Gardening Library

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Gardening HeadingThe Yorba Linda Public Library is proud to offer Yorba Linda Grows: A Seed Lending Library. A commitment to growing plants from seeds is a gift you give to yourself. The seeds you save and return are a gift to your community! We hope you learn much, experience the joy of gardening, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

At harvest time, please take some extra steps to save seeds for the YLPL Seed Lending Library. Save a portion of the seeds from your best plants in order to help us keep the Seed Library self-sustaining. The more seeds in the Library, the more community members can experience the joys of gardening! Seed Library users will not be penalized if they are unable to return seeds to the Seed Library at the end of the season; we understand that seed saving is new to many of our community members. Please only save seeds if you are familiar with the seed saving process.

The Seed Library is simple to use. Just borrow seeds, grow plants, and experience the joy of gardening!

Borrow Seeds

How to Borrow Seeds

Seeds can be acquired by visiting the Library during normal business hours.

To borrow seeds:
  • Select the seed variety you are interested in planting from the seed drawer.
  • Remove one (1) small plastic bag from the seed variety bag. Please remember this is a share system, please do not take the entire seed variety bag.
  • Place small plastic bag in a small manila envelope to write growing instructions and notes.
  • Write seed growing instructions on your small manila envelope to assist you with planting seeds. Planting and growing information helps you know what the optimal growth conditions are for the seeds. In addition, if you return seeds from this plant to the Library at the end of the season, the next gardener will be grateful for your notes!
  • Place your selected seeds in the envelopes provided and return the original seed variety bag to its proper place in the seed drawer.
  • Document the Borrowing Date, Plant Name, Variety, and Estimated number of seeds taken in the Seed Share Check Out Folder. This helps the Library to keep track of the seeds distributed to seed library users.

Seed Saving Guide

Seed Saving Guide

The Library offers a variety of seed saving instructional books for check-out. Please check out these titles to learn about the process of seed saving:

What types of seeds should I save?

Seed saving requires special skills and levels of experience. If you are new to seed saving, we suggest starting with seeds that are ‘easy’ to save for beginners. We ask that if you are saving seeds that you grow them organically for your benefit and the benefit of others.

Easy (Beginner Seed Saver): Beans, Eggplant, Lettuce, Peas, Peppers, Tomatoes

Medium (Experienced Seed Saver): Carrot, Onion, Radish

Difficult (Advanced Seed Saver): Cucumber, Kale, Zucchini

Returning Seeds to the Seed Lending Library Seed Protocol

We welcome donated seeds into the Seed Lending Library. However, we want to ensure those who are receiving seeds get what is on the label and prevent the passing on of plant disease. We require you to follow this protocol when donating seeds:

  • Save from healthy plants. Even if a disease does not get passed on through the seed, we do like to have some selection for disease resistance by only saving from healthy, strong plants.
  • Save from a number of plants so that the seed has some genetic diversity in it. The quantity that is optimum depends on the type of plant, for self pollinating plants a minimum of 6 plants is necessary, for cross pollinating you want to save from much a larger population- see seed saving information sheets.
  • If the plant cross pollinates you want to make sure you keep it isolated so it stays “true to type.” Check with a seed saving chart or book to get isolation distances.
  • When you bring seed to share at the Seed Lending Library please label with as much information as you can.

*The Seed Protocol is from the West County Community Seed Exchange, Sonoma Co., California.

Guidelines for Returning Seeds

  • Dry: Make sure seeds are dry.
  • Clean: Have seeds reasonably cleaned by removing as much of the chaff as possible.
  • Properly saved: 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 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.
  • Label! Label! Label! 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.
  • Share the abundance: If you have lots of seeds, considering making multiple packets of the same seeds.

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

Planting Guide

Southern California Planting Guide

Below is a list of some of the more popular seeds to grow in your home garden. This list does not reflect all the seeds available through the Yorba Linda Public Library’s Seed Lending Library.

Basil, Beans, Carrots, Cucumber, Chives, Cilantro, Eggplant, Lettuce, Onion, Peas, Peppers, Radish, Tomatoes, Thyme, Zucchini

Beans, Chives, Cucumber, Eggplant, Hot Peppers, Radish, Sweet Peppers, Tomatoes, Thyme, Zucchini

FALL (in warm regions)
Carrots, Chives, Cilantro, Kale, Lettuce, Onion, Peas, Radish, Thyme

WINTER (in warm regions)
Carrots, Chives, Cilantro, Kale, Lettuce, Onion, Peas, Radish

A Year of Growing Vegetables 

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, Beauty Beyond Belief (BBB) Seed Company, Adaptive SeedsCalifornia State Library, Del Norte Garden Club, The Living Seed Company, Pinetree Garden Seeds, Seed Matters, The Friends of the Yorba Linda Public Library, Seed Savers, Native Seed Search (NSS), Sustainable Seed Company

Thank you to our Seed Library donors. Without you, this project would not be possible!