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I'm beginning to find that I need to come up with a system on how to organize all my seeds, and keep the seeds I want to keep seperate from the seeds I want to use for trading.
I thought about getting something like a plastic box that I remember my step mother used to have to keep all her cross stitch thread organized and seperate, but though I'd see what you all do that works well for you! Right now, I just have all the seeds in their own individual envelopes and put into two seperate sandwich size ziplock bags (one bag for seeds I want to keep, other bag for seeds I want to trade)
What method do you use for organizing your seeds that seems to work best for you?
... Having said that much, if you want to put a large lot of seeds in a single container, it ought to be one that can be resealed completely to keep out moisture, and sized and shaped such that you can fit it into your refrigerator when you're not fussing with your seeds. Refrigerated storage is the best thing you can do for your seeds for long-term viability.
"Right now, I just have all the seeds in their own individual envelopes and put into two seperate sandwich size ziplock bags..." ALL my individual bags are currently jumbled together in ONE large conference type carry-all. Nothing is organized!
I just got 4 of these from Harbor Freight to help me get organized...they can easily be stacked on a fridge shelf...each compartment seals completely shut, so no mixing of seeds...
Matter of fact, I need to start putting my seeds in the boxes! Just last night I had packets in batches all over the place looking for what to sow next. With 4 boxes, I can label all the spring/summer seeds together, and the fall/winter seeds together. Tomatoes, and Brassicas!
That's actually the type of container I was trying to describe. My step mom used to use something very similar to that for sorting/organizing the different types of thread for her cross stitch. How is that working for you?
I'm not nearly as neat and organized as you guys are. I have been working on saving seasoning/herb jars in which to save my seeds. ... Well, depending on the size of the collection and size of the seeds. Tiny little seeds go into the smaller jars like the herb/seasoning jars, (got my Columbine seeds in an old Dill Weed jar!) The bigger seeds or collections go into larger ones. I've got old washed-out jalapeņo jars, relish jars, got some of those little plastic mini-tubs that cheese spread comes in (like Wispride Port Wine cheese spread, yummm!!), and I've even got some of those larger herb containers that ya get at SAMS club that holds stuff like onion powder and garlic powder. Those biggest ones have my Hollyhock crumbles in them. (I'm not real neat and picky about Hollyhock seeds, I just dump the dried/spent blooms and all into the container.
Anyway, after I get the seeds into the proper containers, I cut a little square of paper, jot down the name of the seed and date I collected them, then hold in place on the jar with a rubber band. My jars/containers go into these little utility bins, like shown in the picture... if I can figure out how to attach it correctly! =)
Thanks all! Think I'll try gymgirl's method, once I get me a few of those containers! I already reuse some of my spice/herb containers (or have plans for them when they are empty). My MIL grows dill at her house and she dries it out and sends some up to our house and I put that in the spice/herb containers... and will be doing that again once the herbs i'm trying to grow here are harvestable. There's only a handful of spices/herbs that I use a lot, mostly the larger containers of things like italian seasoning that I get from walmart, and even those last me a while, so I wouldn't really be able to use those to save very many seeds (just cuz of how long it takes me to empty one container LOL!)
Thanks for the suggestions though!!
Gymgirl... once you get those containers.. let me know how they are working for you, and if there's anything I will need to do to be sure to keep the seeds air tight. I was thinking about getting some of those for saving/storing seeds, I just wasn't sure if they would be air tight enough to keep moisture away from them, ya know?
I already have the containers. I don't know if they are airtight. The lid fits into slots over each section so the seeds won't come over or under and get mixed up. Don't know if that's enough to keep it air tight.
I happened to have purchased some of those oversized Ziplok storage bags recently, so, there's my airtight!
Gymgirl wrote: The lid fits into slots over each section so the seeds won't come over or under and get mixed up. Don't know if that's enough to keep it air tight.
I was wondering about meandering seeds with those containers that you got, but now you've answered my question! I think I'll have to go your route 'cause my own just looks terrible on the shelf, so embarassing for anyone to see! =/
I picked up a package of 120 of those little, tiny, clear plastic ziplok baggies. If I find the seeds can meander, I'll put them into the ziploks first. They'll still be very organized in the cases. Hmmmmmmmmm.
This might even be BETTER than just putting the loose seeds in the compartments, anyway, huh? Put the loose seeds in the baggies, label the baggies, and put the BAGGIES in the compartments!!!
