seed storage

Seed Storage 101: How To Save Seeds Short & Long Term

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Seed storage is a simple process. It’s a matter of just making sure your seeds are safe, cool and dry (and stored in a safe container). A clay pot or mason jar should do the trick for long term storage. As long as the environment where you keep the seeds stored doesn’t pose any dangers to them.

Did you hear the recent news about the 2,000 year old biblical date palm that was brought back from extinction after its seeds were found stored in a clay pot? This is the greatest discovery since The Dead Sea Scrolls! Did they know a secret about storing seeds, or did these seeds get a little help from above?

It’s an interesting story that begs a lot of questions. You can read the full story here.

If you’ve been gardening or farming for any length of time chances are you’ve had to find some mason jars to fill up with certain seeds. But have you ever wondered if you’re doing it right? This post will make sure you do.


Seed Storage 101

There are many reasons you’d want to store seeds for future use.

seed storage

You never know when you’ll come across some good seeds and need to save some safely for later use. Convenient seed storage envelopes can be bought online or you can easily make them fast. Then, you can always have a few slips in your wallet or purse.

You want heirloom seeds.

Hybrids will give you random qualities from the original parents rather than a true-to-form result from the hybrid plant that the seed came from. Heirloom seeds are not hybrid seeds. They’re the best seeds for saving. For this reason, you want to save and store seeds from pure strains of your vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

Some seeds are easier to store than others. Legumes are some of the easiest, for example. Cauliflower and tomatoes are 2 more easier to store seed types.

I just saved a bunch of butterfly pea seed pods that popped up in the tens to hundreds recently outside our home. I’m lining our whole side yard fence with Butterfly Pea Flowers, so I won’t be storing these too long. Still, these tips helped me learn to not pluck the seeds prematurely from the vines.

Make sure your seeds are ready for planting at any moments notice for years to come with these 5 seed saving tips.


#1. Use Seed Storage Containers

seed saving

Let’s first learn how to make quick DIY paper envelopes. These are perfect for seed storage on the fly.

DIY ENVELOPES VIDEO: How to make a paper envelope with any piece of paper.

Paper envelopes work great on a pinch for storing seeds. Little seed storage sleeves can be bought, or you can easily make an envelope. If you prefer to purchase the envelopes, here’s a good pack of seed storing envelopes on Amazon.

Set of 50 Proterra Self Sealing Seed Envelopes (Die 2b) 3.25" x 4.50"
  • These blank, kraft colored, self sealing seed envelopes measure 4.50 inch tall by 3.25 inches wide when sealed.
  • The envelopes include a 1/2" flap with green self sealing adhesive glue.
  • Perfect for saving and storing seeds, or other small materials and objects, such as screws, beads, sd cards, coins and more.
  • These specialty seed envelopes by Seed Needs are designed to hold in even the smallest of seeds.
  • Seed envelopes packaged by Seed Needs, a brand known for it's quality seed products.

Looking for a more heavy duty seed storage option?

Maybe you’re dealing with crazy weather right now and want to make sure your seeds won’t get wet. You can use many airtight containers. They’re all good from pretty much any material. But there are also set products created for this. These below can store your seeds safely, and help you organize them nicely as well:

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Darice Clear Bead Organizer Storage System - Includes 24, Screw-Top Canisters in a 9.5"x6.375"x1.125" Snap-Tight Case - For Beads, Sequins, Board Game Pieces, Nails, Jewelry Making Supplies and More
  • BEAD STORAGE SYSTEM - The clear bead container makes it simple to store and organize beads and other small items safely and securely. The 24, screw-top canisters fit snugly in the 9.5"x6.375"x1.125" snap-tight case. You can be sure your supplies will not spill or get lost.
  • STAY ORGANIZED - The 24 small canisters are perfect for organizing small supplies, so you can spend more time creating and less time looking for the right piece. You can store beads by color, jewelry clasps by type, nails by size - whatever works best for you!
  • "EZ" VIEW SYSTEM - You don't even have to open the canisters to see what is inside with the "EZ" view storage system. The storage box is clear, and the canisters are clear with magnified tops so you can quickly and easily find exactly what you need.
  • ALL-INCLUSIVE ORGANIZATION - The holding case snaps tight, so you can easily take your supplies on the go. The box fits nicely in a drawer or on a shelf to keep your items together.
  • FIND YOUR INSPIRATION - Since 1954, Darice has been inspiring creativity with the best value and selection of art and craft supplies for every level crafter. From scrapbooking to jewelry making, kids' crafts to fine art, floral design to your latest Pinterest project, Darice has over 45,000 items for every level of crafter.

