Even though I am a quilter, I am also a lifelong gardener. Both fill me with joy and help me to relax. Now that it is September, the garden is winding down. I find myself looking for seeds to save for next year, especially flower seeds. I am gathering zinnia, marigold, four o’clocks and morning glory seeds right now.
It is time to organize all of the seed packets I have strewn all over the sunroom and find a way to save the seeds. Here is how I store my seeds and a free tutorial on how make your own seed packets for seeds you might be saving.
Storing your seeds
I use an airtight container like a glass jar or plastic container with a lid to store my seeds.
To keep out moisture, I add a few of those little packets of silica jel saved from pill containers to keep them dry. Then I put my seeds inside a paper or cloth grocery bag to eliminate any light and I leave them in my sunroom over the winter. It is not heated, so the seeds get freezing cold. This simulates being in the cold ground, so when spring comes, the seeds know it is time to be planted.
Can you keep seeds for more than one year?
I say YES, you don’t have to have new seeds each year if you have some left over. They are too expensive to just throw away! Many seeds keep for at least two years and often many more years if you store them in a dry, cool place. I tend to use my seeds for several years as long as they will still germinate. Some seeds are notorious for not keeping over the season for me, like lettuce and spinach, but almost everything else works.
Organizing your seeds
I like to organize mine by alphabetical order, but I am thinking I should switch it up and do it by the timing of when to plant them instead. I also like to separate vegetables, flowers and herbs into their own groups.
I like to save a few seeds for the next year, some things go to seed and it is easy to gather them. Some of my favorites that are easy to save are zinnia, morning glory, forget me not, and marigold seeds. I will also save seeds from melons, cucumbers and anything that gets too big before I pick it! Just remember that if you planted a hybrid seed, the seeds will not grow true. I like to pick heirloom seeds that you can easily save and get the same plant. I have some funky heirloom cherry tomato seeds right now that I can hardly wait to plant next year.
Make your own seed envelopes
I let the seeds dry and then I make these cute envelopes and labels to store and keep them. I have found the heavy weight scrapbook paper is perfect for this, but you could recycle junk mail or catalogs too. Here is the FREE DIY Seed Envelope Pattern in two sizes and a FREE DIY Seed Labels Template (The labels are in an MS Word file template using Return address labels sized 1″ x 2 5/8″).
- 12″ x 12″ Scrapbook Papers
- Heavy Cardstock for template
- Glue Stick
- Return address labels sized 1″ x 2 5/8″ for printer
- Print out the template and cut it out of heavy cardstock or cardboard to use to trace around.
- Position it on your scrap book paper and use a pencil on the wrong side to trace around it.
- You can fit 2 large and 2 small envelopes on a standard 12 x 12 scrapbook paper.
- Cut out your envelopes.
- First fold the large side flap.
- Use a glue stick to glue the outside edge of the flap.
- Fold the small flap over and crease in place.
- Glue the bottom flap and fold it up into place.
- Let the envelope and glue dry for a bit.
- They are so easy, make a bunch of envelopes.
- Print out your labels and attach one to each envelope.
- Mark the label with the type of seed and date and then fill them up with your saved seeds. Fold the top flap down and secure with a sticky dot or a little glue and organize them in your container.
Gift idea! Make these for Mother’s day or for a garden party for favors. These would make nice gifts to slip inside a birthday card too.
What seeds do you like to save?