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Seed Library Growing Companion: Home

Lists of books and resources on starting, growing and harvesting vegetables and flowers in your own back yard! Created in conjunction with the Davenport Library Seed Library.


The Seed Library is open for the 2024 season! Come get your seeds between March 1st and September 30th.

This resource contains links to a variety of books, articles and other information that provide inspiration and education on home gardening in support of the Davenport Library Seed Library. Here you will find information about Vegetables, Flowers, Seed Starting, Harvesting and Microgreens as well as information about our seed sources - Seed Saver's Exchange and Johnny's Selected Seeds.

Heirloom Seeds

What is an heirloom vegetable or plant?

“An heirloom variety is a plant variety that has a history of being passed down within a family or community, similar to the generational sharing of heirloom jewelry or furniture.

“An heirloom variety must be open-pollinated, but not all open-pollinated plants are heirlooms. While some companies create heirloom labels based on dates (such as a variety that is more than 50 years old), Seed Savers Exchange identifies heirlooms by verifying and documenting the generational history of preserving and passing on the seed.”

                                                                               -from Seed Savers Exchange

Davenport's Seed Library

The purpose of the Davenport Public Library Seed Library is to serve as a resource for the community, to promote lifelong learning, and to encourage good stewardship of natural resources

The Seed Library is free to use! There are no costs to take seeds, plus no library card is required to use the See Library.

There is a limit of five (5) seed packets per month per household.

We ask that seed borrowers record their name and the name of the seeds being checked out for statistical purposes and continuous improvement.

Patrons are not required to return any saved seeds to the Library, but may if they wish.

We accept donated seeds but prefer clean, open-pollinated or heirloom seeds.

Please share your gardening success when using seeds from the Seed Library! Add #dplseeds and tag us @davenportlibrary wherever you post!

Hardiness Zones

What are “hardiness zones”? What zone is Davenport?

The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones.

                                               -from the United States Department of Agriculture

Davenport, Iowa (as well as most of Iowa and northern Illinois) is located in Zone 5 which means that plants rated as Zone 5 or lower will survive an average winter in this area.

Hardiness Zone Map

Hardiness Zone Map - Iowa

Hardiness Zone Map - Illinois

Open Pollinated Seeds

What does “open pollinated” mean?

“Open-pollination is when pollination occurs by insect, bird, wind, humans, or other natural mechanisms.

“Because there are no restrictions on the flow of pollen between individuals, open-pollinated plants are more genetically diverse. This can cause a greater amount of variation within plant populations, which allows plants to slowly adapt to local growing conditions and climate year-to-year. As long as pollen is not shared between different varieties within the same species, then the seed produced will remain true-to-type year after year.”

                                                                                -from Seed Savers Exchange