Seed Library

4/8/20: Due to the overwhelming response to the Seed Library mail order service, we are now out of supplies and can no longer accept orders. If we are able re-offer this service, we will let you know. Thank you for your understanding!

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A variety of seeds are available to the community, which will increase biodiversity and sustainability within our area and allow gardeners to try growing new varieties of plants with little risk. The Seed Library was generously started with funds from the Friends of the Cary Area Library.

See the list of available seeds (in spreadsheet format)

Q: Who can take seeds from the seed library?
A: CAPL cardholders only.

Q: How do I “check out” seeds?
A: Visit the Service Center, select your seeds, and fill out the Seed Sign Out Sheet in the binder. The sheet helps us keep up with inventory and may help us determine which seeds to order in the future.

Q: How many seed packets can I take?
A: We have varying quantities of seeds for each variety. Please only take what you have room to grow, and please only take one packet per type of seed to ensure availability to others. Each packet has a range of 3 to 10 seeds, depending on the variety.

Q: Do I have to return/donate seeds to be able to take seeds?
A: No, but we do appreciate donations of heirloom or open-pollinated seeds that you collect. Please remember, you should only save seeds from healthy plants. We do not knowingly accept genetically modified, hybrid, or patented seeds. If you would like to make a donation, please fill out one of our donation forms (pdf) to submit with your seeds.


General gardening resources


Seed saving

General tips:

  • Select seeds from your best plants
  • Only save seeds from open-pollinated varieties
  • Clean dry seeds (remove any chaff) before storing 
  • Place seeds in an envelope and label with the variety and date
  • Store seeds in a cool, dry, and dark place 

Saving Seeds: 7 Reasons Why and Dozens of Tips for How


Conservation resources

Illinois Extention – Lake & McHenry Counties

Illinois Department of Natural Resources