Fold and seal seed packs to keep them just one year.

Most seed packs contain more seeds than you can possibly use in one season, so it’s good to know you can keep them for next year. In fact, storing seeds for just one year couldn’t be simpler: just fold the envelope and tape it shut. Under normal indoor conditions, that should be enough to keep the seed in fine shape for the first year.

However, if you want to extend its use for 2 years or more, it’s better to create your own seed storage container. Your goal is to keep the seeds cool and dry, which should keep the seeds in good condition for at least 3 years, possibly even 10 or more for some kinds of seeds.

Seed Storage Container

Place seed packs inside a sealable container.

You can make a seed storage container out of just about any container you can seal shut: a Tupperware container, a large-mouth jar, or a sealable plastic bag, etc. Just place the seed packs inside, close it tightly and place it in the refrigerator. (Seeds keep best at cool temperatures.) Don’t freeze them (yes, seeds can be stored frozen in a laboratory setting under extremely dry conditions, but this is not so readily done in the average home).

Store seeds in the refrigerator

There is one extra step to add. You see, when the temperature drops, humidity inside the container tends to increase and you don’t want condensation to form on your seed packets. Remember, cool and dry is what helps conserve seeds! So, before placing the container in the fridge, add a small envelope of silica gel (you’ll find them included with medications, leather goods, electronic goods, etc. at the time of purchase). Silica gel absorbs excess moisture, so adding an envelope of it will help ensure that your seeds remain dry.

Germination Test

Before you sow seed that has been stored for more than 3 years, it would be wise to test its germination beforehand to make sure you’re not wasting your time. Here’s how.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “Storing Leftover Seeds

  1. Pingback: How to Read a Seed Packet – Laidback Gardener

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