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Storing Seeds

I have quite a few packets of seeds left over that I didn’t get planted this summer. Can I save them for next year?

The summer growing season often gets away from me before I have time to sow all of the seed that I purchased for my garden. At the end of the summer I make an inventory of what I’d like to save and discard the rest.

I store left over seeds in a labeled, airtight baggie or glass jar. I’ve had the best luck with seeds that I kept indoors rather than in my tool shed or garage. I simply place them in a cool, dry location. Some people recommend that they be stored in the refrigerator, but I have not found this to be necessary.

The same storage techniques apply if you are saving seeds collected from your garden. Just be sure that you have thoroughly dried them on newspaper before putting them in jars.

Next year when it is time to plant the seeds you can check their viability with this simple test. Place approximately 10 seeds of the same variety on a damp paper towel. Roll up the paper towel and put it in a plastic bag – do not seal the bag. Keep the bag in a warm area. The top of your refrigerator is a good location. Check the seeds daily and keep the paper towel moist. After 2 or 3 days count the number of seeds that have sprouted. This will give you a pretty good idea of how the seeds will do in the garden. If half the test group germinated, then it is likely that half of the rest of the seeds will grow in your garden.