If you have seen Mad Max: Fury Road, you must remember the seed storage bag that one of the characters had. Re-planting a garden out of small seed is a miracle that will save your life in post-disaster circumstances. Let’s learn the techniques of germination, moisture and temperature maintenance, and seeling gardening. Follow us to discover the best plastic and tin containers, fruit, and vegetable sorts to grow a spectacular gift of mother nature.
When it comes to stockpiling various items, most people think of survival gear, ready-to-eat preprocessed meals, water containers and water supplies, utility tools, etc. But what quite often gets overlooked is seeds. That’s right, seeds that you can plant and then reap your modest personal harvest.
In this article, you will learn about the reasons for storing the seed, how to prepare them for storing and how to build long-term seed storage of your own.
Reasons For Storing The Seed
Basically, there are two main ideas for storing seeds you may come up with. And the first one that comes to mind is to store seeds to replant them in the future.
The idea is simple and obvious. Everyone who does home gardening knows that. When you harvest your fruits or vegetables, you may extract the seed out of them, clean and dry them, and then put them somewhere safe to use later for planting.
If you’re an experienced gardener, you must know how important it is to preserve the most productive species of plants and be able to grow the likes of them the next year. Besides, when growing fruit and vegetables in your home garden, disposing of leftover seeds is just a luxury you can’t afford. What is the point of buying new seeds in gardening stores when you can have them stored in your own seed storage? This way, you will make your garden as self-sufficient as it can be.
And this point gets us towards the second (and the most important for us) reason to store your seeds: survival.
In this regard, storing seeds is one of the measures of building a massive survival food stock. While, of course, you may buy them from gardening stores to add them to your seed storage, but it will all take an extra money investment. And when building survival storage or even an emergency shelter, you might want to save money for something you cannot make yourself.
With seeds, it is possible to store them yourself as experienced gardeners do. Besides, gardening is a crucial skill any prepper should master. Should the world end and life as we know it is gone, you will want to be as self-reliable as it is even possible to survive yourself and help those around you. So knowing how to plant fruit and vegetable seeds, extract them, and prepare them for storing is something you should learn and practice while there is still time. These skills will have their results. At least, if nothing apocalyptical ever happens, you will still have your own garden full of edible crops.
And one more thing – why are seeds even important? Well, it’s hard to imagine emergency food storage without seed packs in it. That’s because previously-stored products like canned food, mylar-bag meals, meat that you’d preserved in any of well-known ways, etc., are not forever. Those are all non-renewable supplies. At the same time, garden seeds are what guarantees that you will not have to starve when you run out of everything you’d stored before.
Seeds are perfect for a long-term storage plan. They are extremely light, they won’t take up too much room, and they don’t require some intricate measures to store them. The bottom line is no food stock is complete without a diverse seed collection.
Seed Storing Equipment
But what stuff do you need to get started with storing seeds? In this section, you will learn the tips on how to become a seed saver.
The set tool that seed savers use is pretty much simple:
- a garden knife for cutting fruit and vegetables;
- a spoon for seed extraction;
- a sort of container to collect the extracted seeds in;
- a wide plate with a piece of cloth or wax paper laid upon it for drying seeds.
More elaborate tools include:
- a dehydrator;
- a seed dryer;
- an oven.
As soon as you have all the basic tools, you’re all set to proceed with a storing seed routine. If, of course, you have what it actually takes – seeds.
You can get seeds from vegetables and fruit that you buy in a local grocery store or purchase seed packs from gardening retailers.
And, of course, you will want to make sure you’re doing everything right when you’re just starting. The truth is you may make a mistake or two as you go, but the more you practice, the better you get. Besides, getting a sort of how-to-handbook is a great idea. After all, since you’re diving into the world of gardening and seed saving, there’s a lot you have to learn apart from just practical skills. There is a theory to get into. For instance, you might want to learn more about the types of seeds and how it affects on for how long you can store seeds of different types. You will need to learn tips on controlling moisture levels and setting up the proper room temperature and humidity levels in your future seed storage. Another thing you will have to learn is what container types pass as proper seed storage containers.
CHECK THIS OUT:
- You can buy seeds online or offline from the Seed Savers Exchange nonprofit organization. Seed Savers Exchange is a wide network that dedicates its work to preserving over-pollinated and heirloom seeds and the rare sorts of seeds. For more details and product information, visit the Seed Savers Exchange website at https://www.seedsavers.org.
How to Prepare Seed for Storing
First, to prepare seeds for further processing, you will have to get them out of vegetables or fruit. To do this, you will need to properly and accurately dissect a vegetable or a fruit, which requires a certain skill to do it.
Let’s take veggies as an example. As you obviously know, vegetables differ not only in shape but in structure. The way seeds are housed inside them, and the quantity of water. For instance, tomatoes and cucumbers are whole different cases in the matter of seed extraction.