Thanks petronius! I have been saving those little "moisture" packet thingies that come in medicines and such (and my hubby can get me some from various things they open up at work), so I have been collecting them in anticipation of this. This is the first year I've decided to really try to collect the seeds from my garden, so I need to start checking out other forums soon to learn how to dry/prepare them prior to storing them also. I'll be looking into that soon.
Gymgirl, where did you find your package of those tiny little zippie baggies? ... you're giving me ideas here now! =D I'm sure I could find an inexpensive compartmentalized container or two (like you've got) from True Value, and if I used those tiny little zippie baggies along with (You are brilliant, did you know that?), I can start to make my stuff look all manly like Hubby's! =) ... ok, wait, that didn't come out sounding right, did it? Well, we can have matching containers... wonder if I can find them in hot pink? =)
I know here locally, there is a place where I can pick up a whole bunch of those little zip bags, but I also know of a "direct sales" company that sells them also (bit more expensive than my local place lol) If you can't find any in your area speedie, do a google search for "Cello In A Box". ( i used to be a work at home mom selling stuff like avon and such lol, thats how i found out about this cello company. They sell little bags and things, mostly to other work at home reps to put their samples for customers and such in for "grab bags" during parties and things of that nature.) They used to sell them, last I recall, but its been about 2-3 years since I got out of the work at home business so I haven't kept up on what all they sell anymore. lol in fact, I don't know that I even have the direct website for the rep I used to use saved anywhere anymore, but you should be able to do a google search for that and come across an online store where you can make a purchase if you want.
OH! I didn't know that Hobby Lobby sells them too! Then again, we JUST got a Hobby Lobby in our area a few weeks ago lol... before that, we had to drive about an hour to the nearest one (and we rarely go out that far for anything but dr appointments for the kids lol) My hubby has been wanting to check out the hobby lobby they just put in locally, so, maybe while we're there, I'll check and see if they have those and those container things too LOL!
LOL Stephanie!! I'm just half a step behind you, lucky if I label the envelopes when I collect seeds at work... then lucky if I remember to tuck the envelopes into my bag to bring 'em home... then lucky if I remember to take 'em *out* of my bag once I get home... you get the picture! =) (4 or 5 months later they make it into their little jars, shame on me!)
Gymgirl, PERFECT!!! I'm not sure if I have a Hobby Lobby near me, I shall google it, but if not, I'll check out Michael's, I've got one of those sorta near me... ish. Yeah, a 300-count package should last me a goooood long while. THANK YOU!!
We had a fair amount of left-over seeds from last year and put the small packets in a Seal-a-Meal vacuum bag. We keep it in the deep-freeze and I wondered if anyone else is doing this? The wife saved a bunch of her okra pods and dried them and had me shuck them for the seeds. Are those seeds going to be viable to use this year??
kev, I'd imagine as long as the seeds were cleaned and stored properly, they should germinate for you. I'll admit though, I'm fairly new to the seed saving/storing stuff myself, but if I recall correctly, I thought I read somewhere that seeds should be stored above 37*F? So a refrigerator would work better than a freezer? Someone correct me if I'm wrong though. I normally store all my left over seeds from previous years in a ziplock baggie in the door shelf of my fridge. I had planned to try to start saving seeds from last year's harvest for this year's growth, last year, but it was a very bad year for our garden last year... between the wild animals eating everything in my garden and unusual weather for spring/summer here, to finding out our soil where I wanted to start my veggie garden is poor and we need to start a raised bed there instead.
Best I could say is, try the seeds out! Won't hurt anything. If nothing else, if you have a ton of the okra seeds left from last year's harvest, you could always try to germinate a few early, indoors, just to test their germination rate and get an idea of if it will be worth the effort for you to start/direct sow the rest of them in your garden. That's probably what I would do. That's just my noobie advice lol.
"Most folks seem to be storing their seeds in baggies in the refrigerator drawers...No one has mentioned using the freezer."
That's because seeds need to be dry, dry, DRY before they can survive being frozen and thawed. Even then, it's dicey in the long run. The USDA does this with some of their seed bank seeds, but most of them they just plant out year after year at farms around the country established for that purpose.
Some of the "survival seed" companies sell seeds that have been dehydrated to the carefully calibrated 8%, I think it is, of normal moisture content. I've examined some of their offerings and am not overly impressed by their selections.
I'd definitely use the little baggies before putting seeds in those craft boxes. Can you imagine the heartbreak of dropping the box if you didn't have them in bags, and having all your seeds mixed, misidentified, or gone?
