How to Store Garden Seeds for Next Year

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After you’ve collected and dried seeds from your garden the next step is to find suitable containers to hold them in. Here are some ideas for storing seeds.

Plastic baggies– I bought a couple of packages of them from Wal-Mart a couple of years ago and still have a lot. I’ve found that they last a long time because they are resealable and durable. If you have a large amount of one kind of seed, try sandwich bags. The labels I bought at a dollar store and writing the name of the plant on them works better than writing it on the envelope if you want to reuse the plastic baggie. 

Prescription bottles and film canisters– Yes, some people still use film. Look in the junk drawer around your house or ask nicely at CVS & Walgreens and you may get to take some home.

Paper coin envelopes– I had trouble finding these retail, but I see them every once in a while. I haven’t bought any because there is so much “free” paper around that I’d rather just make my own paper seed envelopes.

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Two of my homemade paper seed envelopes. On the right I folded a seed packet out of a piece of newsprint. You can also fold some seed envelopes out of wax paper, gift wrap or pages from a magazine. If sitting around folding pieces of paper isn’t your idea of a good time make your own envelopes from junk mail. Open your junk mail or bills from one end and you can cut the envelope into three sections and tape the ends and use them as seed packets. These work better for larger seeds, I find that fine seeds can either fall out or into the crevices or get stuck to the tape used to seal them.

Make sure the seeds you collected from your garden are dry before you package them up. If the seeds are still moist they can rot if you place them in something made of plastic–which will defeat the purpose of you saving these seeds. Put your seeds in a cool dry place until it is time to sow them next year.  


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  • The Container Store has ziplock bags in a million different sizes; great for seed storage.

  • In reply to naxn:

    Do they really? I guess I shouldn't be surprised at that. Thanks for the tip.

  • In reply to naxn:

    Good tips! I never thought of using Rx bottles. I usually throw them in the recycling bin, but I'll be holding onto them for seeds from now on. Drat, I just recycled some sample Rx bottles! Too late to retrieve them - they were picked up yesterday. Shoulda read this earlier.

    I get the mega boxes of generic ziploc bags at GFS (Gordon Food Service.) I'm not sure if there are any stores in the city, but there are a bunch of them in the 'burbs. There are 500 bags per box for around $12. One box lasts us several years, and we use them for leftovers and brown bag lunches too. If I use Rx bottles for seeds, the bags will last even longer. I like to save and re-use old seed packages too. It's kind of cool when I can match up the seeds to the package. If it's a different seed I just write over the package info with a marker.

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    It is a good idea to reuse the original seed packets, but if it is a particularly nice seed pack I like to keep them empty and in a box. Sort of like collectible sports cards or something. Otherwise I'd reuse them too.

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    I made my own envelopes for my seed swap, but won't be doing that again. I found the coin envelopes (which I liked and which a few people used in the swap) at Office Depot or Office max or somewhere but didn't buy them because I was feeling cheap. You know. Someone gave me mini veggie cards as a going-away present at work and the envelopes are PERFECT for the seed swap! (I'll use the cards as gift tags.)

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    I keep my seed packets in a metal box (OK, in TWO metal boxes) that once held peppermint bark. No reason! ;-)

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    I keep mine in some shoe boxes or various other boxes I come across.

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