#2. Let Seeds Dry Naturally Before Storing

storing seeds long term
For proper germination, you must let seeds dry naturally.

Most seeds will fully dry attached to the plant, but others can be aided. When dealing with wet seeds, let the remaining fruit or vegetable flesh covering it to naturally rot away, then dry. Drying is the key factor for seed storage. You must let it fully dry naturally. It’s a natural preservation method.

On that note, let them mature as well.

Most seeds will fully dry attached to the plant, but others can be aided. When dealing with wet seeds, let the remaining fruit or vegetable flesh covering it to naturally rot away, then dry. Drying is the key factor for seed storage. You must let it fully dry naturally. It’s a natural preservation method.


#3. Seeds Should Be Kept In A Dark Area

seed storage container
The top 3 seed storing factors: Cool, dark and safe.

Lighting is important for preserving seed freshness.

Light can break down the seed coating. If the skin coating opens then stuff can get in. Sun can degrade the seed coating.

Temperature matters too. Find a cool area, as well as dark, to store your seeds. A cool, dark storage area, even a freezer, has been known to be the best environment for storing seeds long term that are great for growing again.


#4. Air Can Oxidize Seed Coating Too

saving seeds

Air can oxidize the seed coating and also break it down. A vacuum sealer can help. Silica gel packs are helpful because they absorb moisture. The dryer the air, the better your seeds will store.

Vacuum sealing tips for storing seeds:

  • A regular mason jar can also be vacuum sealed.
  • A ziplock baggy in the freezer can work great too.
  • To ensure the moisture is left out, you can toss a bunch of little seed packets inside of a vacuum sealed pouch.
  • Vacuum packing helps with organization as well.

#5. Avoid Hybrid Seeds

hybrid seed storage

Watch out for cross pollinating vegetable groups. For example, if you plant pumpkins, cucumbers and squash next to each other, these have a high probability of swapping pollen and creating a mutant type of hybrid. When storing seeds, you want to store the heirloom non-hybrid varieties, so these seeds would not be the prized seed storing type. This is why some people bag certain vegetables and fruits, to avoid the cross pollination either from the wind or via insects. The solution is to not grow same variety types at the same time, or at least very far away from each other. This will make the seeds harvested a higher chance of creating an ideal saving seed.


Seed Storage: Don’t Do This

seed storage sprouting fam2

Don’t pluck seeds from a plant too early. Let them dry on the vine or stem. If you pluck early and let it dry in a jar, for example, the seeds will not properly germinate and you’ll have a bad seed and crushed hopes soon after planting them. You must let the seeds dry!


Conclusion – Storing Seeds Safely

saving seeds

These tips should get you well on your way to storing seeds you will be able to use at any time throughout your lifetime, your kids’ and hopefully theirs, too!

Seeds that are well-stored should be good for at least 5 years and maybe even up to 10 years. They say 5 to 7 is the most you can expect, but then you have the story of the 2,000 year old seeds from a clay pot.

At this rate, who knows how rampant GMO seeds will proliferate and for this reason it’s essential to know how to store and save organic, natural and untampered Heirloom seeds so that we will never let the original seeds as God intended them, to become extinct.

Follow these general seed storage guidelines to ensure your seeds stay good for at least a few years, up to, you never know, maybe even thousands.

Have you ever saved seeds for years and planted them successfully afterwords?

What’s your seed saving strategy?

What’s the longest you’ve stored seeds for?


Thanks for coming by the blog!

UP NEXT: How To Make Organic Fertilizer Liquids

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