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Seed Library

The Mackenzie Seed Library

Mackenzie and McLeod Lake residents can sign up for a Seed Library Membership at the Mackenzie Public Library and “check out” seeds free of charge throughout the planting season. In the fall, members save seeds from two or three of the best plants they’ve grown and return them to the library to be kept over the winter for check out next year.

Check out our “How to Use the Seed Library” guide for more details.

The Seed Library is housed at the Mackenzie Public Library and is open during regular MPL hours. Library staff are available to help with seed circulation and answer questions. Drop by and check it out!


Why Save Seeds?

Humans have been saving seeds for over 12,000 years. However, in our culture much of that knowledge has been lost over the last hundred years, along with significant biodiversity. When you grow and save your own seeds, you:

  • develop seed stock that is well suited to our climate
  • save money
  • Know where your food is coming from and that it is healthy and organic
  • mitigate our dependence on agro-business

When you participate in the seed library, you create a culture of sharing and abundance.


Which Seeds Should I Choose?

The Seed Library is organized into three categories:

  • Flowers and ornamentals are in envelopes with a PINK border.
  • Herbs are in envelopes with a BLUE border.
  • Fruits and vegetables are in envelopes with a GOLD border.

Each of these categories is also broken down into levels of difficulty for growing and seed saving. Each level corresponds to a different coloured dot.

  • Light Blue = Easy
  • Orange = Medium
  • Black = Hard

If you have never saved seeds before, we recommend you start with the easy plants.


How can I help?

Donating Seeds

The Seed Library welcomes donations of seeds collected or bought by local gardeners. All flowers, ornamentals and herbs are accepted. Fruits and vegetables must be:

  • From healthy plants
  • Organic (i.e. No chemical pesticides were used in their growth)
  • GMO-free
  • Clearly labelled as heirloom/open-pollinated or hybrid

A seed envelope must be filled out for each type of seed donated. Envelopes are available in the public library.

More Seed Saving Resources

Books at Mackenzie Public Library

The complete guide to preserving your own seeds for your garden: everything you need to know explained simply by Katie A. Murphy

The complete guide to saving seeds: 322 vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruits, trees, and shrubs by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough

The manual of seed saving: harvesting, storing, and sowing techniques for vegetables, herbs, and fruits by Andrea Heistinger et al. (recommended for intermediate to advanced seed savers)

Saving vegetable seeds: harvest, clean, store, and plant seeds from your garden by Fern Marshall Bradley

Seed sowing and saving: step-by-step techniques for collecting and growing more than 100 vegetables, flowers, and herbs by Carole B. Turner

Starting seeds: how to grow healthy, productive vegetables, herbs and flowers from seed by Barbara E. Ellis

These books and more can be found at call numbers 631.5 and 635 in our Adult Non-Fiction section. Ask us for directions!


Online Resources

The Bauta Family Initiative on Seed Security

  • Free videos on seed saving
  • The Ecological Seedfinder and Seed Explorer features help you find sources for hundreds of heirloom seed varieties in Canada

Garden Guides

  • Tons of general gardening information
  • A simple step by step guide on how to harvest plant seeds can be found in the “Gardening Phases” section

Saltspring Seeds

  • “How to Save Seeds” information for the beginner
  • Organic, heritage and heirloom seeds sales from BC

Seeds of Diversity Canada

  • Step-by-step instructions on saving peas, beans, tomatoes and lettuce
  • Membership for a small annual fee gives you access to the Member Seed Directory and member seed exchanges

Seed Save

  • Free basic seed saving instructions organized by crop difficulty level
  • An online seed school ($149US for 7 webinars) for more serious seed savers

Seed Savers’ Exchange

  • Free webinars, images and articles on seed saving

A Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and Farmers from Organic Seed Alliance

  • Online PDF booklet with tons of information hosted by the Greater Victoria Public Library

The Seed Site

  • Hundreds of seed and seedling photos

West Coast Seeds

  • Planting charts and zone guides
  • “How to Grow” guides for vegetables
  • Organic, non-GMO, Canadian seed sales online