Tag Archives: seed saving

3,663 Seed Packs!


THREE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SIXTY THREE! That’s how many seed packets our community has borrowed from Chico Seed Lending Library over the last 3 years. There was 1,500 seed packets borrowed in 2016 alone!

We keep track of this information by taking seed inventory each month (with the exception of only a few months) in order to gauge the success of the seed library overall as well as to see what kind of trends in borrowing occur over the course of the year and what types of seed people seem most interested in borrowing.


Above is a graph which illustrates seed borrowing of all types of seed per month. It’s clear that April is THE month people are most engaged in the seed library… which makes sense as this is a prime gardening month. The soil is warm so seed germinates easily and the warming weather allows plants to grow quickly.




Above are 3 graphs which illustrates each type of seed and the borrowing trends over the last 3 years. We categorize types by Cool Season, Warm Season and Flowers/Herbs/Medicinals (which also include CA native seed). This helps us see what types people are borrowing overall in certain months of the year.

This data is not perfect but does help CSLL seed librarians, who oversee the library’s seed stock, know when and what type of seed are of most use to our community which then helps to ensure we have plenty available for borrowing.

This year we will begin collecting data on seed that is Returned to the seed library as well as donations made to CSLL. If you have seed you have borrowed and wish to return some of that seed please make sure to follow the seed protocol we have in place and ensure you give your seed to the Chico Library reference desk staff so we can keep track efficiently and also provide you with a huge Thank You!

We hope our community is enjoying CSLL and we wish you all a great gardening year!

8th Annual Seed Swap


The Chico Seed Lending Library is hosting the 8th Annual Seed Swap, a community event in celebration of seed, seed saving and the joy of the approaching gardening season. This annual exchange of seed will take place on Saturday, January 28th, 2017 from 12-3pm at the Trinity United Methodist Church (285 E 5th St) in downtown Chico.

New this year, we will open up the seed swap at 11:30AM for people who have home-grown seed & seed stories to share, face to face, with local seed savers.


The Seed Swap is a free event and will include the open exchange of seed as well as plants, bulbs, and cuttings, and scion wood in a ‘potluck’ style setting. There will also be vendors with food, drinks, seed, and plants for sale in addition to local non-profits, music, and fun for all ages.

For over 7 years Chico’s Annual Seed Swap events have been a great way to bring our community together to share seed, garden ideas and farming information.  In addition to the traditional exchange of seed there will be the opportunity for participants to exchange plants and scion wood too. For those who may not know, scion wood is the top section of a healthy tree branch, typically a fruit tree, which has been cut in order to be grafted onto a different tree or root stock. Exchanging locally adapted fruit trees, in particular, is a huge asset to local food security.

The Seed Swap will also have local vendors selling plants, seeds, vegetables and other garden related items. Delicious food and drinks will be for sale, generously donated by Chico Natural Foods Cooperative. There will also be community non-profits and local groups sharing information about seed saving, gardening, agriculture, and environmental topics.


How it the Seed Swap Works: The seed exchange itself functions in the same manner as a community potluck: there will be more than 8 tables for seed each labeled with a different type, such as warm and cool season vegetables, flowers, native plants, herbs and more.  Participants place their clearly labeled bulk or packaged seed on the appropriate table then continue around to the other tables to gather seed that others have brought.  Often whole packets of seed are left on the tables, but opening them and taking only what you need and sharing the rest is in the nature of the Seed Swap.

Providing seed to share is not required but bringing your own pen and envelopes or other containers to store your new seed is a real help to everyone. The exchange of root divisions, cuttings, plants, scion wood, and garden harvests is also something people enjoy doing at the Seed Swap. This annual community event is always free and a fun way to celebrate the approaching Spring season for all members of our community.

You can Volunteer to help with the Seed Swap by signing up to work a shift or two such as set up or helping serve food. Signing up to volunteer is simple and done online at the Seed Swap iVolunteer website: http://seedvolunteer.ivolunteer.com/8thannualseedswap. Volunteers are greatly appreciated and receive a bonus for their help.

Seed Swap Hosts and Sponsors Chico Seed Lending Library (CSLL), Earthshed Solutions and the GRUB Education Program have hosted the annual Seed Swaps since its inception 8 years ago. The Trinity United Methodist Church is generously providing the location for this event and Chico Natural Foods Cooperative and Redwood Seed are both sponsoring the 8th Annual Seed Swap.



Tomato banner 8-9-16
TUESDAY, AUGUST 9th from 4:30 – 7:00pm in the meeting room of the Chico Branch of the Butte County Library (1108 Sherman Ave. Chico, CA).

Do you have tomatoes coming out of your ears?

If you do bring in some of your favorite varieties for a Tomato Tasting and Seed Saving Demonstration! You’ll learn how to process & save your tomato seed for next season and taste some delicious local tomato varieties. And even if you don’t have buckets of tomatoes come on in anyway and enjoy!

At 4:30 we’ll start with our Seed Library Orientation for those who are new or would like to know more about how to best utilize CSLL. We’ll provide information about how our seed borrowing system works, our different levels of seed saving for returning or donating true to type seed and how to advance your knowledge of seed saving in general.

Around 5pm we’ll start packing seed for our inventory and discuss our monthly seed topic which is TOMATOES!

At each and every ‘Lettuce Get Together’ you are able to:

  • Become a member of CSLL (the only requirement is to be an existing library card holder; if you’re not it’s free and easy to do!)
  • CSLL Orientation to learn how to best utilize the seed library
  • Check out up to 5 seed packs per season
  • Seed saving education and discussions (discussions include timely local gardening information)
  • Package up diverse seed varieties

We hope to see you at our ‘Lettuce Get Together’. You can join our ‘LGT’ on Facebook too!

