Serving Henniker, NH since 1904

Seed Lending Library

Tucker Free Library is proud to be hosting one of the first seed lending libraries in New Hampshire.

  The seeds you borrow from the TFL Seed Library are free, yet they are priceless. Please help preserve the present to ensure the future!


A plant produces seeds in order to reproduce itself.  Just like an egg has to be fertilized to become a new animal, a seed must be pollinated to produce a new plant. Understanding pollination is key to getting seeds to produce the plants you want. Some plants are self-pollinating - the male and female parts are contained within a single flower that fertilizes itself.  Other plants, called cross-pollinators, have separate male and female flowers and their pollen has to get from one flower to another in order for the flowers to be fertilized.

Choosing Seeds The seeds that you’ll find in our library are all open-pollinated or heirloom varieties, meaning seeds saved from these plants will produce fruit the next season which will be the same as the parent plant. Our seeds are categorized by how difficult they are to save, not grow. When growing to save seed, please try to match the seed saving difficulty with your gardening expertise. Here are some guidelines for growing plants

Easy Seeds

Easy seeds are great for beginners and grow plants that are less likely to cross-pollinate with other plants in that family.

Tip: Stick with one variety of a plant, or separate different varieties with a taller buffer crop or distance.

Medium Seeds

Medium seeds grow plants that are insect pollinated or biennial. These seeds are likely to cross-pollinate with other  varieties of the same plant to grow a “mystery” plant. They may also take more than one season to produce seeds.

Tip: Choose only one variety from each plant or separate similar plants by placing them a good distance apart, like in the front and back yard.

Difficult Seeds

Difficult seeds grow plants that are wind or insect pollinated and very likely to cross-pollinate with other plant varieties.

Tips: Stick to a single plant variety, stagger growing times, and use tenting or hand pollination techniques to preserve the purity of the seed.  It’s also very important to check the botanical name to ensure which plants are related and susceptible to cross-pollination.


A sampling of the many books at the Tucker Free Library:

Complete Idiot’s Guide to Seed Saving and Starting by Sheri Ann Richerson


Complete Guide to Saving Seeds                              by Robert E. Gough


Saving Seeds: The Gardener’s Guide                        by Marc Rogers


Seed Underground by Janisse Ray


Helpful websites:

www.seedsave.org  {good saving tips]









The time honored tradition of seed saving promotes biodiversity while nurturing locally adapted plants varieties. Saving seeds increases our community’s capacity to feed itself wholesome food by encouraging  gardening and the cultivation of open pollinated and heirloom seeds. 


Ninety-six percent of the seeds that were available to us 100 years ago are now lost. It is only through the efforts of individual farmers and gardeners that this trend can be reversed so that the generations to come will enjoy more nutritious and diverse foods.

Three Ways to Save Seeds

At harvest time, please take some extra steps to save seeds for others to borrow and plant. By returning a portion of the seeds you save from your strongest, tastiest, and most vigorous plants, you’ll help keep our seed library growing.

Dry Seed Processing

For plants with seeds that grow on the

outside of the plant.

· Allow the seed to dry on the plant, and collect the seedpods before they break open.

· For plants with seeds that develop in the center of the flower, allow the plant to dry.

· When the stem holding the seed head turns brown, harvest the seeds.

Tip: Collect dry seeds under dry, warm conditions to prevent mold and reduce additional drying time.

Wet Seed Processing

For seeds that grow inside the fleshy fruit of the plant.

· Rinse off the seeds and dry them thoroughly.

· If the seeds have a gel-like coating, use the fermentation process.

Tip: If you’re not sure if your seeds have a coating, float them in a small amount of water. You’ll be able to see the coating in the water.

Fermentation Seed Processing

For seeds with a gel-like coating.

· Mix the seeds and the seed juice with a little water in a small plastic or glass container with a lid.

· Allow the seeds to ferment for 4 - 6 days.

· When a layer of mold has formed on   top of the water and the seeds sink, the fermentation is complete. Add more water, swish it around, and remove the mold and pulp. The good seeds will sink to the bottom, while the bad seeds will float to the top. Remove the bad seeds.

· Drain the water from the seeds and set them out on a plate, screen, or paper towel to dry thoroughly. Once the seeds are completely dry, place them in a moisture-proof container. Label and store the seeds. 

Tip: Use the fermentation process

for seeds from tomatoes, cucumbers, some squash, and some melons.