Ask Eartha: Grow your own with help of Summit County Seed Library (column) |

Ask Eartha: Grow your own with help of Summit County Seed Library (column)

The Summit County Seed Library started handing out packets to gardeners on April 1.
Summit Daily file photo |

Dear Eartha,

I saw in the paper last week that the Seed Library launched for the season on April 1. Could you tell me more about what a Seed Library is and how to get the seeds?

— Mary, Frisco

You have heard that correctly! The Summit County Seed Library opened for the season on April 1 at the Summit County Main Branch Library, in Frisco. The High Country Conservation Center has worked hard since last season to stock the library with seeds that are suited for our high alpine environment, along with some that are just fun to try to grow here in the High Country.

A seed library, as the name implies, works just like a regular library, only with seeds. Anyone with a Summit County library card can check out up to five packets of seeds from the seed library for free. The library is located in the back of the Main Branch Library and will observe the same hours of operation. You can come by to check out the seeds any time Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

The seed library checkout process is just like the process for checking out a book. You can pick the seeds you want, up to five packets per year, to grow at home or in your community garden plot. You then bring your selected seed packets to the checkout counter at the library, and the librarian will have you fill out a bit of information and check out the seeds for you. They are then yours to take home.


The High Country Conservation Center offers a variety of gardening classes throughout the season to help you get the most out of your home or community garden plot. In an effort to boost the seeds saved for the seed library, HC3 will be offering several seed-saving classes as well.

Saving seeds is an ancient practice of harvesting seeds from plants in order to have something to grow the following season. This is how farmers and gardeners used to do it before you could buy packaged seeds at the store. You’ll find several books on how to save seeds located next to the seed library. The books will be available for checkout as well.

It’s easy to save seeds from some plants, such as tomatoes and peppers; it’s more difficult with others, like carrots and nasturtiums. All of the packets in the seed library are coded to show how easy or difficult it will be to save the seeds from the plant at the end of the season. Just like the ski hills, a green circle indicates that it will be easy to save the seeds; a blue square is intermediate; and a black diamond is difficult, but still doable.

When the season is over and your seeds are saved, you will be able to return them so that next season’s gardeners can try to grow the seeds you harvested. By saving seeds year after year from the best-looking fruits, vegetables and herbs, we will be able to select for the plant genetics that are best suited for our high alpine environment.

Saving seeds is something anyone can do. From the beginner to the most experienced gardener, seed saving is a great way to get more involved with your garden and local food initiatives.

To learn more about how you can get seeds from the new Summit Seed Library check out the You can also contact the High Country Conservation Center at (970) 668-5703 or email with questions or to get more involved.

It’s time to start thinking green, Summit County. Spring is right around the corner. Whether you are a window-sill gardener, have a backyard garden or a community plot, you have got to check out the Summit Seed Library in Frisco.

Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at

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