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Seed Library

Welcome Back Spring by Checking Out the Eight Seed Varieties at the 2021 Seed Library!

The T.B. Scott Free Library will once again be checking out heirloom seeds for FREE to library card holders. Seed varieties for this year include Bountiful Beans, Parade Cucumbers, Sutton’s Harbinger Peas, Black Krim Tomatoes, Table Queen Squash, Thyme, Chioggia Beets, and the only repeat, Minnesota Midget Melons. Varieties are chosen for their short growing period and their suitability for small spaces. “We try to choose seeds with a proven track record in this growing zone and all of our seed choices are suitable for either growing in your yard garden or in containers,” says Seed Librarian Elizabeth McCrank, “so even renters or people with limited space can take advantage of the seeds on offer.” Seed varieties are rotated every third year to ensure an ever-changing range of plants.

The principle behind the seed library is simple: library patrons check out their choice of seeds, enjoy the growing season all summer long, then “return” a portion of the seeds that they collect from their fall harvest so that those seeds can be used for next year’s crop of seed borrowers. Borrowers are free – and encouraged – to keep the bulk of the seeds they collect so as to have them for the next year’s planting. Because all of the seeds are open pollinated, heirloom seeds, borrowers only need to get each variety of seeds once in order to have (hopefully) many years of crops going forward. Over time, borrowers can amass a large range of seeds which both saves the gardeners’ money and helps to preserve a diversity of fruit and vegetable crops beyond the hybrid standards that grocery stores are often limited to. All of the seeds chosen come from the Seed Saver’s Exchange, an Iowa-based non-profit whose goal is to preserve and promote plant diversity in home gardens.

The 2021 Seeds are available for checkout!

If you prefer curbside pickup, request your seeds by calling 715-536-7191.

Explore the eight different varieties of seeds available this year

Bountiful Bean

Bountiful Bean

In 1898 Abel Steele of Ferguson, Ontario won a $25.00 prize for naming this new variety from Peter Henderson & Company, previously known as “New Green Bush Bean No. 1.” Heavy crops of excellent quality, brittle, stringless 6-7″ pods. Productive plants grow up to 18″ tall. Sprawling bush habit, snap, 45-50 days, the shortest growing season of all bean plants!

Parade Cucumber

Parade Cucumber

Popular Russian variety. Heavy set of uniform fruits that mature at relatively the same time, making it a good processing variety. Fruits are 5″ long by 2″ in diameter, one of the favorites at the Seed Savers’ Heritage Farm. Resistant to extreme weather conditions. 50-60 days.

Sutton's Harbinger Pea

Sutton's Harbinger Pea

English introduction by Suttons Seeds in 1898; won an Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1901. This is a very early heavy-cropping variety, an excellent quality eating pea. Plants are 28-32″ tall. Shell, 52-60 days.

Black Krim Tomato

Black Krim Tomato

This tomato was voted an Outstanding of All-Time Variety by the members of the Seed Savers’ Exchange!

Also called Black Crimea and introduced to SSE by Lars Olov Rosenstrom of Sweden. Originally from the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea. Beefsteak fruits are a unique combination of violet-brown and purple-red—they turn almost black with sufficient sunlight and heat. Excellent full flavor. Indeterminate, 70-90 days from transplant.

Table Queen Squash

Table Queen Squash

(C. pepo) (aka Des Moines, or Danish Squash) This variety set the standard for Acorn squash and started the rage for small individual fall squashes. Introduced by the Iowa Seed Company of Des Moines, Iowa in 1913. Petite (1 pound), furrowed, soft shelled, high quality fruits with sweet orange flesh. Excellent for baking. 80-90 days.

Minnesota Midget Melon

Minnesota Midget Melon

Extra-early variety bred by the University of Minnesota at St. Paul in 1948; introduced by Farmer Seed and Nursery Company. Capable of producing two crops—an excellent choice for northern gardeners. Vines seldom over 3′ long; suitable for growing in containers. Round 4″ fruits have thick golden-yellow flesh that is edible to the rind and deliciously sweet. Resistant to fusarium wilt. 60-75 days.

