Storing Seeds Over the Winter for Next Year’s Garden

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September 20, 2019

We have long taken for granted that seeds will always be available in little packets at our local greenhouses, but will they? 

The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership estimates that between one and five plant species are at risk of extinction. Their eventual disappearance will have a tremendous impact on food security, climate change, disease, and biodiversity.

The Seed Saving Movement

By saving the best seeds from our balconies & backyards, we can start our own crops the following season.

Seed saving has become a movement in many parts of the world. Gardeners are being urged to save the seeds from their flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Beyond having a significant environmental and social impact, it’s a way for us all to be self-sufficient. 

By saving the best seeds from our balconies and backyards, we can start our own crops the following season, tending to them up until harvest

Proper Storage is Key

Starting & Saving Seeds‘ by Julie Thompson-Adolf, a must-read for the self-sufficient gardener. 

Cool, dry, and dark. Those are the three words you want to remember when storing seeds after the growing season comes to an end.

Unfortunately, many people go through the trouble of carefully saving and drying their seeds, only to lose them due to improper storage. 

The book Starting & Saving Seeds: Grow The Perfect Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs, and Flowers for your Garden, by Julie Thompson-Adolf, is a must-read for the self-sufficient gardener. 

Thompson-Adolf points out that seeds are living things, and therefore, want to germinate as soon as they can.

That’s why it’s essential to store them away from environmental factors such as sunlight, moisture, and fluctuating temperatures.

  • Dry the seeds you harvest from the garden completely before storing them in small paper envelopes.
  • Label them carefully and make sure to write down the date you harvest them. Many seeds, such as nasturtiums, are viable for up to five years! 
  • Take the envelopes and place them into an air-tight container or jar.
  • Place the jar in a cool, dark location of the house. I keep mine in a cabinet in my finished basement where humidity and temperature levels are low. 

Proper storage is such a crucial step of the seed saving process, and yet so incredibly simple.

Catherine Sherriffs
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Catherine Sherriffs

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her two young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.
Catherine Sherriffs
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