Right now I have my seeds still in their original packs, in roughly alphabetical order, in a shoe box. And then the whole thing in a plastic bag that I tote out to the garden as needed. My only problem is that this set-up is a little too big to fit in our fridge, without the family protesting. So I keep the whole thing in a lower kitchen cupboard and hope it stays cool enough.
But I'm definitely thinking about that tiny baggie/craft box set-up.
I think that's the route I'll be taking too... the baggies/craft box thing. If I can ever get down to the Hobby Lobby store, I might check and see if they have those craft boxes there, since they have the little baggies there (well, hopefully my local one does lol), that way, I won't have to run all over town for just two things LOL!
Remember to take your coupon! Every week, Hobby Lobby lets you buy one item at 40% off if it's not already on sale. You can get the coupon from your Sunday paper, or just go online to their site and print it off.
I confess, I am more like Honeybee or Stephanie--I keep my seeds in the packet, all jumbled together in a plastic shoebox. When I want to plant something, I dig through the box, make a stack of "plant now" and one for "back into the box". I don't have more than 40-50 varieties of seeds, so that works reasonably well.
Yeah, I really don't have that many seeds as of yet either, I'm just thinking ahead LOL!
I did see in our local Harbor Freight sales flyer that they have the containers that gymgirl uses on sale for just under $4 this week... if I can get hubby to take me down there, I might pick up a couple LOL!
Well, we finally were able to check out our new Hobby Lobby store! OH-MY-GOSH! It's HUGE! They bought the buildings that Giant Eagle and one other store used to use, took out the wall between the two stores, and created one huge store! We were in there for probably an hour or so and I'd be surprised if we seen half of what they have!
On the plus side... I picked up the containers and zip baggies that Gymgirl has, and will be sorting out my seeds soon. We also got a fun gardening activity for the kids! Its a kit where you can grow Tropical Mimosa (sensitive plant) seeds. Figured, maybe since I killed the ones I tried growing last year (oops! LOL!) this might be a little easier for us LOL! Hobby Lobby had the containers on sale much cheaper than Harbor Freight did, even with their "coupon flyer" lol.
When DH and I had a date last weekend, we hit up a Hobby Lobby in Fredericksburg VA, and WOW it was fabulous!!!!!!!! Even DH, who is NOT "into" gardening or anything outdoorsy or "old-and-antique y", and DEFINITELY not anything country-ish, was just FLOORED at the wonderful planting displays and options they had there!! The containers and stands and wracks.. OH MY!! He would have loved to hang around the aisles and oggle longer, but the crowds started filling up the aisles, and we are NOT "crowd-friendly" people, LOL!! When it comes time for "real" shopping though, we know where we're going! =)
My such a wealth of opinions! I do find it confusing. LOL. If you store in the refrigerator isn't that moist? Anyway, I have done that in the past. This year tried a new tip; I saved my seeds this year in a large plastic container, but in a dark spot not in the refrigerator.
As far as organizing, I have gotten a number of "free" 10" by 6" plastic bags [ from those gold buyers..] So when I look through my seeds in January-[well really February this year! ] I put them into these bags labeled by starting dates. for example, all the 8-10 weeks seeds go in a bag, 6-8 week etc. then I can co-ordinate with planting dates calendars. So far this has worked for the past 2 years pretty well.
There might be some moisture in the refrigerator, but I'd imagine that if you put the packages that the seeds come in from the store, inside a zip lock baggie and stick it in the fridge, the baggie should help keep out most moisture. Thats how I had been storing mine, except, I had also started saving those little bags of moisture capture crystal things (you can find in some food packages and medicines, etc) and stuck those in the ziplock bag with my seeds, to help reduce any moisture getting to the seeds.
I had also just put some seeds in a cool dark location as well, including garlic bulbs I didn't get a chance to plant out last year. While, I cant say how doing that has affected germination rate as of yet (did this year cuz life got too busy and I forgot to store things properly! So they sat in my basement inside my gardening bag until about January, when I happened to remember them lol!). I will say though, DON'T do that with garlic bulbs... atleast I wont be ever again LOL! I had to toss out all my garlic bulbs that I had because they got soft and moldy :(
The BEST thing you can do with your garlic is put it into the soil in the fall. Even if you have to come up with a pot or 2 of container mix; planting them in the Fall is the absolute BEST thing you can do with your garlic. =)
Yeah, I had meant to do that last fall, but I actually forgot. End of summer/beginning of fall is incredibly busy time for us. Last fall, i needed to do a couple IEP meetings with my kid's schools, squeeze in all the necessary dr/dentist/eye/endocrinology/lab test appointments for my kids (endocrinology and lab tests more for my son with diabetes, but my daughter had to have some lab work and an EEG done last fall also for some issues she is having). Its just a lot to try to squeeze in in just a few short months, especially considering some of those appointments were out of town! So, the garlic got put on the back burner, so to speak lol.
