Gardeners’ Methods for Arranging a Collection of Seeds
When visiting the gardens of friends and neighbors, even public gardens, many gardeners find it nearly impossible to keep from harvesting a few seeds from a beautiful plant into a scrap of paper, tucking them into a pocket for sowing later. Likewise, seeds obtained at local seed swaps are often packaged in a haphazard manner. Unfortunately, this means that the seeds of favorite flowers and vegetables wind up scattered around the house and potting bench. Gathering them into one tidy location each season will help to guarantee none of them go missing. Especially don’t mix them with soil.
- Set aside a spot in the home for sorting seeds. Depending on the size and condition of the collection, organizing a seed collection could take from half an hour to several hours.
- Gather all seeds together from around the house in one location. Check the refrigerator, kitchen cupboards, laundry room, workbench, garden shed, and any other location where seeds might be stashed. The kitchen or dining room table is the ideal location and a good light source is important.
- Other supplies that will come in handy include fine-tipped marking pens, scotch tape, and perhaps a small funnel. A white sheet of paper will also be helpful when it comes to spotting any seeds that may have a tendency to roll away.
- Decide how to store the seed collection. There are several options for organizing and storing seeds, some of which are more utilitarian than pretty.
- Small, clear resealable bags are available for purchase at office supply stores, as well as discount dollar stores. These bags are a preferable option if the ability to see the seeds is important.
- Alternatively, office supply stores also sell small manila envelopes that can be sealed the traditional way, by licking. These envelopes are the better choice if detailed instructions for sowing the seed need to be written on the outside.
- One of the most attractive and space-saving methods for organizing seeds is available for purchase at garden supply stores. For example, Lee Valley’s Seed Keeper comes in the form of a binder, complete with plastic page inserts for each type of seed.
- This pricey set-up can be replicated inexpensively by purchasing plastic inserts designed to hold baseball cards. Place the envelopes containing seeds in one of the inserts, and the plant tag or seed packet in the sleeve adjacent, filing the pages in a binder.
- Start the process of organizing seeds by taking each of the various packages of seeds and placing them in their own pile. Sort seeds into the following categories: vegetable seeds, herb seeds, annual flower seeds, perennial flower seeds, and houseplant/other seeds.
- Once the seeds are sorted into piles, move the seeds from their old, torn seed packets and folds of paper, to new, clean envelopes. With a permanent marking pen, write the name of the type of seed and the year the seeds were purchased on the outside of the envelope. If the date is unknown, or no longer in recent memory, it might be time to throw the seeds away. Test the seeds’ viability before discarding them. Write any necessary directions or information for sowing the seeds on the outside of the envelope as well.
- Don’t be too concerned about throwing away sowing instructions; these are readily available online on websites such as Veseys.
- Labeled seed envelopes can be stored in an airtight container, such as a large mason jar with a lid or a Tupperware container. Store seeds sorted into the categories described above so they will be found easily when spring is in the air. The Master Gardeners of Ohio State University suggest that the optimal temperature for storing seeds is 40 degrees Fahrenheit.