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Storing Your Seeds

Although I have been in a state of hibernation since December, and especially with this 'arctic airflow' blasting through our Province, the lengthening days and warmer temperatures have me aching for spring.

shopping therapy

Throughout the dark days, I spend hours pouring over my West Coast Seed catalogue, using all my powers of self-control not to buy every new and interesting seed I see. Yesterday, the seed order arrived and by golly, I was excited to see that small box in my mailbox!


It's hard to imagine that the teeny-tiny seed you hold between your fingertips is actually a tightly-packed bundle ready to burst into life! Because of this, I try to look after my seeds by keeping them in an air-tight, dry container, away from dampness or excess heat.


But another concern is sorting the seeds in such a way that I can find them easily. When I started to write this post, they were a jumbled mess on the top shelf of my sprouting area, so something needed to be done.


There are many ways to sort seeds, alphabetically, by size, by zone or crop type but I tend to sort them by growing season or more accurately, when I plan to plant them: early spring, late spring, summer, winter.


My grandma was an avid gardener, and my inspiration, and she had all her seeds neatly labelled in a recipe box, A to Z, with little corresponding notes on each packet about what did well where. I am not that organised, but it is a goal post!


Determined to get slightly better organised, I took down all my seeds, reviewed what did well and checked the dates to ensure reliable germination (2-5 years max).


Then I separated all the seeds according to when I need to plant them, and stored them in the repurposed tin box that my eco-laundry powder comes in. To keep them dry, and to extend their storage life, I add those silica gel packets that come with the seaweed snacks my kids love to eat to my seed boxes. Repurpose, reuse and relove is my motto!


Some other ways to store seeds include:


1. Photo Albums: storing seed packets in the pocketed plastic sleeves allow each to be visible and easily accessible,

2. Jars and Lids: I keep seeds from my garden in little jars I wash and repurpose such as jam pots from breakfast restaurants (yes I keep them in my purse to rinse at home! #nowaste) and small glass cosmetic containers,

3. Misc: Old film canisters and pill bottles would also work well.


The storage length of seeds vary greatly. Some seeds such as the Brassicas (ie: broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts) are long-lived and should be viable for five plus years. Medium-lived seeds, if stored properly, last between 3-5 years and include carrots, beans, pumpkins, peas, etc. Short-lived seeds such as corn, spinach and onions are not recommended to keep more than one or two seasons.


Our local public library has started a seed library-swap that is free to anyone with a library membership - so I will be taking advantage of that awesomeness this spring. In exchange, I'll drop off my zucchini seeds that I realised my family does not like eating, only after the first summer when the endless massive zucc monsters were taking over the rest of my garden!




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