Gardening now occupies much of our free time during the warmer months here in Zone 6. At the end of the fall, we learned how to store seeds for next season. Now we are so excited we can grow our favorite plants and flowers over again!
Are you looking for great tips on how to store seeds for next season?
Sometimes you can wing it and your saved seeds are just perfect.
Sometimes you save seeds without knowing how and you might end up with moldy bags of unusable seeds. Ugh, this is the worst! This happened to me with kale seeds I harvested.
I’m writing this post to make sure this doesn’t happen to you!
In this article you will discover:
- How to Harvest and Store Seeds
- How to Dry and Store Seeds
- Where and How to Store Saved Seeds
Different seeds may have slightly different needs.
However, for the most part, this guide on how to store seeds for next season should satisfy most seed saving situations.
I’m going to give you all the seed storing tips you need for a successful garden for many years to come!
How to Save and Store Seeds
Harvest seeds at the end of your area’s growing season to ensure you have a seed supply for future seasons of growth. Harvesting seeds is fun!
You can also save some seeds throughout the growing season if they mature that quickly. Simply grab the seed pods or deadheads as you find them!
To harvest seeds, follow these simple steps:
- Scoop the seeds out of the fruit, vegetable, or seed pod. Alternatively, remove them from the flower seed heads.
- Set the seeds in a tray or cardboard box / lid to dry for several days.
- Check the seeds a few times a day and mix them around so they can dry fully.
- After at least four days, transfer the seeds to a paper bag, envelope, or other storage vessel. See below for lots of great options!
How best to store seeds depends on what seeds you’re storing!
When I store tomato seeds, I put them right on a paper towel and allow them to dry right there. Then I fold up and save the entire paper towel with the tomato seeds just as they are.
When I harvest seeds that are extra tiny, like basil seeds, I keep them in their seed pods until it’s time to sow some basil!
Where to Store Seeds for Next Season
Once you’ve harvested seeds from your garden, you’ve got to find a place to keep them until planting time!
Here are lots of tried and true, favorite seed storing containers recommended by gardeners across the country.
1. Photo Storage Container
A plastic photo storage container with individual plastic boxes inside works wonderfully as a seed storage box. It allows you to organize by seed type or family and keeps the critters out.
The photo storage container from Michaels crafts store is the one I personally use to store my seeds.
I organize my seeds in three of these boxes, with one each for:
- Fruits, vegetables, and herbs
- Flower seeds
- Seeds I definitely plan to trade
Of course, not ALL of my seeds fit in these boxes! I have an entire brown paper bag of pumpkin seeds from 14 different types of pumpkins and gourds.
(I couldn’t bear to get rid of the seeds, so I saved them all!)
Who knows if they will grow true to type but it’s a very fun idea to plant them and see!
2. Paper Envelopes
Leftover envelopes, recycled envelopes, and even specialty coin envelopes all work well for saving seeds for next season.
You can even make your own seed envelopes, or do like I did and let the kids make them for you! I absolutely adore our daughters’ custom seed storing envelopes!
3. Brown Paper Bags
When you have a ton of seeds, as you might harvest with marigolds, zinnias, or pumpkins, paper lunch bags are my go-to for storing seeds until next season.
I find that brown paper bags also work well when I harvest seeds but don’t have time to sort and store right away.
I’ve stuck full sprigs of basil seeds and fistfuls of marigold seeds and zinnia deadheads directly in brown paper bags until I have time to manage everything.
4. Empty Spice Jars
Once seeds are completely dry, you can generally store them in jars and sealed baggies.
Empty spice jars offer great seed storage, especially for tiny seeds that you might want to sprinkle right out of the jar!
5. Large Tackle Box
Similar to the photo storage box, a tackle box offers plenty of storage compartments to organize your seeds.
You can sort everything the way you like it and then snap the tackle box of seeds closed to keep them all safe.
6. Mason Jars
Wondering how to store seeds for next season AND make your home more beautiful? There’s no denying it – mason jars make everything a little prettier!
Consider saving your seeds in mason jars and labeling each with the type of seed, date collected, and any other relevant info. Other jars can also be useful for storage.
