Drying and Storing Seeds: Next Planting Season

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In the last few years there has been a growing trend for natural and organic food. Especially as it becomes more and more clear that communities not just nationwide but worldwide do not appreciate Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). This lack of appreciation for genetically modified fruits and vegetables combined with the demand for clean healthy food has increased the importance of learning how to dry and store seeds for next year’s planting season.

Gathering
The first step is to gather the seeds from already existing fruits and vegetables in order to properly prepare them for next year’s planting season. This can even be done if some fruit and vegetables are store bought but is only recommended if they can be guaranteed to be natural and organic. Whether it is strawberries, mangos, corn, beans, or even spinach it is very important to carefully examine and research the seeds belonging to various fruits and vegetables prior to extracting them as to prevent any damage to the seeds. Once comfortable with identifying various different seeds than extracting each seed from the chosen food will be a breeze.

Drying
The next step is to dry the seeds after removing them from the food. The point of drying the seeds is to remove the excess moisture from the seed as to prevent germination until ready. There are several different methods to properly dry seeds but one of the most common and affordable method is the “paper bag” method. Simply place the chosen seeds, belonging to the same fruit and/or vegetable, into a paper bag and gently close the opening. Within a few days time the seeds should have reduced their moisture enough to place them into an air-tight container for storing. Sometimes a paper bag is not available if so, than the seeds can be placed onto a paper plate categorized by various strains than placed onto a windowsill. After a few days time the seeds can then be placed into an air tight container for storing.

Storing
The final step is to place the seeds into an air tight container for proper storage until the following planting season. The container may be glass or plastic the point nevertheless is to keep the container air tight for the following four to six months. Be sure to separate strains of fruits and vegetable seeds into different air tight containers for storage as to keep from misidentifying them later on. Place the containers in an undisturbed location preferably a high shelf in unused room with average room temperature. Doing so will ensure their survivability.

Upon the following planting season be sure to test the seeds before planting all of them at once outdoors. This can be done simply be removing just one to two seeds of each fruit and vegetable strain and testing them for germination. Place the seeds in between a damp paper towel or napkin so that the moisture may surround the seed entirely. After a few days the seeds should show signs of swelling, cracking, or even possibly the beginning stages of a root should be elongating out of them. If so, this means that the rest of the seeds have survived. Be sure to immediately plant the already germinated seeds.

 

Sources:

“How to Store Seeds.” By Lauren Ware
http://smallfarm.about.com/od/cropsandvegetables/a/How-To-Store-Seeds.htm

“Storing Seeds – How to Store Seeds.” By Bonnie L. Grant. Gardening Know How
http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/seeds/storing-seeds.htm

“Top 10 Tips for Storing Seeds.” Organic Gardening
http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/top-10-tips-storing-seeds

Alden Morris
Alden Morris is a freelance writer and producer of content aimed to create interest, inspire, and educate.