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Storing Seeds

Martha Stewart Living, November 1996

To ensure that seeds wake up refreshed from their long winter naps, take the time to tuck them in properly. Moisture, heat, and fluctuating temperatures are a seed's worst enemy, so don't simply abandon your leftover packets to the elements by leaving them in a garden shed. By the next spring they will have lost much of their vigor -- the ability to germinate quickly and healthily -- and many may have died. Instead, place packets in an airtight container, such as a canning jar with a new lid. Then make a few moisture-absorbing sachets to store with them by wrapping 2 tablespoons of untreated cat litter (avoid colored or scented litters) or powdered milk in a double layer of tulle. Close the lid tightly, and put the jar in a cool, dark place.

 

Comments (9)

  • 19 Oct, 2011

    does 'non-treated' cat litter mean that I can't use the clumping kind? or can I? what else can be used if clumping-type litter cannot be used? (besides dried milk, yuk!)

  • 19 Oct, 2011

    Have to smile. Instructions are to store in a dark place. However, the photo is just like my house--they are sitting in a sunny window! So, I love the sachet and jar instructions--let's both get these seeds out of the sun!

  • 12 May, 2010

    Can a Silica packet be used instead of the sachets?

  • 20 Apr, 2009

    What works well (so the seeds don't get light, plastic fumes, and/or mixed up) - is a recipe box with alphabet card inserts.

  • 15 May, 2008

    If you do not have the original seed packet, thoroughly dry any seeds you harvest; place in small white envelopes marked with date, name and color of flower. When completely dry, mark small cellophane bags with fine Sharpies, with all info and store in jar. When time to plant, use the small dry pellets which fit wonderfully in the clear plastic egg cartons. Act like a terrarium until time to expose to open air. Grammababy

  • 13 May, 2008

    I kept my organic cucumber seeds in a zip lock bag in the fridge veggie drawer for the last 2 years. finally planted them a week ago and all of them came up.

  • 12 May, 2008

    Next year to check your germination rate on stored seeds, place 10 tucked in a damp paper towel in a sandwich bag. Check to see how many seeds have germinated after a few days or a week (check typical rates on envelope packet). If 5 of the 10 have germinated, you'll have a 50% rate and might want to sow twice as many as with fresh seed. Most seeds will still have viability after several years.

  • 12 May, 2008

    This is a wonderful idea; I've left them in the drawer over the winter and now I know why they didn't always produce well Thanks

  • 27 Mar, 2008

    How simple, looks great when you open a cabnet, and they are not falling all over the place !