A few weeks ago, my good friend, a fellow gardener and mom of a toddler called to ask me about seed storage. Turns out her toddler had “helped organize” and she was in need of a new solution. We have used the same simple seed storage and organization system for years, and it really works well for us. Since I have a bit of a seed buying addiction, having a neat, well-organized way of storing seeds is really important; I don’t want to waste time sifting through stacks of packets!
Some things to consider when you’re storing seeds from year to year are 1) keeping the seeds cool, and 2) keeping them dry. Seed germination rates will decrease over time, but paying attention to these two factors really helps. If you’re wanting to test your germination rates, I suggest this method. Some people recommend storing seeds in a refrigerator, but who has that kind of space? I would suggest a cool pantry or another space where temperatures will not fluctuate dramatically.
We store our seeds in a Rubbermaid under-the-bed storage box, like this one, and divide it up with cardboard and duct tape, like so:
These containers are just the right height for to store an average sized seed packet in an upright position. The container is divided into categories:
- Peppers, Corn, Grain (hmm, not sure how we came up with that, but it’s clearly labeled!)
- Root Vegetables
I have seen some people break their system down further into sub-categories like:
- Seeds to start indoors under grow lights
- Seeds to direct sow
- Fall plantings
but I have not found this subdivision necessary. When it’s time for me to sow seeds, I quickly grab the seeds I need, pull them into a small basket, and keep that basket with me while I start seeds.
The time I save having my seeds organized and stored neatly becomes more time that I can spend playing in the garden!
we did ours just like this too.. Infact I had to look at the pic twice!!! lol.. it has worked for years and the only change we made was a locking lid, ( I drop things more than the kids..) I like that It is very portable. I can grab it in a bug out.. My seed are currency to me! Love the blog!
It is super portable and easy, I’m not at all surprised that others have the same storage plan!
What a great idea. How many years can you successfully keep seeds until you think it is best to just trash them?
Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)
Well, germination rates will reduce each year, for sure, but I’ve used seeds that were 5 years old this gardening season and just added more seed. There are lots of good blog posts out there about testing germination, for instance, this one: http://learningandyearning.com/testing-seed-for-viability
Truthfully, I always have lots of different varieties of any one type of vegetable, so I just plant an assortment and do the seed viability testing while I’m starting seeds! If I get no germ, I toss the seeds, make a note in my garden journal, and buy new ones next season. -teri
More great information. Thanks!
You’re welcome. I hope it helps!
Reblogged this on Oldschool Prepping/Homesteading/Self Reliance.
Thanks for sharing!
I store mine in jars in the fridge, to make them last longer. I love this box idea; just wish it would fit in the fridge or freezer!
It’s the only down side! But I have way too many seeds to put in the fridge!
On a totally unrelated note, I found your singing audition tips online, and they were incredibly helpful! Thanks!
Oh, I’m glad, Terri!