If you’ve tried saving seeds from your garden in the past and didn’t have much luck with them germinating in the Spring, chances are you didn’t store them in the environment they needed.
Storing in optimum conditions can keep most varieties viable for several years, following the steps below can increase the chances of a good germination rate for next year’s garden.
- After collecting them from the garden (from herbs, vegetables and flowers), dry them at room temperature on racks or on large sheets of paper for about a week to ensure they hold no moisture.
- After drying, separate them from their pods or flower heads by shaking them into large paper bags. Sift out the dried plant bits then pour seeds into recycled paper envelopes or print off some paper packets . Mark on the packets the type of plant and the date they were harvested.
- Next take a kleenex tissue and pour about 1 tablespoon of powdered dry milk in the center, fold the tissue up so you have a little packet, place this in the bottom of a clean glass jar. The powdered milk will act as a desiccant inside the jar and help to absorb moisture and help provide a dry environment.
- Next fill the jar with your packets and seal the jar shut.
- Keep the jar in a cool dark place to keep the seeds dormant, the back of the refrigerator is an ideal location.
- Do your collecting when it’s dry and sunny several hours after the morning dew has disappeared (early afternoon), the less moisture the better.
- Once you’ve harvested them, avoid storing them in a humid room while they’re drying at room temperature (even the kitchen can be too humid because of the cooking activity).
- If you have long winters and they will be stored for several months, replace the dried milk packet once or twice with a fresh packet.