Seed Library and Seed Saving
Library members check out seeds during the planting season. They use what they need, then after harvest let some of their strongest plants go to seed. They collect the seed from the plant and return them to the library! What a cool idea!
Want to learn more about saving seeds?
Techniques for saving the seeds from a crop vary greatly. Some plants are easy to keep seeds, other are more difficult. Most common annuals are very easy to seed-save. For example, arugula, lettuce, cilantro, dill, are very easy. Plants flower, then produce seed heads. Once they dry out, the seeds are ready for collecting and storing in a dry, temperature-controlled environment.
Other plants are more challenging. Tomatoes require fermentation before the seeds are ready for saving. Pick your best-looking, most-delicious tomatoes. Cut the fruit open, and put the guts into a bucket of water. Let it sit for several days. This fermentation process breaks the seeds apart from the membrane that holds them. Bad seeds float to the top of the bucket, good seeds sink. Skim everything out of the top of the bucket, and strain the remaining seeds from the bottom. Rinse them several times. Let the seeds dry, then store them in a dry, temperature-controlled environment.
To learn more about seed saving, check out this website: http://www.seedsave.org/issi/issi_904.html.
Also, the book Seed to Seed, by Suzanne Ashworth is an excellent resource! It explains in detail how to cross-pollinate and seed-save most common annual vegetable plants.
It is possible to become self-sufficient in seeds – meaning, you don’t ever have to buy seeds again. Seed saving also promotes the healthiest plants for your environment. Each year you save seed, the next year’s crop will be even more adapted to your particular microclimate. Eventually, you can come up with new varieties of vegetables that fit your property perfectly!