The Latham Seed Saving Library was launched in the fall of 2020. We do not yet have a large selection of seeds to share. Over the coming years, with help from you and others, we will be able to build our library’s stock and diversity. If you are successful in your gardening and seed saving and can return seeds to the library to pass on to future gardeners, you will be helping us to fulfill our goal of building a growing, thriving community seed library. 

We recommend starting your seed saving with the easy ones…beans, peas, lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes. Over the summer and fall, save some seeds from your healthiest, strongest, tastiest plants. Be aware that seeds from hybrid plants will not be the same as the parent plant, so we can’t use them. If you are unsure, please ask. We can, as a seed saving community, replant every year with seed from our most successful plants and watch our veggies and flowers grow stronger and develop local traits.

We have several books about seed saving that you can check out of the library, and a short pamphlet as well. The pamphlet is excellent if you want help with the basics but aren’t ready to read a lot about it yet. There are lots of websites you can search as well. Seed Savers Exchange is an excellent one that has planting information as well. For information and help beyond books and websites, you can reach out to the Seed Saving Librarian, Emily Zollo. We also recommend joining the Upper Valley Seed Savers Facebook group. That is where you can find advice and support from experienced, enthusiastic, local seed savers who are eager to share their knowledge.

The Latham Seed Library welcomes your seed donations this fall. Peas, beans, peppers, lettuce and tomatoes are good projects for beginning seed saving. We also welcome flower and herb seeds. Easy varieties to save include sunflowers, dill, calendula, and marigolds. Please make sure that any seeds saved to donate to the Seed Library come from heirloom or “open-pollinated” plants rather than hybrid varieties. If you are unsure, please get in touch at librarians@thetfordlibrary.org or arrange to check-out one of the seed saving books we have available.

Please bring seeds to Latham Library (or make arrangements to drop off) in clean, plastic bags or other clean containers, labeled with the following information: type of plant, variety, year harvested, place of harvest.

Happy gardening and seed saving!

Helpful Links:

How To Save Tomato Seed: https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-save-tomato-seeds-1403292

How to Save Marigold Seed: https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-save-marigold-seeds-1388591

Helpful information from Seed Savers Exchange:

Know How To Harvest Seeds
Garden crops can be classified as either dry fruited or wet fruited. Collecting seeds from dry fruited crops, can be as simple as going out to the garden, handpicking a few mature seedpods, and bringing them into the house for further drying and cleaning. Fruits from wet fruited crops must be picked when their seeds are mature. The harvested fruits are either crushed or cut open, and the seeds are extracted from the flesh and pulp before the seeds are dried.

Know When Your Seeds Are Mature
For crops that produce wet fruits, the seeds are not always mature when the fruits are ready to eat. Eggplant, cucumber, and summer squash fruit are eaten when the fruits are immature and still edible, but before the seeds are actually mature. This means that seed savers need to leave a few fruits to fully mature in the garden when they want to save seeds. Dry fruited crops, like grains, lettuce, and beans, can be removed from the plant once seeds are dry and hard.

Store Seeds
Seeds are happiest when they are stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. A dark closet in a cooler part of the house or a dry, cool basement are both good spaces to store seeds for a year or two. Once properly dried, seeds can also be sealed in airtight containers and stored in the refrigerator or freezer for several years. The seeds of some crops are naturally longer lived. Tomato seeds and beans can be left for many years in adequate storage conditions, while onion and carrot seeds are notoriously short lived. Don’t forget to label your seeds with the crop type, variety name, and any useful notes about your seed source, when you harvested the seeds, and how many plants you harvested from.

Put A Little Space Between Varieties
In order to produce seeds that are true-to-type, a little garden intervention is needed to prevent unwanted cross pollination between different varieties of the same species. For some crops like lettuce and peas, all that is needed is a little extra space between varieties. For others, more advanced methods can be used, including larger isolation distances, pollination barriers, or hand pollination.