To extract seeds from a tomato, you will need to cut it in half and squeeze its insides out of each half into a bowl. Cucumbers are a bit different story. If you try to squeeze seeds out of cucumber, you will end up squashing the whole vegetable making a lot of mess. You will actually need to cut a cucumber in half and use a spoon to scoop the insides out of it.
But what makes both cases similar is the next step of washing the seeds after the extraction. (More on that later).
Let imagine now that you want to take seeds out of a pumpkin. The best technique to do is cut off the top of the pumping and hollow it out with a spoon. There’s gonna be a ton of seeds you will have to separate from the membrane and wash them.
Among the easiest vegetables to harvest is pepper. To get seeds out of it, you will have to cut out its stem where all seeds are growing, and there you go – just shake them off the stem and collect them in a bowl.
Different species of vegetables require different approaches to washing their seeds. For instance, it is quite difficult to wash pumpkin or squash seeds. Since they are mixed with the membrane, you will have to try your best to get rid of as much of it as possible. The thing is that the membrane is organic matter that may compromise the condition of the seeds if there is too much of it because, over time, it will begin to rot.
You will need to wash them with water several times in a row to get rid of the tomato pulp substance with tomatoes. Cucumber seeds will require a brief rinsing, whereas pepper ones may need no washing at all, and in most cases, they are ready to go right out of pepper.
The third and final step in preparing seeds for storing is drying, and there are two ways of doing it.
1) The first method is just to let seeds dry themselves. Although it does not mean that you just can dump them wherever you wish, and rest assured, they will be fine. It’s a bit more complicated.
To air-dry your seed collection, you will have to place them evenly in a single layer – this condition is critical since it will make for faster the proper drying – and put somewhere away from moisture and humidity. It’s best to find an open spot under direct sunlight which will make the whole process faster.
As for the time, the drying will take from three to seven days (needless to say, that the bigger the seeds, the longer time they will take to dry).
2) The second seed drying method will take using special equipment to speed things up. For instance, a food dehydrator or an oven. Both variants will take a great amount of attention since it is straightforward to make seeds unusable.
If you overprocess them in a food dehydrator or bake them in an oven, their germination rate (which means the seed’s ability to grow) will drop to zero, leaving you with nothing. There is just no way you can plant a baked seed and expect something to grow out of it. That’s not how nature works.
With oven-drying, there is a trick to leave the oven door slightly opened. This will prevent moisture content from building up inside the oven – excess moisture will compromise the drying process.
If you feel unsure about using a dehydrator or an oven, our recommendation is not to use them. Or you may use them to dry bigger seeds like pumpkin ones. In other cases, it is safer to use the air-drying method.
Or you may consider getting yourself a seed drier, although such devices are costly.
Building Your Own Seed Storage System
In the final section, we will tell you about various storage container options you can use to store your seed collection.
A paper envelope is the classical seed storage method. Paper works great because it let the air through. Should moisture get inside a paper seed packet, it will not stay there and will not ruin the packet’s contents. You may collect your seed envelopes and store them in a storage case or a cardboard box to keep things in order. But if you use the latter, you will have to keep in mind that cardboard boxes are prone to getting wet and easy to target rodents. You will have to ensure that neither excess moisture nor mice will threaten your stash.
Zip-lock Seed Bags
This is another method of seed storing. But you can use it only if you’re positively sure that your seeds are completely drained. In case they still have moisture inside them, it will build up since plastic will not let it through, and your stash will go to waste.
Other than that, zip-lock cases are a fine seed storage container method and only a short-term option. That’s right because a zip-lock case will hold moisture inside, as we said earlier. Don’t forget about it.
Sealed Containers For Seed
Tightly sealed plastic containers are great for seed storage but come with just the same precaution as the aforementioned method – such containers may trap moisture. So before placing seeds into them, check if they are scorched. In the opposite case, you may wind up losing every single seed that you’ve stored.
What is the Best Way to Store Seeds?
It is best to store seeds packed in paper envelopes. The paper would let the air pass in and out. This will not let moisture stay inside the envelope and ruin the stash. Another thing to consider is light and temperature. The place where you are planning to keep the seed stash must be dark and cool.
Should You Store Seeds in the Fridge?
This is the common question new-comer seed savers would ask. The short answer is yes. Basically, you can store seeds in a refrigerator. Why? Because it’s dark there and the temperature is low. The only condition you must follow is not to keep seeds too close to the freezer.
How Long Will a Seed Last in Storage?
With a proper approach and every essential condition followed, a seed may last for a year. This is usually enough since you will use a stored seed just the next year during the planting season. And when the plants give harvest, you will extract seeds from it to save them for storing.
Of course, you can store seed for a longer time, but you should keep in mind that the germination rate decreases every year. So eventually, if too much time has passed, a seed may become useless.
How Do You Store Seed Packets for Next Year?
Unopened seed packets should be stored in cool and dark places, just like a regular seed stash. The best option is to choose a sealed glass container such as a mason jar. You can also use sealable tin cans as well. A refrigerator is a good place to store unopened seed packets in.