Bookworms to Earthworms Seed Share


The Ellensburg Public Library welcomes you to Bookworms to Earthworms Seed Share

Our Mission: B.E.S.S. is a free seed project committed to providing equitable access to seeds and increasing the capacity of our community to feed itself wholesome food by fostering community, resilience and self-reliance through a culture of sharing.

How does this work?: First, read the brochure, How to Save Seeds. Once you have collected seed from your easy-to-save crops, set aside some for yourself and some for the library in clearly labeled containers. Seeds for the library should be clean.  Please fill out seed donation form for each type of seed being donated.

Basic steps for saving seeds: 

  1. Know your seed. Don’t save seeds from a hybrid variety (often labeled “F1” in catalogs or seed packets.  Hybrid seeds will not grow “true to type” to the original parent plant, and the next generation of plants will be highly unpredictable in overall type, quality, and flavor. Do choose seeds that are heirloom non-GMO varieties, and if possible organic and open-pollinated.
  2. Save information, not just seeds. Keep good records from the start. The information passed on is just as important as the seeds. Make note of common and Latin names, the variety, date of planting, days to maturity, year the seeds were harvested, and any other important observations about the variety.
  3. Watch for cross-pollination. Different varieties of the same species can cross-pollinate, producing offspring with different characteristics than the original variety (think Frankensquash). To keep the variety “pure”, you should plant in isolation or hand-pollinate if saving seeds from certain types of plants. Examples that easily cross-pollinate include: squashes, melons and cucumbers.  Special care and steps need to be taken in order to save these types of seeds, which are considered advanced.
  4. Choose ideal plants for ideal seed. Healthy vigorous plant are more likely to produce healthy vigorous seeds. Save seeds from plants free of disease to help prevent seed-borne disease.  Also, collect seeds from plants that show ideal characteristics that match the variety’s description.
  5. Make it last.  Good storage practices will increase the long-term viability of your seed. Store only seed that has been checked for pests and is fully mature and dry. Store in a dark, dry, cool place that is protected from pests. Seed can be stored in plastic or glass containers, as well as paper envelopes.
  6. Check out our selection of books on seed saving for more information. Your friendly Ellensburg Public Library staff are happy to help answer questions and locate materials.  

Helpful Links: Seed Donation Form, Program Brochure