Beloit Clinton Edgerton Evansville Janesville  Milton Orfordville

Our mission

The ALS Seed Library encourages gardening and seed saving as a means of providing our  community a fun and affordable source of nutritious sustainable food.

Why heirloom seeds

There are a number of reasons the ALS seed library chose heirloom seeds:

  • Heirlooms have exceptional flavor and nutrition.
  • You can save the seed from one year to the next because heirlooms are open pollinated.
  • These varieties grow well in Wisconsin.
  • The produce will ripen over a period of time; making for a longer harvest.

Gardening questions

Contact the Rock County UW-Extension office (608) 757-5696 to be connected with a Master Gardener volunteer.

Seed harvesting instructions

A little advance planning will ensure your seeds produce new plants that are true to type and germinate well.

Step 1: Choose open-pollinated seeds
Avoid hybrids (often marked F1). They produce seeds, but the new plants may be very different. (All our heirloom varieties are open-pollinated.)

Step 2: Plant for growing seeds
Learn how your varieties are pollinated and which isolation techniques you may want to use. This could be as simple as choosing only one type of bean or tomato.

Step 3: Harvest and process right
Learn the right growth stage to collect your seeds. After harvest, most need only a little drying time. Tomato seeds need to ferment a little before drying (good, icky fun).

Step 4: Label, label, label!
Include the variety and the date. If you have more than one variety of the same vege, be sure to label each when harvested.

Step 5: Store in a cool, dry place.
Heat and humidity shorten seed life. A glass jar in a cool location or the refrigerator is great.

Free 6-week online gardening classes

How it works: borrowing basics

Step 1: Check Out Check out up to five seed packets.

Step 2: Cultivate Plant the seeds, let them grow, and enjoy your harvest!

Step 3: Harvest & Preparation Review the seed harvesting instructions.

Step 4: Save and Return Seeds Save a portion of seeds that you will plant next year, then label and return the remaining portion to the seed library to be checked out next spring.

Your help makes this program grow!


Possible 2018 varieties offered

Beans

  • Provider Bush 50 d
    high early yields, does well in adverse conditions, excel-lent for preservation
  • Jade Bush 56 d
    great yields, beans will produce until late in the season
  • Royal Burgundy Bush 55 d
    purple outside, disease resistant, green when cooked
  • Kentucky Wonder Pole 68 d
    6’-8’, needs staking, very tasty & productive

Herbs

  • Dill, Bouquet 55 d
    large ferns, use the leaves for dill weed
  • Cilantro, Caribe 55 d
    use fresh leaves in African, Asian and Latin cooking; seeds are for coriander.

Flowers

  • Sunflower, Summer Sensation 65 d
    5’ tall, 8” flower, snacking, pollinator friendly
  • Zinnia, State Fair Mix 90 d
    30” tall, large vibrant dahlia type blooms,
    good for cutting

Peas

  • Topps 60 d
    3’ tall, sweet, superior for freezing
  • Lincoln Shell 70 d
    3’ tall, sweetest pea, great for fresh garden grazing
  • Sugarsnap Snap 68 d
    5’-7’ tall, vines, incomparable flavor
  • Oregon Giant Snow 60 d
    3’-4’ tall, vines need support, stir fry & fresh favorite

Peppers

These seeds need to be started indoors and then transplanted outdoors.

  • Pepper, Beaver Dam Hot 80 d
    6” fruit, sweet with heat
  • Pepper, King of the North 70 d
    Sweet, Blocky red bell type

Tomatoes

These seeds need to be started indoors and then transplanted outdoors.

  • Amish Paste 75 d
    large 8 oz. paste tomato, great fresh & cooked
  • Principe Borghese 75 d
    Cherry, De-terminate, fresh eating & drying
  • Tiffen Mennonite 86 d
    large 13 oz. pink fruit, superb for sandwiches
  • Cherokee Purple 77 d
    10oz. fruits, rich sweet flavor, dusky colored

This program is supported by a grant applied for by the Rock Prairie Association of Master Gardeners. Photos and plant descriptions courtesy of Fedco Seeds.