Storing Seeds Over the Winter for Next Year’s Garden
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
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
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.
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