Seed Library

How the Seed Library works

The Seed Library, located at Mundaring Public Library, aims to provide a variety of organic, heirloom and native seeds to the local community.

You will need a library membership to borrow seeds. You may borrow two seed packets per visit to the library. Seed packets are checked out at the front counter, but there are no due dates.

Once planted and grown, seeds can again be harvested and returned to the Library to be put into circulation for people to plant. Through sharing seeds, the tradition of seed saving is kept alive.

Why save seeds?

  • Save money – Home-saved seeds are free
  • Connect with your garden – The more seeds you save, the more you learn about botany and the plant kingdom
  • Help save the bees – While you wait for your flowers to produce seeds, they are providing invaluable food for bees, butterflies and beetles
  • Home-saved seeds germinate better – Fresh seeds germinate at a higher rate and are more vigorous.

Types of seeds

Seed packets include a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers which have all been collected from the local area. 

The seed packets provide specific instructions on how to plant the seeds.

The seed collection will vary depending on donations and what is in season.

Working together for a sustainable future

Seed saving leads to a sustainable future for your garden and community, and helps to increase the diversity of heritage varieties. It will help to develop seeds that are acclimated to our local area, allows you to grow plants that are more pest resistant, and saves money on seeds and plants.

Seed saving for beginners

Seeds for beginners

  • Basil
  • Beans
  • Broad Beans
  • Capsicum
  • Coriander
  • Garlic Chives
  • Lettuce
  • Marigold
  • Nasturtium
  • Okra
  • Pea
  • Sage
  • Snake Bean
  • Tomato

Growing

Start with some of the easy plants listed. Nurture them carefully so they are in tip-top shape when they are forming their seeds.

Choose several of the healthiest, most productive plants for saving seed, and tag with a ribbon so they do not get consumed.

Some methods to avoid cross-pollination by wind or insects transferring pollen from plants of another variety or species:

  • Grow only one variety
  • Isolate by suitable distance
  • Bag unopened flowers of capsicums
  • Plant multiple varieties from one species at different times of the growing season to avoid overlapping flowering times.

Harvesting and processing

Select best fruits, pods or seed heads, and harvest only when fully mature. Collect after morning dew, in warm, dry conditions and label.

Dry cleaning

Seeds that mature drily in pods or husks such as beans, peas, beetroot, brassicas, carrot, onions, and most garden flowers can be dried on the bush.

If it is rainy, pull out entire plant, and hang in a dry place until pods are dried out (pillowcases are ideal).

Seeds are then carefully rolled or crushed out of their casings, and sieved or winnowed to separate the viable seeds from the chaff. Kitchen sieves, colanders or mesh screens are useful.

Winnowing seeds

Using shallow containers outdoors, pour seeds from a higher to lower bowl. Gently toss in air, blow over surface. The breeze carries away lighter seeds and debris, while heavier, more fertile seeds stay.

Wet cleaning

Seeds that are carried in moist flesh such as pumpkins, eggplant, capsicum, squash and melons need to be rinsed clean of flesh. Soaking briefly in a jar of water can help separate good seed from debris.

Discard any floating debris, then rinse and drain seeds in sieve.

Place on plate or baking paper to dry (7 to 10 days).

Tomatoes and cucumbers can be fermented in water until a layer of mould forms and seeds sink. Drain off debris, rinse and dry as above.

Storing

Containers and labelling

Options for containers to store dried seeds:

  • Envelopes
  • Recycled, clean paper bags
  • Sealed glass jars
  • Ziplock bags
  • Donation bags (free at the library)

Record basic seed details, including type, variety, date harvested and any other useful information.

Place seed packets in rodent-proof storage container.

Tip: Small packets of silica gel crystals, powdered milk, or rice placed in the container, with the seed packets can help absorb moisture.

Store seeds in a dark, dry, cool location as light will halve the lifespan of some seeds. A cupboard or drawer is sufficient for up to six months. If you are storing longer than six months, the fridge is ideal (but not the freezer).

When removing seeds from the fridge, allow the container to come to room temperature for a day or two before opening to avoid condensation.

Most vegetable seeds will stay viable for three to four years if stored correctly.

Acknowledgement

Our thanks go to Mundaring In Transition, Glen Forrest Community Garden, Perth Hills Permies, and Mundaring Organic Growers Group who were instrumental in setting up the Seed Library.

Join Mundaring Seed Savers

A collaboration between Mundaring Library which manages the Seed Collection, and a volunteer group of local home growers who curate and process donated seeds. It is a great way to develop or share your seed saving knowledge and skills, keeping the Seed Library vital and sustainable.

Contact forms are available at the library.

More information and contact

If you have any queries, please contact Mundaring Library on 9290 6780.

You can also visit the Mundaring Seed Savers Facebook page.