Introduction to Seed Saving Webinar

Introduction to Seed Saving Webinar

Saturday 22nd August, 11:00-12:30

After the unprecedented demand for seed earlier this year, you may be wondering how to start saving your own seeds. It’s easier than you think! In this webinar, you will learn the basics of saving seed from some easy vegetable crops and pollinator-friendly flowers. We will also look in more detail at how to save tomato seeds using the fermentation method. 

This webinar is hosted by the Walworth Community Garden Network with training provided by Charlotte Dove from the London Freedom Seed Bank. If you’d like to take part please email and we will send you the Zoom link prior to the event.

Thanks to Jill at Urban Tomato for the image

Caring for a Community Seed Collection

You are warmly invited to our Day of Learning, taking place at Walworth Garden on Sunday 17th November 2019, 10:30-16:30. 

Have you ever thought about creating your own community seed collection or do you worry that your saved seeds aren’t stored correctly? Then join us for Caring for a Community Seed Collection. We have teamed up with Community Seed Banks Academy and Vital Seeds to cover the basics of good practice in drying, cleaning and storage of seed. There will be hands-on experience of cleaning, sorting, packing, and labelling as we process the London Freedom Seed Bank 2019 harvest, in preparation for distribution through community events. You are also welcome to bring your own seed for cleaning through our seed cleaning machine!

This event is free to attend, but incurs a £10 refundable deposit, which will be returned to you after the day.

Booking required, limited places: here.

Autumn Seed Saving Tips – Where to begin

Since we’re now deep in Autumn, it’s definitely time to save your seeds! If you’ve been planning to save seeds since the spring- congrats, but If you are wondering what you can do now, not to worry, you can still save seeds and carry a bit of your garden for next year’s crops.

The easier plants to save seeds from are in-breeders: they won’t cross with other varieties from the same species and so what you save, is what will grow the next year: tomatoes, french beans, lettuce and peas.

For peas and french beans, simply let a few pods from your favorite and healthiest plants dry directly on the plant, until brown, and crunchy to the touch. Then, on a sunny day and when the pods aren’t damp, pick them, shell the seeds and store the seeds in a good container (old jars work wonders).

For tomatoes, pick a ripe beautiful tomato from your healthiest plant. Squeeze the juice, pulp and seeds in a glass jar. Add a bit of cold water, pierce a few holes in the lid and leave the jar closed on a countertop, out of direct sunlight, for up to two weeks. You want a layer of mould to develop on the top of the liquid. Once it’s ready (appropriately mouldy), rinse and clean the the seeds and let them dry on a paper towel for a day or so. Once they are dry, store them out of sunlight.

If you are growing a lettuce you love (that is not from the cabbage family like rocket, or japanese greens), then let one of your plant go to seed. Once the seed head is brown and dry, cut it and shake it into a paper bag on a dry day. The seeds will be mixed with chaff. You can reduce the amount of chaff by using a seed cleaner (we have one available at the Seed Bank!), or by pouring the seeds from one jar to another and gently blowing on the moving flow of seeds. The chaff is lighter and will fly away, so better do that outside. Store the seeds away from sunlight.

And for all your saved seeds, please be sure to label all your seed packets, and write at least the variety and the year harvested. We advise to keep track of a bit moreIf you have saved some seeds you’d like to share with the London Freedom seed bank, please get in touch!

Seed Saving in South London – Tues 20th Nov.

We warmly invite you to join us for a Seed Saving Evening at the South London Botanical Institute on Tuesday 20th November from 6.30-9pm.

We will be screening the Seeds of Freedom documentary, sharing top tips on how to start saving, and hearing from Richard Galpin about his experience breeding new lettuce varieties. Richard will also be demonstrating his DIY Seed Cleaner, built using an Open Source design on the Real Seeds website – come and see it in action!

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For tickets, please go to the Eventbrite page.

We are happy to be collaborating with Incredible Edible Lambeth and the South London Botanical Institute on this event.

Skip Garden Harvest Festival, 22nd September

Join us at the Skip Garden on Saturday 22nd September for their Harvest Festival. Come and celebrate the bountiful harvest and learn about seed saving at this time of year too. Enjoy a delicious afternoon tea prepared by the wonderful community kitchen, stalls packed full of homemade produce, and drop-in activities to keep the littles ones busy.

Tours of the garden will be taking place throughout the afternoon, lead by the Skip Garden’s Seed Sisters, a group of young women dedicated to raising awareness about seed saving and heritage.

