How to Save and Store Seeds Properly

Today we speak to Tricia about saving seed for an emergency food supply.

Hi, I’m Tricia an organic gardener I grow organically for a healthy and safe food supply, for a clean and sustainable environment, for an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

If you’ve gardened long enough you know there’s a quandary of how to keep track of all your garden seeds. When it comes to organizing my seed I divide it into three groups based on planting time.

This is my six to eight weeks box. Inside this box, I have seeds like tomatoes and peppers that need to be started indoors in trays about six to eight weeks before the last frost.

I also have seeds that can be direct seeded in the ground six to eight weeks before the last frost, like peas. In my three to four week box, I have plants like cucumber and other cucurbits that can be started inside in trays three to four weeks before the last frost as well as a little section for seeds that can be started directly in the ground three to four weeks before the last frost.

BoxThis is my direct seed after frost box, this box contains vegetables such as corn, beans, and okra. For seeds that you are going to use this season or that you are going to use within the next year, you can just store them in a cool dark spot. The seeds that I’ll be using over the next few years can be stored in a moisture proof box like this.

If your seed packs have torn apart or if your saving your own seeds store them in these little tins. If you have some silica gel packs from a box of shoes you can drop those in the box just to further reduce the humidity. Seeds stored longer than a year should have a moisture content of less than 8 percent.

Seeds will reach moisture equilibrium with their environment.  A good rule of thumb for getting an appropriate moisture content is to make sure that the sum of the temperature in Fahrenheit and the relative humidity does not exceed one hundred.

The whole box can go in the refrigerator where there’s a temperature below forty and a relative humidity of less than sixty.  Different plant varieties keep longer than others, for example, onions will keep only about a year but cucumbers will keep to about five years. Seed packs will have a packed for date printed on them so you know what year to count the longevity from.

If you are planting seeds that are a little bit old plant more than you normally would, because germination rates may go down just a little bit. An easy way to keep track of what seeds you have, their longevity and the last date you planted is by using a spreadsheet. This way you don’t end up buying seeds you already have or not replacing seed that is old you can download this spreadsheet from groworganic.com which will auto-fill the longevity of the vegetable seed and the planting time.

There’s a wealth of information about seeds in our seed catalog as well as many planting tips in our calendar. So organize your seed cupboard and grow organic for life!

Check our picks for best Survival Seeds – also check out the Doomsday Medicine Chest.


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