Seed Saving - how do I store my seed?

Vegetable seed saving is a way to keep your gardening costs down. For best results fresh seed should be bought each season, however most seed will keep for a year or two if stored properly.

The best place to store vegetable seeds is in a cool dry place. Heat and humidity are the major factors that destroy the viability of seeds. The best way to save vegetable seed is to store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Some vegetable seeds have a shorter life span than others. Some of these are:

  • corn
  • onions
  • parsnips
  • hybrid tomatoes

There are other vegetable seeds that will germinate 3-4 years after they have been harvested. Some of these are:

  • beans
  • beets
  • carrots
  • peas
  • peppers
  • pumpkins
  • Swiss chard
  • tomatoes

Then there are some vegetable seeds that will last up to 5 years.

  • broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • cucumber
  • lettuce
  • melons
  • radish
  • turnip
  • squash

The viability of the seed will depend on whether or not they have been stored properly and any stored seed should be tested before planting.

To test the seed:

  • Spread 10 seeds on a moist paper towel.
  • Cover with another moist paper towel.
  • Put the paper towel in a plastic bag and seal.
  • Put this in any spot out of direct sunlight.
  • In 4-6 days check the seeds to see if any have begun to sprout.
After 10 days make your final check. Count how many seeds have sprouted. If at least 7 out to the 10 sprout then you can assume 70% of the seed will sprout in your garden. Do not take the seed packet out of storage unless you are going to plant them right away.

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