Ruiz Makes Gardening Easier With Free Seeds

“Free seeds?  No way!”  That is how most people react when they hear about the free Seed Library at the Ruiz Branch of the Kansas City Public Library.  Day after day, people walk through the Ruiz doors, look at the collection of seeds, experience a case of “free seed shock,” and then decide to “dig in” and do some gardening using our free resources.

The staff loves watching this, considering our goal at Ruiz is to make gardening and healthy eating easy and accessible to all - and since we checked out more than 2,000 packets of seeds last year, it seems like lots of Kansas Citians are making gardening and healthy eating their priority as well. 

If you would like to join the trend, here is how the Ruiz Seed Library works:
 
What is the Ruiz Seed Library?
The Ruiz Seed Library began in 2014 and offers free fruit, vegetable, herb, and flower seeds to all library patrons.  Additionally, the Seed Library houses a special collection of gardening books, which are available for checkout, subscribes to several gardening magazines, has created gardening-related programs for children, and offers free monthly gardening workshops to gardeners of all skill levels. ­
 
  
 
  

     
 How does it work?
Simply stop by the Ruiz Branch and browse through our collection of seeds.  With your library card, you can check out whatever seeds you would like to plant, and then take them home.  Each packet of seeds comes with brief instructions about planting and care to help you get started. 

As the plant reaches maturity at the end of its growing season, collect the seeds, dry them out, place them in an envelope, and return them to the Ruiz Branch along with a seed intake sheet. This will help re-stock the Seed Library for the next season.
 
 
Where do the seeds come from?
The seeds in the Ruiz Seed Library come from multiple sources including individuals, urban farms, seed exchanges, and seed companies.  We do our best to guarantee that all seed coming into the seed library is non-GMO.  We also germination test many of our seeds to ensure that we are providing the best possible product to our patrons.
 

 
What kinds of seeds does the Seed Library offer?
The Seed Library offers all types of fruit, vegetable, herb and flower seeds.  Since we are constantly adding new seeds, it is fun to check back often to see what’s new!  Last year, a local urban farm even donated dozens of beautiful tomato plants, which were quickly checked out to many lucky patrons. 

This year we plan to add several types of milkweed seed and more native flower seeds to our collection.
 
How can I contribute to the seed library?
Donating to the Seed Library is quick and easy.  Just bring your seeds in to the Ruiz Branch and fill out a short seed intake sheet for each type of seed you are donating.  That’s it.  We will clean the seeds, test them, and prepare them for packaging. 
 
How can I learn more about the Ruiz Seed Library?
To explore more about the Ruiz Seed Library, visit kclibrary.org/seedlibrary

To learn about our April workshop, Making Snacks and Soups From Garden Produce, click here.

Other questions?  Contact Amy Morris, Ruiz Branch Supervisor, at 816-701-3565 or amymorris@kclibrary.org