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Seed libraries

North Ayrshire Council’s Food Growing Strategy has established seed libraries in a bid to tackle food security by:

  • increasing local food production
  • reducing food miles

Furthermore, it will allow for varieties to adapt to the Ayrshire climate as we see climate conditions change, making for more resilient local produce.

What is a seed library?

A seed library is a store of seed.

Vegetables and herbs will be the initial focus of our seed libraries. With an emphasis on plants which grow well in Ayrshire, we'll include some heritage varieties. If you are growing something that is not in the seed library, feel free to drop in some seeds!

Seeds are held with the intent of replacing the ‘borrowed’ seed from your own produce which you have let ‘go to seed’. Ideally, you would return the same number of seeds as you 'borrowed' (or more if possible). This is to replenish the seed libraries for the next growing season.

You get to keep all the vegetables from any of the things you grow.

Do don't need to be a library member to use seed libraries

You don't need to be library member, or make a seed deposit before borrowing seeds from us. To make our seed libraries sustainable, we ask borrowers to try and deposit some seeds at the end of the growing season.

We have a collection of books about growing, sowing, and saving seeds for library members to borrow. Joining a library is free, ask at your local branch.

How to get involved

A seed library is the product of community, for the community. Seed can be collected from the following libraries:

Planted seeds in your garden, window box, flowerpot, allotment, or old wellington boots!

Allow some of your produce to ‘go to seed’. Once the seed is ripened, bring them back to one of our seed libraries. We'll record the ‘deposit’ and store for the next growing season.

How to make a seed deposit

When you bring seeds to the library to deposit, you will find envelopes and labels for you to use.

Seeds need to be:

  • completely dried out, so there is no danger of mould growing in the seed library
  • quarantined in a container for at least 3 weeks, so we don’t get any surprises a few weeks after your deposit!

The label will ask you a number of questions, such as:

  1. Type and variety of seed
  2. What town it was grown in
  3. Who saved it and in what year
  4. What month(s) to sow the seed
  5. What month(s) to save the seed
  6. Pollination type
  7. Any other notes such as: was the seed grown organically?