To create a grassroots community seed library that supports Central Florida gardeners with free, locally grown, open-pollinated, pesticide and GMO-free seeds. All gardeners with or with out seeds to share are welcome. We hope that many gardeners will commit to grow out and donate back to the seed bank. The Seed Library is currently stocked with medicinal and culinary herbs, vegetables, fruits, and pollinator-supporting plants. It is currently open to the public for resource sharing by appointment.
Why save seed and why a local seed library?
Seed libraries are a relatively new concept. As more people are trying to live healthier lives, and acknowledging the ways that modern agriculture has left us susceptible to significant risks associated with disease, more communities are realizing the value of seed libraries. Our rapidly changing world gives us more and more reasons to strengthen our local resources and our ability to be self-sufficient. Local seed saving allows us to cultivate plants that do well in our region, with each generation adapting more to the local environment. We preserve heirloom seeds that are lost as the seed industry concentrates into fewer and fewer large corporations. Seed libraries are a great investment; with some plants one seed can return up to 40,000. The abundance which seed savers experience is shared with the community and helps model a different economic system. We hope to cultivate a network of seed savers in the region, supporting each other and the seed library as a resource for the expanding community of gardeners, and to strengthen our local food system.
Whether you are a new gardener or you have had a thriving garden for many years, you can benefit from a seed library. If you have never used a seed library, you have missed the opportunity to borrow seeds from local gardeners like yourself.
Similar to a book lending library, a seed library is a place where people can go to borrow seeds. The concept of “borrowing” seeds may sound strange at first, but it makes perfect sense once the process is explained. Here is how it works: first, you borrow a seed from the library such as a particular vegetable you want to grow. Next, you plant the seed and grow the vegetables. Finally, you return the borrowed seeds at the end of the season once the vegetables have been harvested. After the seeds you’ve used are planted and the fruit, vegetable or flowers are grown, the gardener brings some seeds to the library for someone else to use.
How to Participate in our Seed Library
Our Seed Library is currently on hiatus for Summer and Fall 2018, outside of classes and special events. We have been hosting this service to the community since 2011 and we are happy to share these seeds with individuals and other organizations to help support the sustainability of our community.
To participate, we ask that participants:
+ Contact our office to find out which events our Seed Library will be present at, or, to schedule an appointment to view our seed bank at our school.
+Bring small bags or envelopes to take seeds home in – many times, seed packets will contain hundreds or even thousands of seeds, and usually only a few or a few dozen are needed depending on the project.
+ Take photos of your garden projects for us to share with some of the growers and farms that make our seed bank possible, and that our organization be mentioned to those who benefit from the plants.
+ For those who successfully cultivate plants from the seeds gathered our seed library, we ask that you save the seeds of these mature plants to use in your future seasons’ plantings, and give some back to the seed bank for others to enjoy
+ For those who feel inclined and are financially able share a donation with the seed library, we welcome and encourage you to support the staff and organization of this grassroots project through a monetary donation
Seed Saving Protocol
We ask that when you bring seeds to contribute to the Seed LIbrary that you follow certain protocol. We want people who take seeds home to receive what was on the label and we especially want to protect from passing on disease. The following is our basic protocol:
1. Save from healthy plants. Even if a disease does not get passed on through the seed, we do like to have some selection for disease resistance by only saving from healthy, strong plants.
2. Save from a number of plants so that the seed has some genetic diversity in it. The quantity that is optimum depends on the type of plant, for self pollinating plants a minimum of 6 plants is necessary, for cross pollinating you want to save from much a larger population- see seed saving information sheets.
3. If the plant cross pollinates you want to make sure you keep it isolated so it stays true. Check with a seed saving chart or book to get isolation distances.
4 When you bring seed to share at the Seed Bank please label with as much information as you can. We especially request you include the botanical genus and species, where the original seed was sourced, and the date the seed was harvested. 5. We all save seed from a favorite that might not be from a number of plants or isn’t super healthy, or maybe we like some interesting crosses. You are welcome to bring those seeds — just make sure you write that down on the label so others know they are participating in your experiment.
See also: Southern Exposure’s seed saving instruction handout
Seed Saving Info
Seed Ambassadors: How to Save Seeds http://www.seedambassadors.org/docs/seedzine4handout.pdf
Vegetable Seed Saving Handbook http://howtosaveseeds.com/
Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners (9781882424580): Suzanne Ashworth, Kent Whealy: Books.
Saving Seeds: The Gardener’s Guide to Growing and Storing Vegetable and Flower Seeds (A Down-to-Earth Gardening Book) Polly Alexander
Seed Sowing and Saving: Step-by-Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing More Than 100 Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs (Storey’s Gardening Skills Illustrated) by Carole B. Turner
Organic Seed Alliance http://www.seedalliance.org/
Seed Trust http://www.seedstrust.com