The Seed Library invites community members to check out up to three (3) packages of seeds for your household to try out in your garden or window sill. Note that seeds are available at all branches on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Growing your seeds

The information below was retrieved from The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the Ontario Seed Company. Click on each seed type for detailed instructions on how to grow them.

Amaranth (Callaloo)

The variety provided in our Seed Library is “Red Garnet Amaranth” from Ontario Seed Company.

Amaranth can be started indoors and transplanted or sown directly outside.

  • Start seeds indoors in May, at least 3 weeks before plant out time:
    • Sow thinly and evenly and cover with a fine seed starting formula
    • Water gently, keeping soil moist
    • As soon as seeds emerge (approx. 10-14 days), put in a warm spot with lots of light
    • Once danger of frost has passed, harden off the plants and transplant outside in a sunny spot
    • Space seedlings 45 cm (16”) apart
  • Or, sow seeds directly outside when the soil reaches 21°C:
    • Select a location with full sun
    • Plant 3 mm (⅛ ") deep and space 5 cm (2") apart 
    • Thin seedlings to 45 cm (16”) in rows 60 cm (24”) apart
    • Germination occurs between 10-20 days
    • Water gently and evenly

Arugula

The variety provided in our Seed Library is “Arugula Seeds (Roquette)” from Ontario Seed Company.

  • To grow indoors:
    • Choose pots or containers with drainage holes at least 4-6" deep
    • Fill containers with a well-draining potting mix, leaving about 1” of space at the top
    • Plant ⅛ to ¼” deep and 1-2" apart
    • Place containers in a warm area that gets lots of sunlight (about 6 hours a day is best)
    • Water gently, ensuring soil is moist by not soggy
    • Germination should occur in about one week
  • To grow outdoors:
    • Choose a sunny site in mid-to-late May once danger of frost has passed 
    • Sow seeds 6 mm (1/4″) deep and 2.5 cm (1″) apart 
    • Thin to 30 cm (12″) apart
    • Water gently and evenly
    • Sow new seeds every 2 to 3 weeks for a continuous harvest 

Basil

The variety provided in our Seed Library is “Sweet Basil” from Ontario Seed Company.

  • To grow indoors:
    • Fill containers with well-draining, fertile soil
    • Sow 2-3 seeds ¼ inch deep
    • Place in a warm, sunny window avoiding drafts, and rotate when the plants start to grow
    • Keep soil moist, but not soaking
  • To grow outdoors
    • Sow outdoors in a sunny spot, mid-to-late May (once the soil has warmed to at least 10°C), then every two weeks through August 
    • Plant seeds ¼ inch deep, 2-3 seeds per inch
    • Lightly feed with a general-purpose fertilizer
    • Water gently

Beets

The variety provided in our Seed Library is “Bull’s Blood Beet” from Ontario Seed Company.

  • Choose a site that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day
  • Sow seeds 1.2 cm (1/2″) deep and 2.5 cm (1″) apart in sandy loam with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5
  • For continual harvest, sow seeds in two week intervals beginning when the soil has warmed to 7°
  • Avoid sowing after mid-July
  • Thin seedlings to 7–10 cm (3–4″) apart  
  • Water regularly

Bitter Gourd

The variety provided in our Seed Library is “Bitter Gourd or Bitter Melon Oriental Greens” from Ontario Seed Company.

Refer to this helpful guide provided by Shade of Miti farm for the best advice when growing bitter gourd.

Carrots

The variety provided with the Seed Library is “Nantes Coreless Carrot” from Ontario Seed Company.

  • Mix seeds with some sand when sowing
  • Once soil temperature rises above 7.5°C, sow seed about 7-15 mm (¼ - ½ ″) deep in rows spaced 45-60 cm (18-24″) apart 
  • Sow seeds at 5-day intervals over several weeks
  • Keep the seedbed evenly moist during the 2-week germination period; avoid over watering during this time
  • Thin the seedlings during the early stages of growth until they are 5 cm (2″) apart
  • Keep the plants evenly watered, weed free, and avoid high nitrogen fertilizers
  • Harvest any time after the carrot roots develop good colour

Cayenne Peppers

The variety provided in our Seed Library is “Long Red Cayenne Pepper” from Ontario Seed Company.

