Find the Bowen Island Seed Library display inside the Bowen Island Public Library during our open hours.
- Please take only what you need
- Seeds are free but please let some of the plants go to seed, save seeds, and donate seeds back for future gardeners!
- The library will accept donations of seeds (homegrown or store-bought, small amounts or bulk) to keep this initiative going. It is preferred that donations are in individual packages, but volunteers will put seeds into packages if you are unable to. We accept open-pollinated (non-hybrid/F1) seeds.
Keep the Seed Library Going!
Grow Your Plants. Research what your seeds will need to grow successfully & let some of each of your plants go to seed naturally.
Learn to Save Seed. Harvest, dry, and package the seeds. Depending on the plant, it may develop seeds the same year (annuals) or the following year (biennials).
Stay Organized. Label envelopes with the date, seed type, and variety (if known).
Store Seeds & Keep Them Dry. Place the envelopes inside Mason jars (or any type of glass jar that has a tight-fitting lid). To soak up any moisture, place a silica gel packet or some raw rice in your glass jar and replace it every six months. Keep jars in a cool, dry, dark location. If you store the seeds properly, they should remain viable for at least 1-3 years (or longer, but the germination rate diminishes over time.)
Donate Your Extra Seeds back to the Seed Library! Package them in small envelopes labeled with the seed type and year harvested. We have envelopes available if you require, or fold your own from squares of paper. Alternately, if you’re short on time, bring in bulk seeds and volunteers can package them for you.
- Bowen Library’s book, magazine, eBook, and eMagazine collection includes many resources on seed-saving and gardening. Search the catalogue online or ask staff for assistance.
- Linda Gilkeson, a local author and gardener, has free online advice, an e-newsletter as well as books (books and eBook available at Bowen Library). You can find a PDF presentation called “Save Your Own Seeds” on her Presentations webpage.
- Bowen Island Farmers’ Markets often sell edible starts and plants as well as produce from local farms and gardens.
- Bowen Gardeners Facebook group—very supportive of new gardeners!
- Salt Spring Seeds has a comprehensive page on seed saving.
- West Coast Seeds has a great deal of online information including planting charts.
- Learn about the origins of the Seed Library in this Bowen Island Undercurrent article.
The Bowen Island Seed Library is made possible thanks to a collaboration between the Bowen Island Public Library and volunteers from Bowen Agricultural Alliance, the Bowen Island Community School Student Garden Club, and the Bowen Gardeners Facebook group, and thanks to donations from local seed companies and you!
Our seed donors are:
- Salt Spring Seeds
- West Coast Seeds
- Bowen Island Community School Garden Club
- Bowen Island Agriculture Alliance
- Bowen Island Food Resilience Society / Grafton Commons Garden
- And many Bowen Islanders who bring us their saved seed!