The Newcastle Seed Library has expanded and it’s now easier than ever to collect and donate your seeds!
The Newcastle Seed Library is a community seed sharing project. Thanks to community donations, we offer free seeds for library members at the Digital Library, Lambton Library and Wallsend Library. Seed donations are always welcome.
The Seed Library benefits individuals and the community. You can obtain free seeds for your garden and help build a collection of seeds for others.
Sharing seeds through the Seed Library will help preserve rare, tasty and heritage varieties for gardeners in our community. Through the return of successful seeds, over time a collection adapted to local conditions (climate, pests, soils, etc) can be achieved, strengthening the biodiversity and food security of our local community.
Growing from the Seed Library is a great way to teach children about the life cycle of plants, while learning new seed-saving skills yourself.
How do I get involved?
Borrow and grow, then harvest and share!
- Members of Newcastle Libraries can access the Seed Library from Wallsend Library, Lambton Library and the Digital Library and take home some FREE seeds
- Make sure your seeds are cleaned, then put them in an envelope with information about the seed type, variety (if known), the month/year harvested, what suburb they were harvested in, when to plant, and some brief planting notes, and hand them to library staff at the customer service desk
- Watch our handy short video tutorial below to learn how to prepare seeds for storage. You'll learn about cleaning seeds (winnowing, fermentation, etc); how to tell if a seed is worth saving and how to get the longest life from your seeds
Grow, then harvest and share
- After growing in your garden, harvest and return seeds for others to borrow
- Seasonal seeds are available. Note that stock levels vary as most seeds are donated by the community. Subscribe to the seasonal newsletter or follow Newcastle Seed Libraries on Facebook for updates on current stock
More For Members
- Seeds are locally grown and FREE for the community
- You can obtain FREE seeds for your garden and help build a collection of seeds for others
- Seeds can be used by individuals and the community
- You can learn new skills with our online video help series: Save the right seeds, Prepare seeds for storage, Monitor seed quality and Grow from seeds. Find these further down this page
- Seeds can now be donated at all Newcastle Libraries branches!
Stay in touch
What seeds are available?
Seasonal seeds are available. Stock levels vary as many seeds are donated by the community. To find out what seeds are available, subscribe to the quarterly Newcastle Seed Library eNewsletter or follow Newcastle Seed Libraries on Facebook.
Resources to build your seed saving skills
View our video series presented by Lachlan Storrie from Tree Frog Permaculture. All videos are subtitled.
Video 1: Saving the right seeds
– Supporting genetic diversity → Open pollinated, heritage varieties.
– Which plant and fruit should I collect the seed from?
Video 2: Preparing seeds for storage
– Cleaning seeds (winnowing, fermentation, etc)
– How to tell if a seed is worth saving.
– Getting the longest life from your seeds.
Video 3: Monitoring seed quality
– How to tell if a seed is still healthy and viable. (viability testing)
– Maintaining seed-bank stocks, packaging and sharing.
Video 4: Growing from seed
– What seeds like to grow - how, when, and where?
– Depth of planting and special requirements.
Check out these info sheets about growing from seed:
Newcastle Seed Library Info Sheet (PDF) Newcastle Seed Library Info Sheet (DOC)
Harvesting 101 (PDF) Harvesting 101 (DOC)
Why open pollinated seeds (PDF) Why open pollinated seeds (DOC)
Build your seed saving skills with these books available at Newcastle Libraries:
- Seed collection of Australian native plants: for revegetation, tree planting and direct seeding / Ralph, Murray.
- Australian rainforest seeds : a guide to collecting, processing and propagation / Dunphy, Mark.
- The seed savers' handbook / Fanton, Michel.
- The new seed-starters handbook / Bubel, Nancy.
- Seed libraries : [e-book] and other means of keeping seeds in the hands of the people / Conner, Cindy.
- The complete guide to saving seeds: 322 vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruits, trees and shrubs / Gough, Robert E. (Robert Edward).
- Growing Australian native plants from seed : for revegetation, tree planting and direct seeding / Ralph, Murray.
- Seed to seed food gardens in schools / Fanton, Jude.
- The seedling that didn't want to grow / Teckentrup, Britta (ages 3-7)
- The tiny seed / Carle, Eric, (junior)
- Grace's mystery seed / Sampson, Juliet M., (2-6 yo)
- Bloom / Skinner, Nicola, (10 yo +)
- All about seeds / Throp, Claire, (juvenile literature)
- Seeds / McMullen, Gemma, (juvenile literature)
- Trees, leaves, flowers & seeds : a visual encyclopedia of the plant kingdom / Jose, Sarah, (ages 9+)
- If you hold a seed / MacKay, Elly (junior)