I'm hoping this year that I'll be able to remember to plant them... once I buy some more! LOL
LOL! Yep, this mama stays quite busy... surprised I have the time to enjoy even a minute of the nice, warm weather between spring and fall LOL! I gotta feeling this year is going to be even crazier, what with all that posted above, plus some other things I'm expecting to "pop up", especially after this past friday's audiology appointment we had for my daughter and are waiting for the results back on, plus next friday's developmental/behavioral pediatrician appointment she has (which is another 2 hour drive, one way, to get to)... and get the results back of some evaluations we are having done with THAT dr.!
OY! That's all I can say LOL!
LOL! And my family wonders why I can never find the time to go visit them for a few days... LOL!
LOL While the kids are sleeping?! I failed to mention, often times, during the week days, I get approximately 4 hours of sleep after dinner till about 11:30pm, then am up all night checking my boy's blood sugars throughout the night. So yeah, got loads of time to catch up on laundry, sort seeds, and all that fun stuff either while they are sleeping, or the few hours 3 days a week that they are BOTH in school LOL!
Today, though, my daughter has a 1 hr delay from head start, so I'll be starting all my "chores" and sorting all my seeds, etc an hour later than usual lol!
More snow for you then? The Weather Channel says we're supposed to be getting snow/rain this morning, changing over to rain later in the day, but we shall see. Woke to completely clear skies this morning (4:20), but now the sky is completely cloudy...
Guess I'll have to wear some layers while taking DH's truck to get the oil changed this morning. =/
Meanwhile, I counted a whopping 11 total sprouts in my Veronica jugs yesterday, Yippeee!! However, I also see I'll need to re-hair my pot of Anemone bulbs, as some nasty evil squirrel has been digging in there, grrrrrrr!
Yep, we got about 1-2 inches laying already, since last night. And, for as long as I know of this morning, it has been lightly snowing, but now the flakes are getting bigger. We're supposed to warm up here in a day or two though, and head back into the 50s. Seems like this year, its just snowing and sticking enough to stay around for a couple days before it warms up again and melts it all all over again, just to turn right back around and get rain/snow/ice mixtures again, enough to make the roads slick. OY!
I haven't really started anything as of yet, other than my herbs. Soon though, as soon as I use up the few celery stalks left in the fridge, I'll be tackling that experiment again! LOL!
I heard about this cool trick for keeping celery in the fridge longer, so I've been doing it for a while now and IT WORKS! After you cut the 'butt' end off, just wrap the stalks in foil to store them. Sounds silly, and I don't know the science of why it works, but it does. Keeps it all fresh and crispy for a couple of weeks! =)
(my hat goes off to my buddy Richard C in Washington for that tip!)
My sister in law puts hers in water in the fridge. But my celery, keeping the butt on and in the fridge, lasts a good 3-4 weeks. Even keeping it in the bag it comes in lol. Maybe next time I get 2 stalks of celery, I'll cut the butt off one and wrap it in foil, like u suggest... and store the other the way I normally do and see which lasts longer...or about the same length :-)
Oh yes, please do and let me know. I've been doing that foil thing for about a year now, (previously I would cut the end off for storage so it would fit in the crisper drawer better), and it would be nice to know if something works better. Thank you! =)
In their original packet, in an accordian file with tabs for you to insert your own labels. Buy the heaviest you can find. I also have reclaimed dessicant packets stashed randomly throughout. I started out sorting by plant families, but have now sorted for planting season/similar germination times. For instance, all leafy veggies are either "Cool Greens" (lettuces, spinach, kale, chard) or "Warm Greens" (Malabar spinach, Strawberry spinach, Amaranth, Lamb's Quarters.) Same with "Cool Beans" (English peas, Sugar Snaps) and "Warm Beans" (Cowpeas, limas, pole-type green beans.) "Root" are all together (carrots, beets, radishes) because of their planting period/germination time. All of my cucurbits are together, because I don't do any long-season ones (no pumpkins or Hubbards.) All herbs together. Flowers are also "Cool" (sweet peas, Nigella) or "Warm" (Cosmos, Moonflower, Nasturtium.) All Solanacea are together, because I rarely start any from seed. I hope that helps!