Chioggia Beet

Chioggia Beet

Also known as Bassano, a fishing town near Venice, this historical Italian variety has been grown in the United States since at least 1865 and is noted for its alternating red-and-white concentric rings that resemble a bull’s-eye. Chioggia beets are wonderful for both fresh eating and pickling. Beets retains these markings if roasted whole and sliced just before serving. 50 days.

Thyme

Thyme Herb

(Thymus vulgaris) One of the most versatile herbs used in cooking, can be used to season any meat or vegetable. Plants grow 6-12″ tall with a sprawling habit. Can be perennial in zones 5-8 or in containers brought inside to over-winter.

Produce photos and seed information courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange

Explore the eight different varieties of seeds available this year.  (Hover over each image for details)

Sutton's Harbinger Pea

English introduction by Suttons Seeds in 1898; won an Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1901. This is a very early heavy-cropping variety, an excellent quality eating pea. Plants are 28-32″ tall. Shell, 52-60 days.

Black Krim Tomato

Also called Black Crimea and introduced to SSE by Lars Olov Rosenstrom of Sweden. Originally from the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea. Beefsteak fruits are a unique combination of violet-brown and purple-red—they turn almost black with sufficient sunlight and heat. Excellent full flavor. Indeterminate, 70-90 days from transplant.

Table Queen Squash

(C. pepo) (aka Des Moines, or Danish Squash) This variety set the standard for Acorn squash and started the rage for small individual fall squashes. Introduced by the Iowa Seed Company of Des Moines, Iowa in 1913. Petite (1 pound), furrowed, soft shelled, high quality fruits with sweet orange flesh. Excellent for baking. 80-90 days.

Minnesota Midget Melon

Extra-early variety bred by the University of Minnesota at St. Paul in 1948; introduced by Farmer Seed and Nursery Company. Capable of producing two crops—an excellent choice for northern gardeners. Vines seldom over 3′ long; suitable for growing in containers. Round 4″ fruits have thick golden-yellow flesh that is edible to the rind and deliciously sweet. Resistant to fusarium wilt. 60-75 days.

Thyme

(Thymus vulgaris) One of the most versatile herbs used in cooking, can be used to season any meat or vegetable. Plants grow 6-12″ tall with a sprawling habit. Can be perennial in zones 5-8 or in containers brought inside to over-winter.

Bountiful Bean

In 1898 Abel Steele of Ferguson, Ontario won a $25.00 prize for naming this new variety from Peter Henderson & Company, previously known as “New Green Bush Bean No. 1.” Heavy crops of excellent quality, brittle, stringless 6-7″ pods. Productive plants grow up to 18″ tall. Sprawling bush habit, snap, 45-50 days, the shortest growing season of all bean plants!

Chioggia Beet

Also known as Bassano, a fishing town near Venice, this historical Italian variety has been grown in the United States since at least 1865 and is noted for its alternating red-and-white concentric rings that resemble a bull’s-eye. Chioggia beets are wonderful for both fresh eating and pickling. Beets retains these markings if roasted whole and sliced just before serving. 50 days.

Parade Cucumber

Popular Russian variety. Heavy set of uniform fruits that mature at relatively the same time, making it a good processing variety. Fruits are 5″ long by 2″ in diameter, one of the favorites at the Seed Savers’ Heritage Farm. Resistant to extreme weather conditions. 50-60 days.

Produce photos and seed information courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange

Recommended Resources Available at Your Library

Container Gardening for the Midwest
by William Aldrich and Don Williamson with Alison Beck and Laura Peters

Instant Container Gardens
by Pamela Crawford

Gardening with Heirloom Seeds
by Lynn Coulter

Vertical Gardening
by Derek Fell

Starting from Seed
by Jack Kramer

T.B. Scott Free Library
106 West First Street
Merrill, WI 54452

Telephone (715) 536 - 7191

Fax (715) 536 - 1705

Monday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wednesday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Sunday: Closed

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