How to Use the Toronto Seed Library

The Toronto Seed Library system is rather basic: Peas help yourself! As we grow and expand the system will undoubtedly evolve to suit the needs of the community.

Note: below are general Toronto Seed Library guidelines, individual branches may have different procedures based on circumstances, sow peas check ahead!

  • COST ~ There is no cost for borrowing seeds. The Toronto Seed Library was created and operates by the labour of love.  We strive to remain as accessible as possible and as such our team has organized creatively while beeing resourceful with our minimal personal resources and the generosity of others willing and able to contribute. Cash donations are grapely appreciated at this thyme. Please ask for a secure donation box or contact us to contribute.

  • MEMBERSHIP ~ You are not required to have an official membership or library card. We ask only that you sign up to our mailing list (see clipboard) so that we have a record of everyone who has borrowed seeds and a way of maintaining direct communication with library users.  As we grow we will be creating a more sophisticated, free membership program and will be sharing information on how to save your seeds and inviting you to upcoming educational workshops, branch openings and special events.

  • CHECK OUT LIMITS ~ There is no pre-established limitation on how many seed packages you can borrow in one day, one season etc. This is a faith-based system. We ask only that you respect that the library is a shared public resource and take only what you will use this season.

  • RETURNS ~ There are no requirements for how many seeds or how many of each variety you must return to the library. Due to the abundant nature of seed it can be easy to return much more seed than you borrowed, and this way the capacity of the library grows with every user and every season. But this won’t always be the case. Seed saving is new to many of us and folks have varying levels of knowledge and experience. What’s most important is that all borrowers commit to making a sincere effort to save some of their seeds this season. Ask us how; some seeds are easier than others. We will provide as much guidance and support as possible and nobody will ever be penalized for unsuccessful seed saving.

  • QUALITY CONTROL ~ To maintain the quality of seeds in our library we encourage beginning gardeners to focus on saving seeds from varieties that are easily saved compared to more difficult seeds. Some easy seeds include lettuce, peas, beans, and tomatoes – these plants are self-pollinating. Some seeds are more difficult, requiring special conditions to maintain quality – recommended population sizes, distances from certain plants, overwintering etc. We offer literaseed (seed literacy) classes and are designing a more sophisticated seed saver program to help gardeners create garden plans to commit to growing plants explicitly for seed to ensure the perpetuation of our collective supply.

  • DONATIONS ~ Just as seeds are available to borrow all year round, donations of seeds are welcome at any time. When donating seeds please include the place and the year you saved them (e.g. ‘Hart House Garden, 2012’). As much  information about the seed’s history is encouraged. We accept all seeds. We prioritize clean, mature seeds that *to the best of your knowledge* are organic and open-pollinated -these seeds will be used to restock our branches and for our ‘seed-saving stream’. Seeds of unknown or questionable origin and viability are still valued and will be used for general outreach and will be grown more for food, experiments and less for seed.