In Seedy Abundance,

~The Chico Seed Lending Library Team
Sherri Scott, Jane Hirtel, Joan Bosque, Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper and Sarah Vantrease

(CSLL is a collaborative program lead by Earthshed Solutions, GRUB Education Program and the Butte County Library)

CSLL Logo color 2016

New Seed Varieties!


We have many new varieties of seed!


At our June ‘Lettuce Get Together’ yesterday our wonderful volunteers helped package up summer grains for CSLL members to borrow. The varieties are so unique so we thought to share a bit more about them than the simple list we have in our Seed Inventory.

CSLL LGT 6-14-16 (5)
Jobs Tears seed (Coix lacryma-jobi)

The first photo is a grain called Jobs Tears. From the Poaceae family this summer grain grows much like its relative corn. And like corn Jobs Tears do like water and are a perennial in areas with no major frost. Its beautiful seed can be used for crafts and the seed has a small hole in the center which makes it perfect for use as a bead in jewelry! It has also been used as a grain and medicine for centuries in Asia.

CSLL LGT 6-14-16 (3)
Sesame seed (Sesamum indicum)

Next is Sesame! This variety was grown and shared with CSLL by co-founder and primary seed educator, Sherri Scott.  We also have an Afghan variety donated to us from Redwood Seed. Sesame is VERY heat and drought tolerant so is a perfect grain choice for our bioregion.

As Redwood Seed tells us on their website they are, “Graceful plants produce multitudes of tan sesame seeds along tall stalks. The dried seeds taste nutty; they can be dry roasted and used whole in cooking or ground into a paste.  Beautiful white flowers are tubular.” Sesame is a gorgeous plant all on its own as one can see from the photos here.

CSLL LGT 6-14-16 (6)
Hopi Red Dye Amaranth seed

One more unique seed variety is the Hopi Red Dye Amaranth. This gorgeous amaranth plant is grown for both it’s nutritious edible greens as well as its vibrant red dye. The Hopi have mixed the plant with flour corn for centuries to make their world-renowned piki bread. Native Seeds/SEARCH tells us how to make piki bread or tortillas, “To use Hopi Red Dye for piki or tortillas, soak a large handful of flowers, leaves, and stems in water overnight in water. Mix the water with finely ground cornmeal to the desired consistency. It will result in a pink or fuchsia colored batter. Alternatively grind the flour bracts on a metate and add to cornmeal.

CSLL LGT 6-14-16 (7)

In addition to the varieties we mentioned above we have LOADS more seed for you borrow, as you can see from the photo at left. So come on in, check them out and CHECK THEM OUT!!

Thanks for supporting CSLL and have a great beginning to summer!

In Seedy Abundance,

~The Chico Seed Lending Library Team
Sherri Scott, Jane Hirtel, Joan Bosque, Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper and Sarah Vantrease
(CSLL is a collaborative program lead by Earthshed Solutions, GRUB Education Program and the Butte County Library)


7th Annual Seed Swap

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WHEN: Saturday, January 30th, 2016 from 12pm – 3pm

WHERE: Trinity United Methodist Church (285 E. 5th Street in Chico)

Join our Facebook event page!

~ Always A Free Community Event ~


  • SEED SWAP ‘Potluck’ Style
  • Plant & Scion Swap
  • Seeds & Plants For Sale
  • Community Non-Profits
  • Food & Drinks For Sale by Chico Natural Foods
  • Silent Auction (a benefit for the 8th annual seed swap)

how it works

What To Bring

  • Surplus Seeds, Bulbs, Plants, Cuttings & Scion To Exchange (please label your items)
  • Used Envelopes/Containers & Pens/Pencils

~ You Do Not Need Seeds To Attend ~

To Volunteer

We’re always looking for people to help out with this annual event. If you are interested please follow the link below.

Sign Up to Volunteer Online: http://volunteercpg.ivolunteer.com/volunteer7thannualseedswap

 For More Information

  • Sherri Scott (GRUB Education Program, CSLL) 342-3376, sherri@grubchico.org
  • Stephanie Ladwig-Cooper (Earthshed Solutions, CSLL) 828-6390, modcpg@gmail.Com
JP seed swap1
Carpooling or Riding Bikes is Encouraged

Hosted By

Sponsored By

~ Always A Free Community Event ~


A special shout out of thanks and gratitude to the seed companies below that DONATED SEED for our 7th Annual Seed Swap! Please consider utilizing them for your future seed needs!

Adaptive Seeds


BCHS rareseeds logo





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At the Seed Swap please consider donating through the jars on tables or through our Silent Auction! Thank you!

‘Lettuce Get Together’ Planting Peas 11/18/2014

planting peas banner

Join us Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 for a Planting Peas garden discussion!

During our ‘Lettuce Get Together’ in November we will package up seed for members to borrow as well as talk about the different varieties of peas and winter legumes you can plant this time of year and the best methods to growing them for both eating and seed saving.

DATE: 11/18/14  

TIME: 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Chico Branch, Butte County Library, 1108 Sherman Ave. Chico, CA

PLEASE NOTE: We meet in the main part of the library right next to the seed library.

[Due to Veterans Day and BC Library closure we will host this on the third Tuesday, November 18th. We will be back on schedule in December for the second Tuesday of the month, December 9th.]