  • Start indoors in late winter or early spring
  • Use a soilless seed starting growing mix
  • Sow 1 to 2 seeds 6 mm (1/4″) deep
  • For best results, grow the seedlings under bright light and temperatures of 16-21°C 
  • Keep soil moist
  • Transplant after hardening off in late May to early June
  • Full sun and a well-drained soil is best
  • Space the plants 30 cm (12″) apart in rows spaced 60 cm (24″) apart
  • Control weeds and avoid high nitrogen fertilizers
  • Try harvesting the peppers at different maturities to experience a wider range of flavours and textures
  • Staking is recommended

Chives

The variety provided in our Seed Library is “Organic Chive” from Ontario Seed Company.

  • To grow indoors:
    • Choose pots or containers that are at least 15 cm (6") deep with drainage holes
    • Fill pots or containers with a well-draining potting mix that is labeled for indoor vegetable and herb growing
    • Place in a sunny spot (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight is best)
    • Plant ¼ inch deep
    • Water gently, keeping soil moist
  • To grow outdoors:
    • Sow seeds in a sunny spot outdoors in mid to late May to June, after danger of frost has passed 
    • Plant ¼ inch deep, 2” apart, and cover with a thin layer of soil
    • Thin seedlings to 4-6” apart in all directions
    • Water regularly
    • Note: Too much fertilizer can have a negative effect on taste

Cilantro/Coriander

The variety provided in our Seed Library is “Cilantro Coriander” from Ontario Seed Company.

  • To grow indoors:
    • Choose pots or containers with drainage holes 
    • Fill pots or containers with a well-draining potting mix that is labeled for indoor vegetable and herb growing
    • Sow 3-5 seeds into potting mix about 1-3 times deeper than the size of the seed
    • Place in a warm, sunny spot (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight is best)
    • Water gently and keep moist
    • When they have grown 1-2 ", remove all but the most robust seedling
  • To grow outdoors:
    • Sow directly outdoors in a sunny spot after danger of frost has passed
    • Plant seeds in light, well-drained soil and space them 3-4 cm (1-2") apart in rows 30 cm (12") apart
    • Sow at 3-week intervals for a continual harvest 
    • Water regularly
    • Thin the seedlings to 15 cm (6") apart 
    • Once plants are established, keep moist and avoid overwatering

Okra

The variety provided with the Seed Library is “Okra” from Ontario Seed Company. Refer to this helpful guide provided by Shade of Miti farm for the best advice when growing okra.

Peas

The variety provided with the Seed Library is “Early Frosty Pea” from Ontario Seed Company.

  • Choose a sunny spot
  • Sow from early April through to mid-May when the soil temperature is between 10-16°C 
  • Sow in double rows spaced 25 cm (10") with the seed 6.5 cm (2.5 ") apart within the row and 1.25-2.5 cm (1/2-1 ") deep 
  • Space each set of double rows 75 cm (2.5′) apart
  • Keep the soil evenly moist during the germination period
  • Stake or support plants for easier picking 
  • Avoid the use of high nitrogen fertilizers
  • Once flowering starts, keep the plants well watered to produce a good harvest
  • As the pods mature, pick daily to enjoy their peak flavour and to encourage more pods to form

Tomato

The variety provided with the Seed Library is “Beefsteak Tomato” from Ontario Seed Company.

  • Sow seeds indoors about 6-8 weeks before last spring frost date 
  • Use a peat moss-based growing mix for germination and growing seedlings
  • The temperature of the seeding mix should be 21-24°C for prompt germination
  • In late May, harden off and transplant into well-drained organic soil 
  • Space plants 90 cm (36") apart
  • Plant in full sun and keep plants well-watered, applying the water to the soil rather than showering down over the plants

Saving and donating your seeds 

Donating harvested seeds to Brampton Library

In addition to taking up to three packaged seeds, in 2025 you will also be able to borrow the “Try It Out” seeds, donated by members who saved their seeds from the harvest they grew from their 2024 Seed Library seeds. Check back here and follow us on social media for alerts on when we will start accepting seeds if you would like to donate.

How to save your seeds 

  1. Cleaning your seeds
  2. Drying your seeds
  3. Storing your seeds

Further resources

Environmental resources | Brampton Library

How to save seeds: Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and more | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Seed saving & gardening resources | Seeds of Diversity

How to harden off plants | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Types of soil in the garden | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Optimum soil pH | The Old Farmer's Almanac

A beginner’s guide to thinning seedlings: When, why and how | The Seed Collection

Building trellises and supports for climbing vegetables | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Share your experience

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