By Kitty R. Lynn
We have actually touched on this a few times in recent weeks, but it’s always good to be clear about storing your seeds. If the seeds aren’t stored properly, it is very difficult to have a successful gardening experience the next year.
The number 1 priority for storing your gathered and dried seeds is ‘dry and cool’. Seeds stored where there is a lot of humidity and warmth quite often don’t survive to be planted in the spring.
Put your seeds in paper packets or envelopes with labels and the put the packets in a mason jar or canister with a gasket type lid.
A refrigerator is the best place to store the jars of seeds but a cool dry closet will also work just fine. It should be where there is very little or no temperature change. Although some seeds need to be frozen it is best not to freeze your seeds.
If you see moisture at all inside your jar of seeds, remove the seeds and put them out to dry a little more. Seeds will grow mould and mildew quickly and those seeds won’t grow.
A way to reassure yourself the seeds won’t mould and tiny insects won’t eat your seeds is to put a small amount (just a pinch) of diatomaceous earth (organic gardening stores usually carry this) in a bowl. Mix your seeds around in it to cover them before you store them away.
Store each year’s seeds together and be sure to date them. Most vegetable seeds last at least 3-4 years you will easily be able to see which seeds are getting old and should be planted sooner.
Important information to take note of when it is time to plant: when you take your seed jar out of its cool dry place DO NOT open the jar until the seeds warm to room temperature. If you open the jar right away moisture may collect on the seeds and cause them to stick together in a big clump. This is especially true if they were stored in the refrigerator.
Please remember despite all the organizing and careful storing of your seeds some just won’t germinate. Easy enough to remedy however – just plant another seed.