Seed Saving

Seed saving is a very important garden activity in terms of history, community and good home economics. It is easy to do but, like many things in life, there are a few rules that can help make your efforts more successful. As I save seeds through the year I will post them up so that you can get a better understanding of the processes required of different plants.

General Seed Saving Practices

Seeds should be stored in dark glass jars, brown paper bags or envelopes. Personally, I prefer to place any seed which I store in envelopes or paper bags in plastic snap lock bags first. I do this as a precaution, to deter pests that might sniff out the contents of the bag or envelope and chew their way into my seed. I am not overly pedantic about using dark coloured glass as I store my seeds in a dark cupboard. Dark jars can be a little tricky to find. Vitamin jars are very useful so be sure to ask your family and friends to keep theirs.

All seed will perform better if stored in a cool, dark and dry place like a cupboard or cellar. Keeping your seed bank on the south or south-eastern side of your house during summer will prevent heat damage, prolonging the shelf life of your seeds. (For those in the northern hemisphere that’s the north or north-western side).

If you are really serious about preserving your seed you can store the seed in packets, inside glass jars in the fridge. You will need to get your hands on some silica crystals and perhaps a humidity indicator card to place in the jar with your seed. You can find both fairly cheap online. They will help to prevent moisture spoiling the seed. Honestly, I think this is overkill but, I do store carrot and parsnip seeds this way as they have a very short shelf life. Anything that might prolong this will certainly be beneficial. For the rest of my seed this is not necessary. It would take up a lot of room and be an awful waste of energy.

Be sure to label your seed carefully. You should clearly mark the namedate, and any other relevant information like: the location where they were harvested or a brief history of the seed. For instance, if a friend gave me seed that was a family heirloom, perhaps brought with them from their home village in Italy, I would most definitely write that information down and keep it with any seed I store or give away. Those sorts of details are particularly important to keep.

When we come into possession of such precious seed we really become their custodians. It becomes our responsibility to grow the plants, save the seed and distribute it to others so that those heirloom varieties will be available for future generations.


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