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Seed Library: Saving Seeds

General Guidelines

- Always save seeds from healthy plants

- In order to 'go to seed' some plants must pass the point of edibility. It is always a good idea to plant 1 or 2 extras in your garden allow for this. Take a look at the guidelines below for details. 

- Always make sure seeds are bone dry before storing/returning them to the library.

ALLIUMS (ONIONS, CHIVES, LEEKS ETC)

BEANS & PEAS

  1. Leave the bean/pea pods on the plant until they go brown & dry out
     
  2. Remove the seeds from the pods and put on a plate to dry out completely
     
  3. Pop them in an envelope or paper bag for season
     
  4. Don't forget to return some to the seed library!

BROCCOLI, CAULIFLOWER & KALE

HERBS (general)

  1. Choose Healthy Plants: Select healthy, robust herb plants for seed saving. These plants should be well-established and free from disease.

  2. Allow Flowering: Let some of your herb plants flower. Flowers will eventually turn into seed heads that contain the seeds.

  3. Monitor Seed Development: As the flowers fade and dry, seed pods or heads will form where the flowers were. These pods or heads will contain the herb seeds.

  4. Harvest Seed Heads: Once the seed pods or heads have dried and turned brown, it's time to harvest them. Use scissors or pruners to carefully cut the seed heads from the plants. You can do this over a paper bag or envelope to catch any seeds that might naturally release during handling.

  5. Threshing: Depending on the herb, you might need to gently crush, rub, or shake the dried seed heads to release the seeds. This will vary based on the structure of the seed heads and pods.

  6. Cleaning: Open the seed pods or heads and remove the seeds. Gently separate the seeds from any chaff or debris. You can do this by tapping the pods or rubbing them between your fingers.

  7. Label and Store: Label your paper bags or envelopes with the herb's name and the date of seed collection. Make sure the seeds are fully dry before sealing the container. Store the containers in a cool, dry, and dark place.

  8. Keep seeds for next seasons planting and return some to the seed library!

LETTUCE

PUMPKIN & SQUASH

  1. Harvest the Seeds: Cut open the pumpkin or squash and scoop out the seeds. Try to remove as much of the stringy flesh as possible, but you don't need to remove all of it just yet. 

  2. Separate Seeds from Pulp: Place the seeds into a bowl or bucket. Add water and agitate to help separate the seeds from the pulp. The viable seeds will sink to the bottom, while the pulp and any non-viable seeds will float to the top.

  3. Strain and Clean: Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or sieve to catch the seeds. Rinse the seeds to remove any remaining pulp. Gently rub the seeds between your fingers to help with the cleaning process.

  4. Dry the Seeds: Spread the cleaned seeds on a paper towel or plate in a single layer. Allow them to air dry in a cool, well-ventilated area. This might take several days to a week. Make sure the seeds are fully dry before storing.

  5. Label and Store: Once the seeds are completely dry, place them in envelopes or small paper bags. Label each container with the variety and date of collection. Store the containers in a cool, dark, and dry place. 

  6. Keep seeds for next seasons planting and return some to the seed library!

SPINACH & SILVERBEET

  1. Leave your plant to go to seed. This means not harvesting the spinach and just leaving it to grow a big stalk and flowers.
  2. Be Patient! Wait until the flowers dry and seeds begin to appear. 
  3. Cut and hang. Cut the stalks and seeds down and hang upside down in a brown paper bag.
  4. Forget about them (for a few weeks). We want the seeds to be bone dry.
  5. Harvest from the bag. Separate the seeds from the chaff and pop them in envelopes
  6. Return to the seed library!