If you keep a nice stock of seeds on hand, you’re always ready for planting season. There are many benefits to planting seeds in your garden. However, there’s nothing more disappointing than planting a crop in your garden that fails to grow.
Like most things, seeds can spoil if not stored properly. The good news is that most seeds can survive storage for up to two years and still be ready to germinate and produce a beautiful plant. Just like storing seedlings, not all seeds need the same storage conditions, but some general tips apply to almost any seeds you’d like to save for another planting season. You can think about what you’d like to plant in the future, for example, a herb garden, and collect and store those seeds over the coming months or years. Click here for some great tips on which herbs grow best from seed.
If you’re looking for a way to store seeds for a short time (up to a year), here are some tips.
Keep Your Cool
Seeds need to be kept in a cool environment and at a mostly constant temperature. Since you don’t want variation in the temperature your stored seeds are exposed to, you’ll want to shield them from sunlight, which can warm them during the day.
Good potential seed storage spots include closets, a basement, or any other room or area in your home that is temperature controlled where they won’t be disturbed.
Many people store their dry seeds inside their refrigerator, as this fulfills all the requirements that they need.
Keep Them Dry
If you store your seeds while they’re wet, they already have fifty percent of the conditions to sprout. With enough water and warm temperatures, your stored seeds could begin to grow, which will ruin your carefully-laid plans to plant them in the future.
Your storage location should be dry and low-humidity, and you need to make sure your seeds are already dry before you seal them into a storage container. If your seeds have too much moisture in them, even storing them in a fridge will allow them to rot, once again rendering them useless.
Dry your seeds, then put them in an air-tight receptacle for storage.
Moisture is another reason why you want to store your seeds in a climate-controlled environment. Rising and falling temperatures can cause condensation to form if the air inside your container is moist enough, and remember with moisture and warm enough temperatures, your seeds will sprout.
Keep Them Protected
One final hazard to watch out for is hungry critters. Bugs, rodents, and other pests don’t see next year’s crop when they find your seeds; they see a tasty snack right then.
Glass or metal containers can go a long way toward protecting your seeds from pests, but this can lead to problems as your seeds breathe. Yes, even seeds breathe in a way. Paper storage, such as seed envelopes and bags, will allow the moisture and heat from your seeds to escape the container, where it won’t cause any problems.
You may have seeds that you want to keep for a longer period than one or two years. These seeds might be from a plant you love or are just hard-to-find.
To store seeds long-term, many gardeners freeze them. The same rules apply to this method when it comes to moisture; if you freeze seeds that haven’t been properly dried, they can be cracked, damaged, or destroyed by the freezing temperatures and frost.
Dry your seeds thoroughly, then place them in an air-tight container for freezing. If you do this well, you’ll have no problem storing seeds for years.
Storage for seeds might seem like an easy thing to accomplish, but if you don’t do it correctly, the only thing you’ll achieve will be a disappointment when your prized seeds fail to sprout.