In the heatwave at the end of July, nine members of the Stroud Community Seed Bank set off on an expedition to the national Heritage Seed Library at Garden Organic near Coventry. We spent a couple of hours touring the seed growing gardens, inspecting the seed cleaning room and gazing in awe at the specialist seed storage room packed from roof to floor with packets and packets of heirloom seeds.
The Heritage Seed Library (HSL) was set up after new EU legislation in the 1970s made it illegal to sell seed of unregistered vegetable varieties. Since then HSL have played an important role in finding, saving and popularising lots of local, unusual or heirloom varieties that might otherwise have been lost. Seeds are grown by a national network of dedicated volunteer seed guardians, as well as the professional gardeners at Garden Organic.
For us just setting out on our first season of seed saving for the Stroud Community Seed Bank, the trip to HSL was really inspiring, informative, and educational – as well as quite reassuring. Seed is grown there on a similar scale to allotment or back garden growing, and though we don’t have the specialist seed cleaning or storing facilities that they do, it’s clear that we can manage very well with the more low-tech options discussed on the tour.
To download the full 4 page report with lots of pictures, click here: Stroud Community Seed Bank at HSL.
For more on the Heritage Seed Library, see the Garden Organic website.