What is a seed library?
In a traditional seed library, members come to the library and 'borrow' seed for their garden. They grow the plants in their garden, and at the end of the season, they let a few plants 'go to seed'. From those plants, they collect and dry the seeds and return a few to the library, if possible. The more members involved, the greater selection of seeds available to the public.
The Andover Seed Library provides free seeds and seed catalogues to the community, along with a free lecture series and growing advice. No one is required to return seed to the seed library, but people are welcome to share their leftover seed and informally exchange seeds with other gardeners.
Tower Hill Botanic Garden has assembled a list of seed libraries in Massachusetts.
What seeds should I save?
Some seeds are self-pollinators and can be easily saved, others require some know-how to prevent cross pollination. Here’s a sample of some common fruits and vegetables and the level of expertise required:
Easy peasy: Beans, Peas, Lettuce, Peppers
Fairly easy: Swiss Chard, Beets, Spinach, Sunflowers, Carrots, Parsley, Arugula
Not as easy: Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Radish, Turnip, Cucumber, Squash, Tomatoes