Folk Fibers Blog


    A Garden's success depends in part on the quality of seeds planted.

    It is a shame to let seeds deteriorate inside a drawer or closet when simply putting them in an air tight container, inside the refrigerator, or freezer is the better option.  I am writing this because I realized many of my friends and family were making this common mistake, so perhaps it can be helpful to share what I know on seed storage.

    Conditions essential to good seed storage are just the opposite of those required for good germination. Good germination occurs when water and oxygen are present at a favorable temperature. Good seed storage results when seeds are kept dry (below 8 percent moisture) and the temperature is kept low. Light, moisture, and high temperatures are the three enemies to stored seeds.  Light and humidity can stimulate premature germination, high temperatures can bake seeds, and excess moisture can promote the growth of fungal diseases and rot.  

    If you handle them well, you can store most seeds for many years without a decline in the germination rate. But it only takes a few days in poor conditions to kill them. For the home gardener, storing seeds in a water resistant containers like wax storage bags, glass jars, or plastic containers with snap-on lids work well.  Before sealing the container add a folded paper towel or a packet of silica gel.  The silica gel is most effective at removing any moisture that remains in the storage container after it is sealed. Seed stored under these conditions will remain viable for many years.  For large scale seed storage, coolers are sealed off from pest, and dehumidifiers are used to regulate a dry environment.

    The refrigerator or freezer are both good options. Avoid wildly fluctuating temps and high humidity. So if one place keeps a more steady temperature (even if it's a tad warmer) then use that space for your seed storage.  If you have a special seed and want to ensure optimal care, the best thing to do is research the specific needs of your seed.

    If you are into saving your own seeds it can be rewarding in so many ways!  A little seed saving is an empowering thing to do!  Just make sure to give extra care to drying the seeds before storing them.  My favorite online source is International Seed Saving Institute, a nonprofit (add free website) devoted to seed education and permaculture. 

    *The photo above is a seed packet I carefully saved, designed by Emily + Paul for their "Country Side Wedding".  Not pictured is the sweet inscription on the backside that says, "Throw these at the bride and groom, They offer luck and soon will bloom".

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