Charlotte from the Freedom Seed Bank will be sharing her knowledge about the theory and practice of seed saving, and seeds from the bank will be available for people to take home for free.

Tickets are FREE but must be reserved in advance, here:

We hope to see you there!




How to start seed saving workshop – 1st Sep

Come and learn about the basics of saving your own seed with Charlotte Dove from the London Freedom Seed Bank, on Saturday 1st September at The Albany in Deptford. 

Learn the basics of saving your own seed from common vegetables, herbs and flowers. Saving seed is a great way to become more self-sufficient, to save money and to grow healthier, more vigorous crops which are adapted to your local environment.

You will learn top tips for saving and storing your seeds correctly and have a go at some practical seed saving activities.

Seeds from the London Freedom Seed Bank, grown and saved in London, will also be available for you to take home for free.


New network members get skilled up

Our network of seed savers grow seeds to donate to the Freedom Seed Bank each year. This year we recruited 20 new members to join the network, all of whom have experience gardening and growing food, but haven’t necessarily saved seeds before. Earlier in the month we held a training session focussed on pollination and its role in successful seed saving to bring the new network members up to speed on this important topic.

We invited Peter Brinch of Open-Pollinated Seeds to lead the session. Peter has been working in the world of seeds since 2001 and currently grows vegetable and flower seeds for the Seed Co-operative. He spoke about the history of seed saving, before looking in more detail at the difference between self-pollinating and cross-pollinating crops and why it’s important to recognise which you’re growing before saving any seed.


Peter with his DIY Seed Cleaner (an Open Source design available at Real Seeds).

Check out the full range of open-pollinated, organic and biodynamic seeds available from the Seed Co-operative: download the catalogue.

Deadline to join network extended by 1 week!

We have extended the deadline to apply to become a member of the Freedom Seed Saver Network by one week. The new deadline is Sunday 3rd December.

New members will gain access to FREE training sessions taking place in early 2018, peer-to-peer support from our network of seed savers, and seeds from the Freedom Seed Bank.

More details here:

If you are interested in applying please send an expression of interest explaining about yourself and why you are interested in taking part to:

We hope to hear from you!

Join our seed saver network

We are recruiting new members to our Freedom Seed Saver Network! All new members will benefit from free training, support from our network of seed savers, and the chance to grow and save seeds for the Freedom Seed Bank.

We are offering new members the opportunity to take part in a series of workshops covering all the basics of saving seed for the most popular vegetable crops: in return we’d like you to grow and save seeds for the Freedom Seed Bank. The workshops will take place in the first half of 2018 at various community gardens across London.

Our network fosters peer-to-peer learning and support and so each of the workshops will be lead by a different network member. Each of the gardens that we visit will feature a seed saving garden/plot that has been established by one of our members.

The workshops will cover:

  • Botany for seed savers
  • Planning a seed saving garden
  • ‘How to’ guide for saving seeds of tomatoes, peas, beans and lettuces

There will be a total of 5 – 6 sessions with a minimum commitment of 4 sessions. Workshops will be approximately 2 to 3 hours on a Saturday morning, roughly once a month, plus optional trips or gatherings at other times. Exact timings and venues to be confirmed.

We are looking for people who already have knowledge and experience of food growing and have a space where you can grow seed crops (this could be a home, community or school garden).

This a great opportunity to receive FREE training, to learn about the lost art of seed saving and to help preserve our precious vegetable varieties for future generations.

If you are interested in taking part then please send an expression of interest (max 2 sides of A4) telling us about yourself and why you are interested in joining our network. The deadline for expressions of interest is Sunday 26th November.

Please send your expressions of interest or get in touch with any questions to:


Image: Lettuce seed heads, by Richard Galpin, Walworth Garden Lettuce Trials and London Freedom Seed Saving Project, 2017.

Introduction to Seed Saving

We’re delighted that seed buddy Marco Bottingnole has been invited to lead a seed saving workshop by London’s largest food growing network and training provider, Capital Growth. Marco has been a seed buddy since October 2016 and has been inspiring the community around the St Luke’s Community Centre in Islington about the importance of seed saving.

Introduction to Seed Saving will cover the basic techniques of growing, collecting and storing seeds from a plant. The workshop will include:

– The importance of the ancient practice of saving seeds

– The difference between plant families, species and varieties. What is a hybrid?

– Seed saving guidelines for different species of plants

– Seed saving practical session

The workshop is open to everyone and no prior gardening experience is required.

When: Saturday 14th October 10:30-13:00

Where: St Lukes Community Centre, 90 Central, London EC1V 8AJ

To book your ticket go to: