You've just picked up all of your garden seeds and started planting them. But what do you do with the extra seeds? How long do seeds last? What's the best seed storage container to use? We have answers to those questions, plus a little DIY seed storage case tutorial for you.
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I've tried different methods for seed storage from recipe boxes to file folders, none of which seemed satisfactory. They were messy, and didn't protect seeds from moisture when outside in the garden. But then I discovered the perfect seed storage solution:
I purchased this photo storage case on Amazon back in 2015, and it's worked perfectly ever since. I can tote it out to the garden like a little suitcase, and the plastic protects my paper seed packets from water and keeps them from blowing away in the wind. It holds 16 individual cases, which act as perfect little seed storage containers. I also store my seed markers in this case.
I used my handy dandy Brother labeler to mark each inner case by seed type. But they're nice and clear so you can see what's inside even if you don't label them.
How to make your DIY seed storage case
I was hesitant to even call this a DIY project because it's so very simple... it's more of a hack? But I feel like it is still a DIY project because we're repurposing an object to be used for something else, and it works so incredibly well. So there. Ha.
- Gather your seeds by type
- Place them in the storage case
- Label your case
- Smile because this DIY project was so incredibly easy.
Now to those questions.
How do I store leftover seeds?
Obviously, in your new DIY seed storage case! But here are a couple of tips for opening your seed packets and keeping them closed so seeds don't go spilling all over the place.
- Use scissors to cut open the very bottom of the package. This preserves all the important info at the top, like seed type and expiration date.
- When you're ready to store your seeds, simply fold the bottom up twice and use a paper clip to keep it closed.
- Slip your seed packet in your new seed storage case. Store in a cool, dry place.
How long do seeds last? Do I need to buy new seeds every year?
If you store seeds properly, they can last many years. The oldest seed known to germinate into a viable plant was carbon-dated to about 31,000 years old! So no, you don't have to buy new seeds every year.
Since seeds germinate under moisture and warmth, so it would make sense to store them in opposite conditions: cool and dry.
I keep my seed storage case in my basement on the bottom shelf of my DIY grow light setup. While basements can be damp, I live in the arid climes of Idaho, so it hasn't been a problem. A first-story closet would work great, or even a bottom shelf in your garage.
Some people refrigerate or freeze their seeds, but I've never tried this, so be sure and let us know if you have had success with freezing or refrigerating seeds in the comments below.
This year, I'll be using some seeds from 2015 in my garden, so they'll be 3 years old. Over time, the germination rate for seeds can drop, so you can plant extra seeds to ensure that at least one will sprout.
I usually plant 3-5 seeds if my seeds are more than 1-2 years old. Divide the number of sprouts by the number of seeds planted, and this will give you your germination rate. You can write that number on the packet for future reference if you want to get fancy.
How do you store seeds? Have questions? Comment below and let us know!
We love history, old movies, exploring the outdoors, and of course -- cooking together. Our faithful pups, Mila and Eva, are always ready to clean up any morsels that accidentally tumble from the kitchen counter.