If you have the space, consider storing your seeds in mason jars with chalkboard labels. I think this would be so beautiful in a garden pantry!
7. Metal Tins
You know those old cookie tins and popcorn tins? Yup, those are the ones. I have an entire tin of flower seeds we harvested in our own gardens.
The seeds are a bit old so I don’t know if they’ll grow, but I think the tins work really well for seed storage.
Tins also let you be a little more flexible with your organization if you have lots and lots of seeds to keep track of!
Something as simple as an old shoebox can be the perfect place to store seeds.
Get your seeds sorted into envelopes or baggies and then organize them in a shoebox. You can use large size index cards to separate the box into sections for different categories such as veggies, herbs, fruit, and flowers.
9. Seed Binder
Some gardeners choose to put together a seed binder to store their favorite seeds. (I have far too many seeds to do this effectively!)
However, it may work very well for a certain category of seeds that you want to organize alongside any vital growing information. A seed binder can be really fun for gardeners who get together at gardening club events, too.
10. Package the Seeds Came in
Some gardeners find it perfectly comfortable to simply save seeds in the packages they came in – such as their own seed envelopes and even the bubble mailers.
This is perfectly fine and works for many people. If you have a large and growing collection of seeds, that is when organizing your seeds becomes so important!
11. Old Prescription Bottles
I use the paper prescription bags for storing seeds when I’m not sure if they are totally dry. I’ve also heard of other gardeners storing seeds in prescription bottles!
I’ll be honest, I’m a bit nervous about getting moldy seeds. For that reason, I’m sticking with my paper envelopes. Some gardeners swear by prescription bottles, though.
What are your thoughts on this seed storage method?
12. Ammo Box
An ammunition box offers lots of storage compartments for seeds of all shapes and sizes. Consider an ammo box for convenient seed storage!
You can find plastic ammo boxes and heavy-duty, upright ammo boxes with handles. Consider the volume of seeds you’d like to store and what size ammo box would accommodate your seeds.
13. Coffee Cans
Reuse coffee cans for storing seeds until next season! These convenient cans offer stackable storage options.
Remember to make sure your seeds are totally dried out before storing in an airtight container.
14. Seed Vault
A seed vault may be one of the best ways you can find on how to store seeds for next season. In many cases, you can order a seed vault that comes with its own seeds.
If you wish to create your own DIY seed vault, you can do so with various airtight containers. You might wish to try a vacuum vault or vacuum-sealed container.
15. Empty Cigar Boxes
Decorative cigar boxes can become lovely seed storing boxes. The unique details on cigar boxes adds a lovely aesthetic to your seed storage.
Be sure not to store your seeds in a humidor or humidified box! You want to prevent moisture from getting to your seeds.
16. CABOODLES Makeup Organizer
A Caboodles makeup organizer or similar style compartment case can double as an excellent means of how to store seeds. Pair this makeup case with little zip baggies to keep your seeds safely stowed until next season.
More Tips on How to Store Seeds for Next Season
- Keep your seeds cool and dry. Avoid storing your seeds where they can become wet. Do not allow them to sit in extreme heat.
- Consider using dry packs to prevent moisture. Just to be extra safe, you can use those silica packets to keep your seeds extra dry in storage!
- Store seeds in the dark. You’ll want to keep dormant seeds out of direct light for best preservation.
- Protect your seeds from critters and pests. Keep your seeds away from any areas that may attract mice or insects. We had mice get into the garage once and devoured my sunflower seeds. ::cry::
- Extend the lifetime of your seeds with a little freeze. Serious gardeners keep important seeds in the fridge or freezer. Pop a few packs of your favorite seeds in the freezer for extra safe keeping. You can also make use of the crisper drawer in your downstairs beer fridge! Just sayin’!
And now, the burning question! How do YOU store seeds for next year? We want to hear all about it in the comments below.
Feel free to Pin our article so you can come back to these seed storing and saving tips whenever you want.
By the way – if you love seeds, you should definitely check out our fun Instagram Seed Swap – Mystery Seeds Monday!