Subject Guides

The Sustainability Hub

Colorful banner explains the Seed Steward program and encourages viewers to enroll. Click on the banner to go to the enrollment form, or scroll to the end of this page to read more about Seed Stewards!

Seed Saving

Saving seeds from one season is essential for planting in the following season. The Seed Library encourages all of its users to save the seeds that they grow, whether it is to use them in the same garden next year, or donate back to the Seed Library and restock for all to use! Saving seeds is not always an easy task, but with a little extra research, planning, and care, anyone can save their seeds!

In order to save your seeds, you must determine if your plant is an open-pollinated variety, or heirloom, meaning that they will pass on their distinct traits generation after generation! You should also determine if your plant is annual, biennial, or perennial, in order to know if the plant will produce viable seeds this season. Learning how each plant pollinates can help to determine useful isolation methods before harvesting! Finally, you must know when the seeds of your plant are mature. This may be after the fruit becomes edible, so you might have to leave a few in the garden to fully mature!

When the seeds are finally mature, they can be collected and stored! Seeds of dry fruited crops can generally be handpicked, while wet fruited crops must be cut open to extract seeds from the flesh and pulp. Once the seeds are cleaned and dried, they must be stored in a cool, dark, and dry place for the next growing season!

Seed Saving Resources

A lot of growing, harvesting, and seed saving information and techniques are specific to a type of plant. Do your own research to find out how best you can save seeds from your own plants! The resources below include online sources and books from our Sustainability Collection that are available to be checked out!

Click on any book cover below for more information!

Seed to Seed is a complete seed-saving guide that describes specific techniques for saving the seeds of 160 different vegetables. This book contains detailed information about each vegetable, including its botanical classification, flower structure and means of pollination, required population size, isolation distance, techniques for caging or hand-pollination, and also the proper methods for harvesting, drying, cleaning, and storing the seeds.
A seed saving guide by Seed activist Bevin Cohen takes a deep dive into the hows and whys of the modern seed saving movement. A great how-to guide, leading the reader step by step through the process of saving their seeds from 43 different crops; from adzuki beans to wheat and everything in between. Seed savers of all levels will benefit from Bevin's easy to follow explanations on important techniques such as hand pollination, isolation, vernalization and even basic flower structure.
The Book of Seeds takes readers through six hundred of the world's seed species, revealing their extraordinary beauty and rich diversity. Each page pairs a beautifully composed photo of a seed--life-size, and, in some cases, enlarged to display fine detail--with a short description, a map showing distribution, and information on conservation status. The essential guide to these complex plant creations, The Book of Seeds offers readers a rare, up-close look that will inspire scientists and nature lovers alike.
Authoritative and easy-to-understand, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties is the only guide to plant breeding and seed saving for the serious home gardener and the small-scale farmer or commercial grower. Discover how to breed for a wide range of different traits, how to save seeds and maintain varieties, how to conduct your own variety trials and other farm- or garden-based research, how to breed for performance under organic or sustainable growing methods.
Just a few generations ago we were a nation of seed savers because it was essential to our survival. Many of us have lost touch with this ancient practice, but the knowledge is still inside each and every one of us just waiting to be unlocked. The following pages are filled with tales from many seeds and their keepers; I hope that they inspire you and I hope that they entertain you but most importantly, I hope these stories get you to ask yourself the most important question,
The Seed Garden provides straightforward instruction from The Seed Savers Exchange and the Organic Seed Alliance on collecting seed that is true-to-type and ready for sowing in next year's garden. With clear instructions, lush photographs, and easy-to-comprehend profiles on individual vegetable crops, this book teaches us how to conserve these important varieties and planting in next year's garden, while providing a deep understanding of the importance of seed saving.

Seed Saving Equipment

Are you looking to save seeds, but don't have the equipment to do it? The Binghamton University Seed Library has a wide range of equipment available for anyone to use! Check out some examples below:

Fill out the form below if you are interested in using any of the Binghamton University Seed Library's seed saving equipment!

This banner shows seed saving equipment such as a corn shoot bag, drying bag, and foil envelope. Clicking on the banner brings you to the Seed Saving Equipment Interest Form!

Donate to our Seed Library!

If you've harvested, cleaned, and dried your seeds after a successful growing season, you can now donate back to our Seed Library! Please stop by the front desk in the Science Library any time to drop off your donation! You will be provided with a form to fill out information you know about the seeds you are donating. This form is also attached below if you'd like to print it or just take a look before bringing in your donation!

Become a Binghamton University Seed Steward!

The Binghamton University Seed Library needs Seed Stewards! Our goal is to keep our Seed Library stocked with seeds from the plants grown in our own community!

If you would like to commit to growing seeds for our Seed Library, please fill out our form below and become a Seed Steward!

This banner shows garden gloves and tools, and is linked to the Seed Steward enrollment form!