What is the Santa Clara Seed Share?
Quite simply, the Santa Clara Seed Share is a collection of seeds which patrons can take for free and grow in their gardens. At the end of the season, patrons harvest seeds from the plants they have grown and return them to the collection. While the idea of saving seeds is unfamiliar to many of us, it is an extremely old tradition.
Why Save Seeds?
In the past, gardeners and farmers would often save the seeds from their best plants each year and replant them the next season. This is often what is referred to when people speak of “heirloom varieties.” They are seeds planted and saved year after year.
Saving seeds helps:
How the Santa Clara Seed Share Works
Check the Seed Share binder for a list of seeds we may have. After locating the plants you’d like to grow, check the Seed Share catalog box to see if they are currently available.
Take a seed envelope from the drawer in the catalog box and write down its growing information from the Seed Share binder. This planting and growing information helps you know what the optimal growth conditions are for the seeds you’ve taken. Additionally if you return seeds from this plant to the library at the end of the season, the next gardener will be grateful for your notes!
Take as many seeds as you plan to plant and a few extra in case some don’t germinate.
Fill out the check-out sheet on Tab 1 of the Seed Share Binder for each type of seed you are taking home. The Library needs this information to ensure adequate inventory of the Seed Library.
Return some seeds from the plants you grow. (See How to Save Seeds below)
While you aren’t required to return seeds, doing so will greatly strengthen the Santa Clara Seed Share for future years.
How to Save Seeds
The library has a number of books related to seed saving. Click here to browse our selection.
The following websites are also great resources for seed saving techniques:
- The gold standard of seed libraries in public libraries, Richmond Grows is a wealth of information for anything seed related.
Here are some videos to introduce you to both how to collect and save seeds:
This project was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.