How to store seeds for your garden for the following year. Learn how to use photo albums to organize your seeds, what supplies you need for seed saving, and more!
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One of the best ways to save money when gardening is to save seeds. Keep seeds from your plants for next year, or keep leftover seeds from your packets.
For me, I always have lots of herb seeds leftover because I only need one or two mint or basil plants. These are absolutely must-saves and I can keep the leftover seeds in their original packets.
For plants like corn, I use all of the seeds in the packet. But as my gardening skills improve, I am trying to save seeds from vegetables and fruits that I grow so that I can save money on my garden year after year.
Am I Allowed to Save the Seeds?
First, there is the legal matter of saving seeds. Not all seeds can be saved- legally. The same is true of cuttings from plants like raspberries and blueberries.
Seed varieties and creating them is an art- and that art is protected.
The key thing that you want to understand is whether you’re buying heirloom seeds or hybrids. My friend Marie wrote a detailed article on the difference between the two seed types if you’re interested.
Long story short- heirloom seeds are fair game to store for the following year. They’re open pollinated. They’re “old” seeds (as in, they haven’t been modified through selective pollination).
Legally you shouldn’t be saving hybrids.
Personally I usually buy heirloom seeds so I don’t need to remember what I am allowed or not allowed to save. It’s easier to keep track.
But there are benefits to planting hybrids and of course, you may save the seeds that are leftover from your container. You just can’t save the seeds from the fruit/vegetables (taking cuttings is also a no-no for fruit plants).
Seed Saving Tips
- Save seeds only from healthy vegetables or fruits.
- Label seed packets carefully.
- Thoroughly dry the seeds before storing.
- Keep seeds cool and dry in storage.
- Toss if they get moldy.
- Different plants produce seeds in different ways so it’s important to understand the specifics for the plant you’re working with.
- Older seeds may have lower germination rates. The older they are, the less productive they will be. But it’s worth saving them!
Seed Saving Supplies
Seed Saving Supplies
Seed saving supplies that can help you organize your vegetable, fruit, and flower seeds for next year's garden.
(20, 50, or 100) 1.5 Quart Odor-Proof 5 Mil Ziplock Genuine Aluminum Foil Mylar Bags for Herb, Seed, Food and Organics Storage (10"x10") (20)
Aluminum foil bags to store the seeds.
DecorRack 40 Plastic Mini Containers with Lids, 0.5oz, Craft Storage Containers for Beads, Glitter, Slime, Paint or Seed Storage, Small Clear Empty Cups with Lids (40 Pack)
Small clear containers would work for seed storage.
Seed Storage and Organizer Box for Your Garden Seed Packets - New - Tall Size -11.75 L 5.1 Wide 6.5 H - Expertly Crafted in The U.S.A. with Vintage Style Divider Cards to Organize Seeds
Cute box to store seeds in. This includes divider cards.
Burgon & Ball Seed Packet Storage Tin Frog Green
Here's a nice storage tin for seeds.
Set of 50 Proterra Self Sealing Seed Envelopes (Die 2b) 3.25" x 4.50"
Love these classic and basic seed packs.
Seed Storage Container Organizer Garden Box with 23 Vintage Heirloom Vegetable Design Divider Cards.
This bin might be easy to take in and out of a refrigerator for storage.
Monticello Seed Packet Box with 10 Heirloom Vegetable Seed Packets
Store all of your seed packets in this simple box.
Hulless 6pcs Metal Hinged Tins Box Containers Mini Portable Small Storage Containers Kit Tin Box Containers, Small Tins with Lids, Craft containers, Tin Empty Boxes, Home Storage 3.7x2.3x0.8 inch.
These look like Altoid tins and would work for seeds.
Fashewelry 100pcs Plastic Flip Top Seed Bead Storage Containers 1.97x1.06" Rectangle Transparent Clear Box Package Candy Favor Empty Box Organizers
These TicTac like containers would work for storing seeds.
Fabric Frame Cover Photo Album 200 Pockets Hold 4x6 Photos, Tranquil Aqua
Any photo album that allows you to slip in the seed packets is perfect for storing the seeds.
What To Store Seeds In
My favorite method to store seeds is all over my house and workshop. Haha. Seriously though… this has been what I’ve been doing. It’s not effective and it doesn’t make for good germination rates for the following year. Seeds sometimes get mixed up.
This year I decided to get it together and start organizing my seeds.
I found an old photo album and used each 4×6 pocket for a seed packet. They fit perfect and hold the packets closed (although a piece of tape to secure it wouldn’t hurt).
Where to Store Seeds
Seeds need to be kept away from heat and humidity. They need a cool and dry spot which is why many people like to store them in the refrigerator.
Do NOT store your seeds in a freezer.
It’s always good to check the instructions for the particular type of seeds you’re trying to store.
The nice thing about using a photo album or a special box to store your seed packets is that you can easily pull them in and out of the refrigerator. There’s no loose seed packets falling down in the back or getting lost.
How to Collect Seeds from Vegetables, Fruit, and Flowers
There are a variety of ways to collect seeds from veggies, fruits, and flowers. You really need to be familiar with your particular plant. Read more about harvesting seeds here.
For fruit trees, growing from the seed of the fruit isn’t ideal. Usually people graft pieces of a fruit tree onto another tree, something I’m not completely familiar with. You can read more about grafting fruit trees here.
Strawberries send off runners to reproduce and will not require a lot of help to spread, with the exception of weeding, watering, and keeping the soil fertilized.
For free bushes like blueberry, raspberry, and blackberries, you can take cuttings. You usually need to do this at the correct time of year. Then you keep the cuttings alive until they root and grow into their own plants.
I’ve heard a gardener say that they bend a blueberry bush limb over and let it take root next to the mother plant in their soil. I haven’t tried it yet and my cutting attempts last year failed. It’s on my “to do” list.
Plants like broccoli and lettuce “go to seed.” This is when they bolt (get really tall and the plant gets icky to eat). You can collect seeds from the flowers that pop up. Here’s some information on collecting seeds from lettuce.
The easiest plants to collect seeds from are produce like cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash. They have huge seeds that are easy to find in the center of them.
Seeds need to be dried before being stored. You don’t want moisture in your packets or they can mold. I usually lay them out to dry for a few days on paper towels.
I’ve had pretty good luck with any type of squash, pumpkin, and cucumbers. This year I’d like to attempt saving lettuce seeds.
My goal is to try saving seeds from a new type of plant (or two) each year.
Interested in gardening? Here are some other posts about gardening that I’ve written and you might enjoy: DIY Concrete Planters | Privacy Planters | How to Use Pine Straw as Mulch | 13 Stunning & Easy Garden Trellis Ideas | How to Setup a Pond and Patio | Gifts to Make from the Garden | Everything You Need to Know about Grow Lights
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