Our Seed Library is about….
Educating the community in the art of growing, harvesting and saving seeds.
Creating and developing a community sustained collection of seeds that are well suited to our climate.
Promoting sustainability in our community, and nurturing a culture of sharing and abundance.
Please call the library at 908-876-3596 for details.
How Does the Seed Library Work?
Are You New to Seed Saving?
Start with seeds that are labeled “easy.” These seeds are great for beginners and produce plants like the ones you planted. We recommend you start with these:
The seeds that are labeled “advanced” require special planning to preserve varietal purity. If certain precautions are not taken with them, the next grower will not get the same plant. We want to ensure that the seeds you return to the library are indeed what they claim to be. So please borrow “advanced” seeds only after you have learned about isolating plants to prevent cross-pollination.
Seed Library Organization
The seeds are organized into two categories: “Easy to Save” and “Advanced.” This refers to the seed-saving aspect of each plant, not the growing ease or difficulty of the plant. If you are new to seed saving, we recommend you start with seeds in the “Easy to Save” drawers.
Within the categories, the seeds are arranged alphabetically by common name and then alphabetically by variety. For example:
|Common name: Tomato||Variety: Red Cherry|
How to Borrow Seeds
Choose up to 5 packets of seeds. Take a brochure on “How to Save Seeds.” Sign out the seeds you are checking out. Please provide us with your name, your contact information and the seeds you “borrowed.”
How to Donate and Return Seeds
Saved seeds should be returned to the library by November 30. If you are unable to return “saved seeds,” we request the borrowed seeds be replaced with the following:
- The same variety of heirloom or non-GMO/open-pollinated seed from a commercial grower
- Another non-GMO/open-pollinated variety of the seed
Remember: In order for the Seed Library to be self-sustaining, borrowed seeds need to be replaced.
- Visit www.wtpl.org/seedlibrary.htm .
- Take a seed-saving class.
- Join the seedsavers.org forum.
- Borrow books about seed saving from your library.
- Talk to experienced seed-saving gardeners.
- Keep good garden records.
The Seed Library has obtained numerous donations from a variety of seed companies. Thank you to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Beauty Beyond Belief, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Peaceful Valley, Territorial Seed Company, Seed Savers Exchange and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
The 2018 list of programs can be found 2018 here.
Super-Easy Seed Saving
Basic Seed-Saving Guidelines
- Plan your garden to reduce cross-pollination by using isolation distances below.
- Always save seeds from the healthiest, “true-to-type” plants.
- Select seeds for different characteristics such as size, taste, and disease resistance.
- Don’t save seeds from hybrids.
- Label your garden and packets.
- Never plant all of your seeds in one year.
Great Plants for Beginner Seed Savers!
Peas & Beans (Legumes)
Plant: To ensure varietal purity, isolate different varieties of beans by 100 ft and peas by 50 ft.
Harvest: Let beans and peas dry on the vine until crispy. Collect. Shell.
Know your bean species: If you know the scientific name of your bean, then you can plant one of each species and not have to worry about cross-pollination. Ex. Fava beans (Vicia faba) can be planted right next to Kentucky wonder beans (Phaseolus vulgaris).
Plant: Isolate different varieties of lettuce by 10 ft.
Harvest: Let lettuce bolt. When half the flowers have turned white & fluffy, cut off the stalk and put upside down in a brown paper bag to dry. Remove chaff.
Plant: Isolate different varieties of sunflowers by ¼ mile! Other strategies are to plant lots of the same variety of sunflower and rub your hand over the flowers to increase self-pollination.
Harvest: Let sunflower head dry on plant. Collect seeds.
Plant: Isolate different varieties by 10 ft.
Harvest: Collect ripe tomatoes. Squeeze pulp and seeds into a jar. Let ferment 2-3 days until a mold forms. Add water. Pour off mold, floating seeds and any pulp. Viable seeds will sink. Repeat until water is clear. Put on a labeled paper to dry.
Plant: Isolate different varieties by 400 ft. Peppers will cross!
Harvest: Remove seeds from fully ripened peppers. Use gloves, if hot. Dry.
Credit: With thanks to Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library
Heirloom Vegetables & Seed Saving — this brochure describes books available at our Library that can help you learn about seed saving. Click here.
WTPL Seed Library brochure — this brochure explains how the Seed Library works. Click here
Adaptive Seeds Seed Saving Booklet
Jack Rowe’s Seed Saving Booklet
International Seed Saving Institute Basic Seed Saving
Saving Peas and Beans (VIDEO) from Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library
How to Save Lettuce (VIDEO) from Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library
How to Save Tomatoes, Peppers and Eggplant (VIDEO) from Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library