Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

How to Keep Your Seeds Alive for Years

How to Keep Your Seeds Alive for Years

There's three conditions to maintain to keep your prized heirloom seeds viable: keep them cool, dry and dark.

Seeds are embryos encased in a womb shell, or, as the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center explains, “A seed is a plant in a box with its lunch.”

Be sure to label your seeds. Photo courtesy vegetablegardener.com

Because seeds are alive, they’ll inevitably lose viability if exposed to conditions such as heat, sun or too much moisture.

The Seed Savers Exchange receives an average of five seed donations per month packed in all kinds of containers, including envelopes, film canisters or pill bottles, plastic baggies, manilla envelopes, paper bags and glass jars. All of these make great containers for long-term storage of seeds if a cool, dry and dark climate is maintained.

One of the best places for seed storage of less than five years is on a shelf in your bedroom closet. Or you can store seeds in the freezer for years—just remember to let the entire container of frozen seeds acclimate to warmer temperatures before opening the package.

And don't forget to label your seeds.

To determine if stored seeds are still viable, take a few of them, count them and place them in a pot or flat tray filled with potting mix. Water the seeds well and give them plenty of light. Keep the potting mix moist, and see how many seeds sprout. If more than half to three quarters of the seeds sprout, then the seeds have a good chance of germinating in the garden, says Planttalk Colorado

Want more information? Seed Savers offers a webinar on seed storage.

Sunrise over planet Earth. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. Elen11 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On Thursday, April 22, the world will celebrate Earth Day, the largest non-religious holiday on the globe.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
NASA has teamed up with non-profit Carbon Mapper to help pinpoint greenhouse gas sources. aapsky / Getty Images

NASA is teaming up with an innovative non-profit to hunt for greenhouse gas super-emitters responsible for the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Trending
schnuddel / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Jenna McGuire

Commonly used herbicides across the U.S. contain highly toxic undisclosed "inert" ingredients that are lethal to bumblebees, according to a new study published Friday in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Read More Show Less
A warming climate can lead to lake stratification, including toxic algal blooms. UpdogDesigns / Getty Images

By Ayesha Tandon

New research shows that lake "stratification periods" – a seasonal separation of water into layers – will last longer in a warmer climate.

Read More Show Less
A view of Lake Powell from Romana Mesa, Utah, on Sept. 8, 2018. DEA / S. AMANTINI / Contributor / Getty Images

By Robert Glennon

Interstate water disputes are as American as apple pie. States often think a neighboring state is using more than its fair share from a river, lake or aquifer that crosses borders.

Read More Show Less