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how to start a vegetable garden
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How To Start A Vegetable Garden - 30 Day Challenge - How To Preserve Extra Seeds
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How To Start A Vegetable Garden  -  30 Day Challenge  -  How to Preserve Extra Seeds

Welcome to Day 20 of the 30 Day Challenge: How to Start a Vegetable Garden. If you missed Day 19, you can find it on my blog - a link is located in my Street Articles profile.

Seed Preservation

After planting my second round of seed this week (which was Day 19's topic), I began to realize that I had quite a few unopened packets of seeds as well as some packets that were only half used.

Not wanting to waste these precious resources, I took to the internet to find out the best way to preserve these seeds for future gardens.

Some websites suggested to double bag your seeds and store them in the darkest, coldest part of your freezer. They stated the seeds would have a 10 year shelf life there. This might be sound advice, but it gave me cause for concern - I was already having 50% germination in most of my seeds, freezing them would make me worry for even lower germination rates.

Other websites emphasized how cool and dry the seeds must remain, but suggested keeping them in ziploc bags in a cool dark place was sufficient for 1 year preservation. Again, this may work, but didn't give me much confidence.

My Seed Preservation Idea

I then stumbled upon an article from Martha Stewart about reusing a commercial glass jar to hold left over seeds and storing them in a shed where it would be cooler and dark. This was the first idea that I thought would work as the jar would minimize the amount of air the seeds were exposed to as well as minimize concerns over moisture.

While researching how to store my huge bag of sugar I purchased recently in preparation for canning season, I found one more tidbit of information that gave me the idea for my seed preservation plan.

This last piece of information had to do with oxygen absorbers being used to preserve dry goods for extended periods of time. I learned that if you place an oxygen absorber in a glass canning jar with a dry good and place a hot fresh lid and screw band on it, it will remove all oxygen from the container and create it's own vacuum seal!

I thought, this is perfect! I will place my seeds in a glass canning jar, add an oxygen absorber, place a hot lid and band on the jar and know that my seeds will remain fresh!

I looked around for a little more information on this and found (to my disappointment) someone else also had this brilliant idea. They were able to confirm that the seeds stay fresh for up to 3 years using this method.

I haven't tried this yet, but I will be as soon as I my purchase of oxygen absorbers comes in the mail. If any of you have ever tried this, or something similar with canning jars and oxygen absorbers, please let me know as I'd love to hear your stories and advice!

30 Day Challenge

Are you enjoying my 30 Day Challenge? Have I achieved my goal of inspiring people from all around the world to grow a garden? I hope I have. As so many of the expert gardeners have commented on my previous articles, gardening is easy if you dedicate some time to it each day.

I hope you will continue to learn and grow with me. And for those of you who have asked, I have posted a few pictures of my garden on my website - Day 19. More to come as the garden grows.


Street Talk

:)

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Golfspice  

Another well written article and very useful for any gardener out there.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thank you, Golfspice!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Dear AJ, Great article, will help me greatly.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Alfred. Glad to help!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Nice read good to know info my green thumb is lacking lol Congrats on your 30 day challenge completion by the way

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Jacob. You know, I've killed just about every houseplant I've ever had. But I've learned gardening is easy. A little water and a little attention go along way. Thanks for visiting Jacob!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Barbara9  

wonderful article

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Barbara!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Good article, AJ--gardening can be deceptively exacting. I can't do it--my wife is the gardener, so it's nice to have a few factoids to share with her. Thanks-

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks, Chris. Saw the pictures on FB of your blueberry bushes - I'm so jealous! Either this year or next I plan to get some myself.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Aha! That's what they're putting in medical bottles. While you're waiting if you've got one? Use that? Hey we ate a dozen small lettuce plants from the garden. Yum...

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Awesome! My little lettuce plants are almost ready for an early harvest. So exciting, isn't it?

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Yes! Ate first harvest of Bok-Choy yesterday.

  
  about 7 years ago

Hi AJ....I've had somewhat good success by freezing my extra seeds... In fact I have a good stand of pole beans in the garden now from seeds that had been frozen 2 years ago.. My grandparents kept their seeds in quart and pint jars...can't remember exactly but they would also place a small strip of cloth in the jars with their seed and think the cloth had been soaked in lye.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

So freezing seeds does work! How did you "package" them before freezing? My standup freezer is not frost-free, I'd be afraid of freezer burn on my little seeds. I'll have to research the cloth / lye concept, sounds intriguing. Thanks for stopping by Kevin, always a wealth of knowledge!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

The seeds I mentioned are in a frost free freezer....and have plenty left back in there for next year...they are only in a ziploc sandwich bag...I also had some gourd seeds for years in nothing but a paper bag and ziploc bag.....Probably a little extra protection from freezer burn wouldn't hurt...

  
  about 7 years ago

Hi AJ never tried that manner but we have a vacuum packet its a small kitchen job and works on many small items. I have vacuum packed seed and reused two to three years later with a very good germination rate. Blotting paper or moisture absorbing paper in with the seed first a day or two later vacuum the packet. Works well. I still like to take any seed before I plant for a day or two in the fridge and then into the soils always get a good germination that way. cold to hot kicks the seed in the butt.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Thanks for the tip on the blotting paper, I'll make sure to use it before I seal them. I forgot your fridge tip when I planted my latest round of plants, I'm going to try it soon though! As always, thanks for the tips Rob!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
Joan S  

I've often wondered if you can keep seeds more than one season. I've planted packages of seeds that were a year old, and had limited germination. When you talk about an oxygen absorber, are you referring to that rubber sealer thing you put on canning jars? I'm thinking I want to plant some kirby cucumbers this year. They taste great in salads. Thanks AJ.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Hi Joan. Oxygen absorbers are used to prolong the shelf life of food. For instance, sugar has a shelf life of about a year, two at the most when kept in its original container. However, place it in a food grade plastic container, add an oxygen absorber and the shelf life extends to 5-10 years or more. To do this method of preserving seeds you would need the jar, rubber seal, lid, and screw band or a jar, lid (with the rubber seal already imbedded in it) and a screw band. Hope this helps.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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