Seed Protocol

We ask that when you bring seed to the Sandoval County Seed Library that you follow certain protocol. We want people who take seed to get what was on the label and we want to protect from passing on disease. The following is our basic protocol:*

1.     Save from healthy plants. Even if a disease does not get passed on through the seed, we do like to have some selection for disease resistance by only saving from healthy, strong plants.

2.     Save from a number of plants so that the seed has some genetic diversity in it. The quantity that is optimum depends on the type of plant; for self-pollinating plants a minimum of 6 plants is necessary, for cross-pollinating, you’ll want to save from a much larger population. See Gardening Resources for seed saving information.

3.     If the plant cross-pollinates, you’ll want to make sure to keep it isolated so it stays “true to type.” 
Check a seed saving chart or book to get proper planting distances and plant isolation techniques.

4.     When you bring seed to share to the Seed Library, please label with as much information as you can offer.

5.     Many like to save seed from a favorite that might not be saved from a number of plants or isn’t super healthy, or maybe they just like some interesting crosses. You are welcome to bring those seeds. Just make sure you write that down on the label so others know they are participating in your experiment.


*Adapted from the Seed Protocol from the West County Community Seed Exchange, Sonoma Co., California.

Guidelines for Returning Seeds

  • Dry: Make sure seeds are dry.
  • Clean: Have seeds reasonably cleaned by removing as much of the chaff as possible.
  • Properly saved: Only return seeds from plants that you know how to save properly. "Easy" seeds can be fairly reliably saved without cross-pollination (and unintentional hybridization). "Easy" seeds include tomatoes, beans, peas and lettuce. Do not return seeds from the brassica (ex. broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage) or cucurbit (ex. cucumbers, squash, melons) families, unless you have taken appropriate steps to prevent cross-pollination, such as hand-pollinating. We suggest that you attend one of our seed saving workshops to learn how to save "Advanced" level seed.
  • Label! Label! Label! Write as much information on the packet as possible. You can also type directly into the form. Remember that people only have as much information about a seed as what you have written on the package in order to decide if it is a plant that they would like to grow. More information is better.
  • Share the abundance: If you have lots of seeds, consider making multiple packets of the same seeds. Some of the excess seed can be donated to sister seed libraries.

Thank you for saving seeds!