How to Keep Garden Seed Stock

Overview

If you save seeds from your garden plants or only use a limited amount of the seeds provided in the seed packet, proper storage helps ensure the seeds remain viable. Saving your garden seed stock saves money and ensures your favorite plant types are available each year---a concern if you grow heirloom vegetable varieties. Poorly stored seeds lose their viability, something you may not find out until it is time to plant and no seedlings emerge. Avoid springtime disappointment by storing the seeds as soon as they are harvested and cured, or once you are done planting from the seed envelope.

Step 1

Store seeds that have a minimal moisture content. Spread out seeds on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Place in a warm, well-ventilated room to dry. Dry fresh harvested seeds two weeks and leftover seeds for one week.

Step 2

Label an envelope with the seed variety and year harvested or purchased. Place the seeds inside.

Step 3

Lay a square of cheesecloth out flat. Place ¼ cup of powdered milk in the cheesecloth square. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth together to make a bag and secure with a rubber band.

Step 4

Place the powdered milk and the seed envelope in a glass jar. Screw the lid on tightly. The powdered milk absorbs the excess moisture in the jar.

Step 5

Place the jar in a cool, 40 degree F room to store. Alternately, store the seeds in the refrigerator.

Tips and Warnings

  • Store bean and pea stock in envelopes. Conditions that are too dry make these seeds hard to sprout effectively.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Baking sheet
  • Envelope
  • Cheesecloth
  • Powdered milk
  • Rubber band
  • Jar

References

  • University of Minnesota Extension:Saving Vegetable Seeds
Keywords: seed storage, saving garden seeds, preserving garden seed stock

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.