Over the summer our plants have been flowering and producing seed. If you liked the flowers, foliage, or vegetables that were produced, you may want to save some of the seed in order to re-seed them next year.
For some vegetable crops, this is a home-made way to breed vegetables that, in time, will thrive in your particular climate and area because you are saving the seeds from the plants that were healthy and strong.
Just remember that seed will not produce a plant "true to type", meaning, you will not get an exact replica of the parent plant, but something different. This is what makes saving seed exciting, because every year you will get something a bit different.
Lastly we are going to use a "dry storage" technique. Not all plants like this, some prefer wet storage, and some prefer to be planted immediately and not stored at all, but most plants' seeds will store well in dry storage.
Here is what you do:
- Collect flower heads that are just about dry and wait until they release their seeds.
- For vegetables and fruit remove the seeds from the fruit, clean and dry them. Then place the seeds somewhere cool, dark, and dry.
- Remember any time a seed feels moist and warm that is its signal to germinate.
- Place your seeds in an airtight glass jar with a rubber gasket on top. This will help keep the moisture out. You can put all one type of seed per jar or different types of seeds inside individual envelopes and store them all in a single jar.
- Make sure add a desiccant to your jar!
Two Desiccants You Can Add
You must add a desiccant like silica to any seed storage to soak up any moisture that may develop. Silica gel is available at any craft store, and the great thing is it's reusable.
Simply put a cupful of silica gel in a cloth bag and set it inside your jar.
Most silia gels have indicator crystals that turn from blue to pink as they absorb moisture. If your silica does turn pink, put a fresh bag in with your seed, but don't throw out the pink gel because you can reuse it. Simply put the gel in the oven at 200° F (93.3° C). When it's dry, the gel crystals will be blue again. Store your gel in an airtight container.
2. Powdered Milk
If you can't find any silica, then you can use powdered milk. It isn't as good as silica, but it's less expensive.
Pour the powered milk into a paper towel, and twist the ends tightly together. Put the paper towel in the jar along with your seeds. If you're storing seeds for several months, check the powder every 2 to 4 months and change it out if it's damp.
Keep the temperature between 32 - 41° F (0 - 5° C). Your refrigerator is fine, as is a cool basement or cellar.