Seed storage. Every experienced gardener has a seed storage method that works for them, and I’ve used several over the years. Storing seeds for use the next year doesn’t have to be an expensive or complicated system. In fact, several that I’ll show you use what you already have laying around the house.
There are a few simple guidelines to keep in mind when you’re considering how to store your saved seeds for next season.
- Keep them dry: Seeds should be kept dry so they don’t sprout. You certainly don’t want your seeds sprouting before you’re ready. Keeping them in a dry environment is essential.
- Keep them separated: (Anyone know that song? I digress.) Keep seeds separated according to their type. You want to be able to know what you’re planting the next year, so store seeds according to specific type. For example, keeping all pepper seeds together might seem like a great idea, but if you grow different varieties of peppers, then you’ll definitely want to separate each type.
- Keep Calm: Don’t stress about exact temperatures or containers. I’ve found that even when I’m less than diligent about seed storage, many are pretty resilient. So if you don’t follow exact storage instructions, don’t give yourself a hard time.
- Test them Out: After storage (or forgetting about them in your garage for the winter), test a few of your seeds for viability. Here’s an easy paper towel test that I use. It will save you the disappointment of planting saved seeds only to have nothing come up. Save yourself the heartache. Test your seeds.
So, what are some easy methods of seed storage? From store bought containers to envelopes, there are many ways you can keep your seeds safe and dry until the next planting season.
- Hardware/Tackle Container– These can be picked up at your local hardware store, sporting goods store, craft store, or Amazon. They’re used primarily for storing small hardware items, like nails, nuts, beads, etc. Or if you’re at a sporting goods store, then go where the tackle boxes are kept. You can find small storage containers that are used for weights and lures. These boxes are already divided up, and this makes it easy to have seeds separated by type. Adding small labels to the top of the container keeps you informed about what type of seeds are in each section. The bonus about these plastic containers is they are perfect if you’re planning to freeze or refrigerate your seeds for longer life. If you’re thinking about freezing or refrigerating your seeds, Garden Know How has a great article called Storing Seeds in the Freezer. Check it out!
- Recipe/File Box– Growing up, these plastic boxes were perfect for the recipe cards my mom and grandmothers gathered over the years. They are easily available at most big box stores or Amazon, and I actually found this one at a yard sale for 10 cents. True story. Many of these file boxes have optional dividers, and I’ve found that having a few of them is helpful for dividing my seed packages by season. This helps my seeds stay quasi organized.
- Paper Envelopes: This is my go-to for when I’m saving my own seeds. A simple paper envelope, if stored in a cool and dry place, is the perfect place for your seeds. And since most people have a box of envelopes laying around the house, they’re easy to access. I can then put the envelopes in my file box or keep them in a ziploc bag in the garage if needed. I usually write the type of seed I’m saving and the year. This way I can tell how old the seeds are. There’s also plenty of space to write any notes to yourself on the envelope about those particular seeds or how they grew for you. (Remember to avoid saving seeds from hybrid varieties, since they may not grow as successfully from saved seeds.)
If you’ve been struggling with how to store your seeds, I hope this was helpful for you! I’m sure there are other ways to store seeds, but these are easy and effective ideas that any one can implement. Remember the key is to keep your seeds in a dry and cool place.
I’d love to know if you have another method of storing your seeds and how it works for you! Have a great week and happy gardening!