

Brought to You by:

The Seed Lending Library has been started by the donation of seeds. Thank you to the following Seed Companies who have donated seeds to the Orange Seed Lending Library:

· Plant Depot

· The Potting Shed

· High Mowing Seeds

· Seed Saver Exchange

· Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

· Annie’s Heirloom Seeds

· Sustainable Seed Company

· Renee’s Garden Seeds