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What to Do When You Have Too Many Seeds

Seed packets have more seeds than I really need. Can I save some for next year?


Answer: Sometimes when using seed packets to help grow our lush gardens, we often have seeds left over. Rather than throwing them out, why not try and store them for next year?

Properly storing your favorite seeds can extend their lives, helping to ensure your chances of successfully using them for next year’s growing season. Here are a couple steps you can take to store your seeds:

First you want to take your leftover seeds and keep them in their original packets—to retain the seed pack's information—and place the packet into an airtight container/jar or a sealable plastic bag. If you do not have the original packet, then you want to label your container/bag with the seed’s name and purchase date, to help keep track of what type of seeds they are and how recently they have been purchased.

Once you have your seeds in labeled, sealed containers, put them in a cool, dark place, like a refrigerator. If there is no room in your refrigerator, a cool place such as a basement, is the next best location. If you have to use the basement, a good idea is to put your secured seeds in another container, such as a storage bin, to keep them dark, dry and safe.

To absorb any possible moisture that may damage your leftover seeds, you can add silica gel (you can use the packets that often come with new shoes) or rice, to the bottom of the containers. Separate your seeds from the gel or rice by wrapping them up in a paper towel. When you are ready to reuse your stored seeds, you can test their viability by performing a germination test. (Check out ways to test seed viability here.)

Keeping your leftover seeds stored in a cool, dry place can prolong their shelf lives, increasing your chances of recreating the grandeur of last year’s thriving garden.

Image: rfarmer
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