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Seed Saving Protocol

We want people who borrow seeds to get what was on the label and we want to ensure folks only share healthy plants to minimize the chance of spreading plant diseases.

Want to learn about seed saving? Check out the books we have in the library for you to borrow.

Basic Protocol

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • If the plant cross pollinates you want to make sure you keep it isolated so it stays “true to type.” Check with a seed saving chart or book to get isolation distances.
  • When you bring seed to share at the Boyne Grows Seed Lending Library please label with as much information as you can. Pickup seed envelopes from the seed library cart to use for seed return.

On occasion, we may save seed from a favorite plant that might not be from a large population of plants or isn’t super healthy, or maybe we like some interesting crosses that happened. You are welcome to bring those seeds in just make sure you clearly write on the label those relevant facts so others know they are participating in your experiment.

Guidelines for Returning Seeds

  • Dry: Make sure seeds are dry.
  • Clean: Have seeds reasonably cleaned by removing as much of the chaff as possible.
  • Properly saved: Only return seeds from plants that you know how to save properly. “Super Easy” seeds can be fairly reliably saved without cross-pollination (and unintentional hybridization). “Super easy” seeds include tomatoes, beans, peas and lettuce. Do not return seeds from the brassica (ex. broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage) or cucurbit (ex. cucumbers, squash, melons) families unless you have taken appropriate steps to prevent cross-pollination, such as hand-pollinating.
  • Label! Label! Label! Write as much information on the packet as possible. Remember that people only have what you have written on the package to decide if it is a plant that they would like to grow. More info is better.
  • Share the abundance: If you have lots of seeds, considering making multiple packets of the same seeds or put them in a jar with extra labels.