Friday, October 12, 2012

Storing Your Vegetable Seeds Part 1

There are a number of manufacturers and suppliers of Vegetable Seeds. Farms that sell vegetable seeds in large quantities to vegetable seed distributors to smaller clearing house vegetable seed providers that you can find selling quantities of vegetable seeds more suitable for a small to medium sized vegetable gardens  such as those selling vegetable seeds on eBay and the like.

As a disclaimer, I too operate a company that sells vegetable seeds. Specifically we sell those vegetable seeds to home vegetable gardeners. We buy our vegetable seeds in very large quantities, from farms that, obviously, sell vegetable seeds in bulk. We do so to keep the costs of those vegetable seeds at the lowest possible price and in turn we pass those savings onto our customers.

I would imagine that other vegetable seed companies, who cater to the same home vegetable gardening audience, do the same when procuring their quantities and varieties of vegetable seeds.

But specific vegetable seed companies are not what I wanted to talk about in today’s article on vegetable seeds (or for those that are listening to this transcript via our vegetable seeds podcast).

I wanted to address a great issue on vegetable seeds that I receive questions for from our followers on our Facebook page, where we discuss vegetables seeds and vegetable gardening all the time.

The most popular question on vegetable seeds that I receive, is without a doubt, “how do I save and store my vegetable seeds so that they can be used for future growing seasons?”

For me personally, I like to store my vegetable seeds in a cool dry location. That would translate into putting my vegetable seeds in a plastic container, such as a tupperware or rubbermaid bowl. A resealable ziploc bag works great as well for storing vegetable seeds.

I make sure, that whichever packaging I use to hold the vegetable seeds, they are sealed tight. The vegetable seeds, will then go in a cabinet that I have in my basement, specifically for the purpose of vegetable seed storage. Well, ok, the vegetable seeds do share space with some of the kids’ toys. But that is a whole other topic.

The temperature in my basement is fairly constant throughout the year, which is a perfect storage environment for my vegetable seeds. I have vegetable seeds that are over 5 years old and am still getting great germination success rates on them.

For example, the rule of thumb on many variety of onion vegetable seeds is two years and then the germination rate begins to decline. This past season I grew some onions directly from seeds, sewn into a four foot by four foot raised bed and did well with them. These particular vegetable seeds were 6 years old! I had about an 85% germination rate of these particular vegetable seeds.

Let’s say you do not have a basement to store your vegetable seeds. What do you do then? That is exactly what I will talk about in Part 2 of Storing Your Vegetable Seeds. Some of our Facebook followers came up with some great and unique ways to preserve their vegetable seeds.


About the Author 
Mike Podlesny is the author of Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the rest of us. Be sure to join Mike`s vegetable seeds mailing list

Watch the video below to learn more about Mike`s Seeds of the Month Club:

22 comments:

  1. We save our vegetable seeds as described in the article, in sealed plastic containers stored in a cool place, and the more important ones that are not so easily reproduced, we store in the freezer, such as turnips and collards.

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  2. I am one of those that puts her vegetable seeds in a plastic zip lock baggie and leaves them pretty much wherever I have room! (Saw this link on Facebook)

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  3. I always try to save as many vegetable seeds as I can. It cuts way down on the cost of gardening. After they are gathered, cleaned, sorted and marked, I pack them usually in plastic food storage boxes and put them in the freezer to save for planting the following year!

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  4. I save my vegetable seeds in pint jars, label them with masking tape and stick them in the freezer. I've been doing this with black turtle beans for years.

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  5. I save my vegetable seeds in the original seed envelopes collected together in a small gift-sized grocery bag, then that bag stays down in a cool dry corner shelf in the basement. I've had wonderful success with germination after 5 or 6 years, and probably longer.

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  6. I have just started saving vegetable seeds, and have most of them in an individual paper envelope that is marked with month/year of saving, whether they are organic or heirloom, and where they came from (my garden, friends, etc.). I'm putting them into a binder that has clear vinyl sleeves to put each envelope in. Then the binder goes into a closet that is dry and cool.

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  7. My vegetable seeds are neatly sealed in plastic bags, complete with labels, and then sequestered in tightly sealed plastic bins. The bins are stored in the cool and dark basement. I also keep and store flower seeds, herb seeds, tree seeds, and wild plant seeds.

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  8. I store my unused seeds in their original packaging and place them in a zip- lock bag in the garage. This way I know when to plant and what they are.

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  9. Whether it is seeds I have saved or seeds I have ordered, as soon as the vegetable seeds are in my possession I place them in envelopes. I label them and place them in Mason jars. The jars are then sealed and placed in the refrigerator until Spring.

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    Replies
    1. Congrats Dana, you are the winner of the book! Email me directly at mike@averagepersongardening.com so we can get it out to you right away.

      Delete
  10. I make sure my seeds are dry and then drop them into paper envelopes that have all the relevant information printed on them. The vegetable seeds than are kept in a cool dry place until spring. If I didn't have a dry area in my house I would consider using resealable plastic bags. Wish we had a seed exchange here but we don't.

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  11. Laura Hatton-BarnesDecember 20, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    We put our vegetable seeds in plastic bags or containers, then store them in various places. Some go in a dark closet, some in cupboard drawers, and some in the refrigerator. I like the idea of using a binder with clear plastic sleeves.

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  12. I save my vegetable seeds in recycled pill bottles in the refrigerator after I thoroughly dry the seeds out. I have learned not to skip drying them very well because some of my favorite vegetable seeds actually got moldy and nasty after only a couple weeks when I failed to dry them good. All the seeds that were dried well are still nice and ready to plant even from a couple years ago. Just a tip... works for me! :0)

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  13. you would laugh if you saw how my vegetable seeds are stored. well with all good intentions I dry them on a paper plate and HOPEFULLY label the plate and then inevitably I end up with a stack of labeled paper plates with seeds on them on top of my gas fireplace. i know messy unorganized and pathetic. : ) but hey, at least i save my seeds : )

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  14. This is the first year I am storing vegetable seeds from last years harvest. I have employed baby food jars since I sr.to have an abundance

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  15. I store my vegetable seeds in a basket in the basement. I put the opened packets in Ziploc bags. I leave them in the original packets.

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  16. We, my son and I, are relatively new to storing vegetable seeds. We have been following suggestions found here. Cool dark dry place, Airtight containers, and the like. We also store some in the freezer in airtight packages. We are all glad about learning more about keeping seeds and other gardening information that we have found here.

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  17. I actually haven't stored my vegetable seeds beofre, but I am going to try it now thi coming year! I am just a few years into vegetable gardening in my backyard and still learning!!!

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  18. My vegetable seeds are stored in ziplock bags inside labelled envelopes in a dark drawer near the kitchen. Usually I keep them in the same envelopes they were ordered in (hence, no need to re-label them).

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  19. All of my flower, herb and vegetable seeds are in individual envelopes stored in a coffee can in the freezer. Thanks to the seeds of the month club, I have started a second can!

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  20. I save my vegetable seeds in the origional envelopes and keep in my old refridgerator,s crisper in the garage. Mine seem to germinate at a good rate and some are really old varities from family & friends.

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