Southborough Library
Southborough Library

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Library Seed Exchange

2024 | Year 5

The Southborough Library launched its Library Seed Exchange in March of 2020. This year we will offer both purchased and donated seeds for flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Access our helpful guides below:

  •  Flower Growing Information Guide: Click here
  •  Herb & Vegetable  Growing Information Guide: Click here
  • Outdoor Vegetable Planning Guide that helps identify the best time to plant your vegetables outside: Click here.
  • Seed Germination Temperature Chart: Click here.
  • Plants for Bug Control: Click here.
  • Companion Planting Chart: Click here.
  • Planting Calendar for Southborough, MA: Click here.
  • Website, Book and Video Resources:  Click here.
  • Southborough LibGuide: Herb Gardening: Click here.
  • Southborough LibGuide: Gardening for Kids: Click here.

While we have made our best effort to provide accurate growing instructions, there are many factors that affect your growing success. Please use this information along with that found on available websites and in reference materials. 

Thank you for learning with us and contributing to our Library Seed Exchange.

What is a Library Seed Exchange?

A library seed exchange is a free program which allows individuals in the community to “borrow” seeds from the library at the beginning of the growing season in the hopes that at the completion of the growing season, they will save seeds from their plants and return a portion to the library.
This allows the library to then distribute donated seeds the following growing season.  In most cases, these donated seeds will do better than store bought seeds since their “parents” are acclimated to our climate and soil.

What are the goals of Southborough’s Library Seed Exchange?

  • Provide limited free seeds to individuals in the Southborough community to promote gardening.
  • Provide resources to educate the community on various topics related to gardening, ecology, food and nutrition, health and wellness, and the environment.
  • Encourage gardeners to save seeds and donate back to the Library Seed Exchange.

Who can participate in the Library Seed Exchange?

Individuals in the community can participate in our Library Seed Exchange. The program is geared for all ages and skill level.

What types of seeds are in the Library Seed Exchange?

The Library Seed Exchange will include both purchased and donated flower, vegetable and herb seeds. 

List of 2024 seeds available from the Library Seed Exchange

While we try our best to ensure the quality of the seeds, we do accept and distribute seeds donated from community members who have varying degrees of seed saving skill. You may experience low germination rates or receive seeds that are not accurately labeled.

How does the Library Seed Exchange work?
Beginning March 11, 2024, we will once again hold an in-person Library Seed Exchange inside the Southborough Library during regular hours (check our website and newsletter for up-to-date information).  Patrons are welcome to come into the library during opening hours and choose seed packets from our repurposed card catalogue on the main floor of the library in the Judy Williams Reading Room.
After the growing season, we ask that patrons collect seeds and donate them back to us for distribution the following growing season. Please include name of seed, color (if applicable), and other pertinent information. Vegetable, flower and herb seeds will be gratefully accepted.

How do I donate seeds for the next growing season?

In order to make our Library Seed Exchange self-sustaining, we gratefully accept your seed donations of herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Keep some for yourself and donate your excess to us for distribution in the spring.

At the end of the growing season, please take the following steps to save your seeds:

  • Cut the flower head with a scissor or knife
  • Collect ripe seeds from flower head and place on waxed paper
  • Allow seeds to dry for about one week
  • Clean the seeds by removing husks or pods
  • Place seeds in an envelope or paper bag and label with the name of plant, color (if applicable) and any other pertinent information
  • Bring your seeds to the Southborough library and put them in our Seed Donation Box which can be found near the repurposed card catalogue in the Judy Williams Reading Room.

What resources are available to help me have a successful growing season?

Online Reference Center:  After choosing your seeds packets, go to our website to obtain growing information.
Book List: You will also find a limited list of books we own that you can borrow. We encourage patrons to come in and browse our extensive gardening collection (found in the non-fiction 600’s section) and/or go into your library account and request books of interest that may not be included on the list.
Gardening Kits: Our More than Books Collection includes Gardening Kits which patrons can borrow.  Kits include: Soil pH Meter, Collapsible Canvas Stool w/ Tool Pockets; Stainless Steel Trowels; Stainless Steel Hand Rake; Clippers; Black Garden Gloves.  These items cannot be placed on hold and must be picked up and returned in person upstairs at the Main Circulation Area.

When should I plant my seeds?

The answer varies based on multiple factors including type of seed/plant and weather conditions. Refer to the Growing Information found on our website along with the many other available resources.

What is Southborough's Growing Season?

According to, Southborough has a 145 day growing season. Our last spring frost is May 8 and our first fall frost is Oct. 1.

The Library Seed Exchange is made possible with generous support from The Friends of the Southborough Library.