***Native seeds will be made available starting December 1, 2023. To avoid the rush that we experienced in the spring, we will not put all available seeds out at all at once. Our aim is to maintain continuous availability of a variety of species until our stock is depleted or replenished by further donations. We are so excited about the enthusiasm for native plants! Due to the amount of time and resources required to maintain the Seed Library, please only take what you will plant this season.
-Quyen Edwards, PDL Seed Library Coordinator
About the Seed Library
Launched in May 2021, our seed library provides free seeds for the use of our community. You do not need to have a Portage District Library card to participate. Please only take what you can plant and consider “returning” seeds to the seed library for others to borrow by saving seeds, donating commercially purchased seeds, or making a monetary donation to support this service.
Seeds are located in the large green card catalog between the Heritage Room and the Makerspace on the main level.
Browse our selection of seeds from home and use the inventory list as a guide for when you come into the library to select your seeds. The inventory is updated frequently, but we can’t guarantee that everything listed will be available at the time of your visit.
Some plants can cause negative or adverse reactions in humans or animals. It is your responsibility to educate yourself about the plants you are considering adding to your landscaping. Please check Poisonous and Nonpoisonous Plants, ASPCA for a guide to toxic plants.
Where do I find the seeds in the Library?
The seeds are located in the large green card catalog between the Heritage Room and the Makerspace at the back of the library on the main level. Check our online seed inventory before you visit to find out what is likely to be available.
Our seeds are organized into six color coded categories:
Vegetables Herbs Annuals Perennials Native
Ready to get started? Here’s how it works.
Borrow: Visit the library to select the seeds you would like to plant. Fill out one form per person in the Seed Library binder indicating which seeds and varieties you are checking out. This helps us keep our inventory up-to-date. You may select up to ten seed packets per week.
Grow: Follow the planting instructions in the seed spreadsheet, do research online, or use the resources at the bottom of this page to help your seed get the best start possible.
Save: Make sure to observe the Seed-Saving Guidelines for your particular variety. When a seed is mature, harvest, dry, and store it for use next season. If you are not able to save seeds, consider donating a few seed packets to the library so we can continue our Seed Library next year.
Return: Put your seeds in an envelope and return them to the library. You will need to fill out a Seed Donation Form for each type of seed. Forms are available at the Seed Library or you can download and print it here.
Contributing to the Seed Library
When you return your saved seeds, please fill out a form by clicking here so we have adequate information about the seeds. These forms are also available at the library.
- If you bring in seeds from varieties obtained outside of our seed library, please ensure that they are not hybrids. Hybrids will not grow true-to-type in future generations.
- If you suspect the seeds you saved for the library may have been cross-pollinated, diseased, etc., please let us know. We won’t think any less of you, but we need to know this so we can keep our seed pool as healthy as possible.
Online Resources - Michigan Native Plants
Michigan Flora provides up-to-date information about the diversity and occurrence of plants is essential to understanding and stewarding Michigan’s environment and appreciation of its natural heritage.
National Wildlife Federation – Native Plants Finder searches by zip code to find plants that host the highest numbers of butterflies and moths to feed birds and other wildlife where you live.
Prairie Moon Nursery provides the largest native plant collection available for retail sales in the United States. Use their search feature to find information about each plant’s preferred sun exposure, soil moisture, height, bloom time, germination requirements, range map, and more along with detailed photos.
Online Resources - Vegetable and Herb Gardening
Seed Savers Exchange — Extensive and user-friendly information to expand your vegetable gardening and seed saving know-how with helpful garden tips, how-to guides, and more.
Michigan State University has an Ask Extension webpage where you can submit questions you have about gardening.
New to seed-saving or gardening? Interested in learning more about growing native plants? Stop by the library, browse our collection of gardening books, or check out the links above for all your seed-y resources!
We are grateful for donations from Community Members, Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones, and seeds collected from the PDL Monarch Waystation.