We steward a collection of 20,000+ rare and heirloom varieties in a seed bank at our Iowa headquarters.
Donated to SSE in 2004, Wick’s lima has a long history of being grown and shared as far back as the 1930s in West Virginia.
Through our catalog and online store, we get varieties out of our seed bank and growing. Sales support our nonprofit work.
As a customer, member, or donor, you support our mission and our nonprofit work to.
When seeds are in our bank, they are protected. When seeds are growing in your garden, they thrive.
Since 1975, we have grown, saved, and shared heirloom seeds and led a movement to protect biodiversity and preserve heirloom varieties. At the heart of our organization is a seed bank that houses a collection of 20,000+ rare, open-pollinated varieties. With gardeners like you, we can get these seeds where they belong—in gardens and on tables everywhere, for generations to come.
Thank you for growing with us.
We educate and support community groups and gardeners looking to grow, save, and share seeds.
Heirloom, open pollinated, non hybrid & non GMO seeds with no chemical treatments.
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Follow these three simple steps for learning how to save your own seeds.
For crops that produce wet fruits, the seeds are not always mature when the fruits are ready to eat. Eggplant, cucumber, and summer squash fruit are eaten when the fruits are immature and still edible, but before the seeds are actually mature. This means that seed savers need to leave a few fruits to fully mature in the garden when they want to save seeds. Dry fruited crops, like grains, lettuce, and beans, can be removed from the plant once seeds are dry and hard.
1. Know what to grow
Garden crops can be classified as either dry fruited or wet fruited. Collecting seeds from dry fruited crops, can be as simple as going out to the garden, handpicking a few mature seedpods, and bringing them into the house for further drying and cleaning. Fruits from wet fruited crops must be picked when their seeds are mature. The harvested fruits are either crushed or cut open, and the seeds are extracted from the flesh and pulp before the seeds are dried.
Some crops have a hard time producing seeds when too few plants are around. Others can reproduce with just a single plant. If the population size of a seed crop is too small, some genetic diversity may be lost and over many generations; in time this can result in a noticeable decrease in plant stature, overall vigor, germination, and yield.
Not all plants flower, set seed, and die in a single growing season. Those that do, like lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers, are called annuals. Biennials, such as carrots and onions, don’t flower until their second growing season, after they have gone through a cold period. Some long lived plants, like apple trees and asparagus, are perennial, surviving and flowering for many years.