I hope your gardens are productive right now. I love all the summer crops, zucchinis, tomatoes, cucumbers. I love counting how many pumpkins we’ve got growing! Enjoy the harvest, save some seeds (particularly tomato seeds, details to follow) and why not say hello in person at the library’s seed saving event listed below?
Next Working Bee Thursday 7th April. We meet on the first Thursday of each month, at 11am. Come along if you can make it.
As ever, many thanks to our super working bee volunteers, filling envelopes, winnowing seeds and replenishing the seed board. If you’d like to join us we’re in the library.
Thank you for all the seed donations, you amazing gardeners! It’s always such fun to see what has been dropped off and to read your notes. We have seeds of carrot, fennel, flat leaf parsley, dill, spring onion, Wasabi mustard and perpetual silver beet, which you will soon find on the seed board. I was especially delighted to get these 3 tomatoes donated by Valerie. I have saved the seeds. Can anybody help identify the variety? I think they must be some sort of baby Roma? Any further insights much appreciated.
Library seed saving event
On 28th April, at 11am the Library have this great free event, ‘Seed Saving with Craig Castree’. Here’s some info about the talk:
Learn all you need to know to successfully carry out your own seed saving, seed sowing, seed storage, and plant propagation.
Craig Castree is a horticulturist, author and TV presenter. He has 40 years experience in growing his own food organically and creating edible gardens. He is also the President of the Werribee Park Heritage Orchard, restoring old fruit varieties.
Some of the Seed Library team will be there as well, to give a bit of information about our initiative at the end of the presentation. So book in, and learn about seed saving from an expert.
How to share your tomato seeds with us
We don’t often get donations of tomato seeds, but they are one of the easiest to save because they rarely cross-pollinate.
There are a few steps to it though...
Firstly, let the tomato sit on the vine for a bit so that the seed matures. Choose a really good one, your very best specimen, to make sure you’re passing on very good genes. It could be the biggest, or earliest maturing, or most prolific cropper, or best flavour. We can make these decisions when we save our own seed, and evolve plants that work best in our location.
Tomato seeds have a jelly coat around them. Scrape all the seeds into a jar with a little bit of water and let that sit on a shelf for about 3 days. The concoction will start to ferment/go a bit mouldy. That’s a good thing, it will break down the jelly coating. Don’t leave the seeds in water for too long though, or they might germinate!
After about 3 days I pour in more water and stir the seeds and pulp around a bit, then pour off the water carefully. I do this a few times and the seeds end up sinking to the bottom of the jar, looking clean and all the pulp washes away with the water. At this stage, tip the seeds and remaining water into a sieve. Then the seeds can then be dried off on a plate, or a piece of greaseproof paper til they are thoroughly dry. They will clump together, so spread them out well. I store them in paper bags and write the variety and date on them.
I’d love to have lots of different varieties of tomatoes in the seed library, so if you’ve never done it before, give it a go, and donate some seeds to us.
New barcode system
How are you finding the new barcode system when borrowing seeds? It is useful for us to know what seeds are borrowed, importantly, it lets us know when we need to restock!
Let us know if you are having issues with the barcode, or get one of the library staff members to log your details at the front desk. You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any feedback.