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How to Store Seeds for Years!

What do bears and seeds have in common? They’re both excellent at hibernating. And both, even when doing nothing but being a bear or a seed, are still alive and running on their energy resources to stay that way. When bears come out of their long torpor, they eat like, well a bear, so they can build back their strength and lounge around in the summer sun with happy, full bellies. Seeds, when poured out of their packet, or pulled out of their storage jars and put in the ground, are fed by the nutrients in the ground so they can grow big and strong, flower out, and set fresh seed to complete the circle and ensure the survival of the plant.

Sow True Seed Cold Room Mason Jar Storage

Seed Viability and Seed Storage Techniques

 

In order to protect your seeds and keep them viable for as long as possible, you need to provide an environment that will keep them in as deep of a hibernation-type environment as you can. How can you do this? Keep your seeds cool, dry, and dark! Why? Cool is important because it keeps the inside of the seed sleepy, dry is important because it keeps the outside of the seed hard and able to protect itself, and dark, although less important than cool and dry, is still important because light can break down seeds over time. There are a number of very effective ways you can store seed for long term use. They can be completely utilitarian, like mason jars or zip-top bags, or you can go for a creative organizers dream like this converted 8-track carrying case.

Various Home Seed Storage Ideas (Guard Dog optional!)

Seed Viability and Seed Storage Techniques

 

Let’s go over the big three. The refrigerator is probably the most ideal place we could ask for. It’s cool, most models running today have auto-defrost so they’re dry, and except when you open the door to stare at its contents, it’s dark! Most of us though, don’t have space to spare in our fridges for our seed stashes. Thankfully there are very acceptable alternatives. To achieve cool, a basement, an interior closet, or under your bed are all good options. To keep your stash dry, you can simply add silica packets to all of your jars, zip-top bags, plastic shoe boxes or buckets with lids. Silica packets are available online and are very reasonably priced, or for free, you can tie a tablespoon of rice into a tissue and add that to your container. If you choose to store in photo albums, notebooks, cardboard boxes, or something else not airtight, you can just tuck your whole stash into a thick garbage bag and that should do the trick. Most of these options will take care of creating dark conditions by default, but if you choose a place that gets light regularly, you can just throw a towel or blanket over your chosen container and that will work just fine.

HOW LONG DO SEEDS KEEP FOR?

Seed Viability Chart from Sow True Seed

Chart Source: www.sustainablemarion.com

I hope this helps sort out the “whys” and “hows” of storing your seeds for the long haul. If you have any creative or useful ideas of your own, please share in the comments!

Thanks!

Angie

 

Angie is our General Manger and has more to say at Now and Zen Farm