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8109 Concord Road
Brentwood, TN, 37027

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Seed Library

Help us start an Heirloom seed library! As you harvest the fruits of your labor this year, keep these guidelines* in mind and consider donating seeds to the The John P. Holt Brentwood Seed Library:

  • Save from the best. Save seeds from strong, healthy plants that exhibit the most desirable traits for the plant type, like productivity, disease resistance, height or flower color.
  • Save from multiple plants. This helps promote genetic diversity. The optimum quantity depends on the type of plant. For self-pollinating plants a minimum of 6 plants is necessary. For cross-pollinating plants you'll want to save from a much larger population.
  • Isolate cross-pollinating plants. If the plant cross-pollinates like those from the brassica family: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussles sprouts, cabbage; or cucurbit family: cucumbers, squash, melons, you'll want to make sure to keep it isolated so it stays "true to type." Check with a seed saving chart or book to get proper isolation distances.
  • Save easy seeds. Self-pollinating plants like lettuce, beans, peas, peppers & tomatoes are the easiest to grow because they will always be “true to type.”
  • Label seeds. When you give seed to the library, label with as much information as you can, such as  variety, location, year saved & helpful hints. We will provide seed envelopes for your use—pick them up at the circulation desk beginning in June.
  • Dry seeds. Please make sure seeds are dry.
  • Clean seeds.  Return reasonably clean seeds by removing as much of the chaff as possible.
  • Properly saved seeds. Only return seeds from plants that you know how to save properly in order to avoid cross-pollination and unintentional hybridization.
  • Share the bounty. We need all the seeds we can get, so if you have lots of seeds, consider donating lots! We are excited to set up a seed swap between neighbors!

*Adapted from the Seed Protocol from the Nashville Public Library Seed Exchange, Nashville, TN and the book Heirloom Plants by Thomas Etty & Lorraine Harrison. Chicago: Ball Publishing, 2015.

Borrow · Plant · Share

Watch our Brentwood gardens grow!