Saving Seeds

Autumn is a time for collecting and saving seed for future use, and celebrating the harvest of the summer’s produce. Look for a community seed swap near you and share your seeds with friends and neighbours. Gather with family and friends (in line with social distancing requirements) to admire and enjoy the bounty of your garden. 

Seed saving and human rights

The Seed Ambassador’s Zine: Guide to Seed Saving, Seed Stewardship & Seed Sovereignty is a comprehensive  guide to all aspects of seed saving.

It explains why the freedom to save and steward seeds helps to safeguard the foundation of our food system and lies in the realm of fundamental human rights.

B&W drawing of celeriac
purple runner bean seeds

Support the Lemon Tree Trust is a project to help families during the COVID 19 crisis, living in refugee and internally displaced people camps in Kurdistan.

Gardening has long been a source of solace and purpose for people who have been forcibly displaced. But now, more than ever, we need to support people to garden at home. For food. For flowers. For the future.

Find out how to donate your spare seeds by emailing

Vivian Sansour by Samar Hazboun

The Gaia Foundation is leading a Seed Sovereignty programme in collaboration with growers and farmers to create a biodiverse and ecologically sustainable seed system in the UK and Ireland. See their video and visit their website for more information. Maria Scholten is the Regional Coordinator for Highland and Islands, and is working with crofters and growers and advising on seed issues and policy, including identifying local land races.

Learning about seed saving

Garden Organic campaigns and lobbies internationally, to protect our plant heritage and organic growing principles which are under threat, principally but not exclusively, from regulation and big business. Garden Organic also houses the Heritage Seed Library, which aims to conserve heirloom plant varieties. You can find out more about their work, and even become a seed guardian yourself, here.

Saving your seed is the best way to propagate your garden – and the cheapest! But it is also a way of protecting our vegetable heritage: varieties that are adapted to a local area or have particular qualities that we enjoy.  Garden Organic has detailed guidelines on saving seeds from 15 different types of vegetables and a course in advanced seed saving, covering open-pollinated varieties and post-harvest techniques for a good shelf life for your seeds.

Course details:
Wednesday, 11 November 2020 – 1:00pm to 4:00pm 
Cost £20/£25

yellow seed pods and garden background

Charles Dowding – The UK’s guru of No Dig vegetables, Charles Dowding has demonstrated through comparative plots that No Dig is as productive, or more so, than conventional digging, but with much less work involved. His approach is to nourish the organisms of the soil, and their activities will feed the plants.  Charles’s website is a treasure trove of valuable and fascinating information and he also produces well-made videos and a newsletter. 

Charles explain the principles, timings and techniques of seed saving in this video.

Vital Seeds have an online course in saving seeds, with modules and quizzes. Learn and test your knowledge!

Real Seeds produce seeds of heirloom and modern strains, and encourage people to save their own seeds at home. They have written freely-copyable seed-saving guides, and sell a more detailed seed-saving book at a subsidised price. There’s really no need to buy new seed every year – you can just save your own. More information on the Real Seeds website.


Charles Dowding explains easy and quick ways to store vegetables for several months through autumn and winter, showing best methods for each one.

Garden Organic also has advice on storing a range of vegetables from root crops to alliums and cabbages.