Want to try growing from seed and share the results with others? Borrow seed from one of our seed lending libraries! Visit Clarke County Library, Page Public Library, or Shenandoah County library (or one of our other locations coming soon) to swap seeds at your convenience.
Are you here to check out seeds from your local seed lending library? Please click here.
What is this program?
The NSVMGA Seed Lending Library aims to help members of the community learn the satisfaction and benefits of gardening and saving seeds. We offer free seeds for various vegetables, herbs, and flowers, as well as resources to help you grow plants successfully. Then, you can harvest seeds from your own plants and return a portion to the library to share with others.
How does it work?
Visit your local seed lending library and select up to three packets of seeds per week to take home and grow. Return to this website and complete the check out form to let us know which seeds you selected (this allows us to monitor the needs of our community and stock seeds accordingly). Then get gardening! Allow some of your plants to go to seed and harvest them when they are ready. Save some seeds for yourself and return a portion to your seed lending library to share with others.
Why would I want to collect seeds?
Saving seeds has been around for over 12,000 years, but our culture has lost a lot of knowledge about the process. There are lots of benefits to saving seeds:
- Increase the genetic diversity and resilience of your plants.
- Develop seed stock that is well suited to your particular climate and soil.
- Save money on seeds and plants.
- Know where your food comes from.
- Help your community by sharing your seeds and experience.
- Preserve the art of seed saving.
What sorts of seeds are available?
We offer a variety of vegetable, herb, and flower seeds appropriate for our region. If you would like something that is not currently available, let us know and we will consider adding it to our collection.
Where is the nearest NSVMGA Seed Lending Library?
We currently have three seed lending libraries in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, all located in public libraries:
Clarke County Library, 101 Chalmers Court, Suite C, Berryville, VA 22611
Bowman Library, 871 Tasker Road, Stephens City, VA 22655
COMING SOON: Handley Library, 100 W Piccadilly St, Winchester, VA 22604
Page Public Library, 100 Zerkel Street, Luray, VA 22835
Shenandoah County Library, 514 Stoney Creek Blvd, Edinburg, VA 22824
COMING SOON: Samuels Public Library, 330 E Criser Rd, Front Royal, VA 22630
Our seed lending libraries are open during the normal business hours of the libraries. A library card is not required to participate, but all library rules and regulations must be followed.
NSVMGA exclusively maintains the seed lending libraries; library staff will not have information regarding seed availability or programming.
Have an idea for a new location in Warren, Frederick, Clarke, Page, or Shenandoah County? Please let us know when you check out!
What if I don’t know how to save seeds?
That’s okay! We have resources available to help.
We recommend starting with easy seeds, such as beans, peas, lettuce, and tomatoes. You can find a basic seed saving guide that includes information for these plants here.
The Virginia Cooperative Extension website has lots of valuable information:
- Home Vegetable Gardening
- Get Gardening! – Free courses on beginning vegetable gardening
If you still need help, contact our Green Help Line at GreenHelpLine@gmail.com. Please be sure to include “Seed Lending Library” in your email subject line.
Thank you to the local and regional businesses that donated seeds or services to the Seed Lending Library in 2021.