Lol. I have 3 'file cabinets'. The first two are tupperware containers, the last is an envelope box. The store bought or small plastic packets are filed alphabetically (by what I call them- 'scallions' not 'bunching onions', peppers are all grouped under P not by name, etc.). The ones I collect from my garden are in the envelope box because I store them in envelopes. I shove a few silica packets in the containers too to make sure nothing gets too humid.
Just a quick update on the frozen seed experiment. The Beefsteaks and Brandywine germinated fine in the garden bed growing to about 2 1/2" in the last 2 weeks. Also have some of the cukes and zucchini doing well. We had a eggplant in the one bed that didn't do well last year and it looks like it survived the winter and is about 12" tall already. I guess that would be nice not to have to plant something different every year.
Oh cool Kevin, very glad to hear that your seeds did so well! It's gotta be nice when a veggie over-winters better than expected; I hope this year it really produces for you.
... OH, this reminds me, I have GOT to get those chaste tree seeds out of my freezer!!! I did an experiment where I immediately sowed some of the chaste tree seeds after I brought 'em home (the next day), then I stored the rest in the freezer (it's been 3 weeks now I think), to see if they would work after a freeze. I'll need to get those out of there post-haste and sow a pot or two, to compare the difference. =)
I've got all my seeds in herb jars and on a shelf in alphabetical order. I've got one marked "Dunno" 'cause I don't remember what they are, heh heh. I think I'll sow those today and hopefully have a pleasant surprise later this season. =)
Honeybee, "Phew - I feel better already". LOL!!!!!!!!
I keep mine in mason jars. i keep them in their original packets and organize the jars by plant family. ie. brassicas, alliums etc. its important to keep them dry and in a relatively dark place to make sure they stay viable as long as possible.
another good method that i use is glassine envelopes that stamp collector companies use to keep most off of mint stamps. as a collector of stamps, i use the left over glassine envelopes to store my left over seeds. the make alot of different size envelopes and some come with a strip on the envelope to label what you are storing. i use a standard index card file box to store my envelopes. you can order by the bulk from harris stamp company.
I think I go overboard, but I live in humid area and I like gadgets. I store seeds in 2x3" Ziplocks so I can see them, and know how many are left, and open-close it freely. Then I pack the Ziplocks into plastic tubs with screw-lids and add a dessicant.
I print double-sided labbels on the printer at work so I can read the small print, and keep the planting instructions, dates, and who I got them from right with the seeds. Then the paper labels go inside the Ziplocks so they don't get lost.
This also makes trading easier. One "trade size" pkt is about all I can plant at one time in my small beds, so if I buy a big pkt from a vendor, I split it and label each Ziplock so I can trade it or sow it years from now.
2x3" Ziplocks: best buy is Wal-Mart craft section, 100/$1
Sandwich, quart & gallon size: supermarket
1.5"x1.5" Ziplocks: Uline around 0.6 cents or 0.9 cents with S&H
Really tiny Ziplocks, I think FetPak is cheap, but they have a $7 small-order surcharge.
BTW: you can stuff 15-20 small Ziplocks into one 3x5.5" glassine envelope called a "#1 peanut bag". That helps organize them if you have 10-20 pkts of something ready for trading. I get the glassine from ULINE
I like the 3x5.5" glassine "# 1 Peanut Bags" because I can stuff 20-25 2x3" Ziplocks into one 3x5.5"glassine bag, and they take up less space in my storage tubs. $22 per 1,000 or 2.2 cents each (before S&H).
Tubs and Shoeboxes, Gallons, Quarts and Sandwich Baggies, oh my!
Two years ago, I was proud to graduate from one little tub to two, and dsaid so online. In rpaid succession, different people mentioned that they had a whole seed drawer, a whole seed refrigerator, a seed closet and in one case a whole seed ROOM. So now I only feel moderately insane, not totally and hopelessly cukoo.
On the other hand, I would not want any psychologist to read these posts on eafter another!
Shoeboxes or plstic tubs the sme size are great for flipping through an alphabetical stack of sandwich-size baggies, especially if you stiffen the baggies with card stock or a 3x5" index card.
But humidity can migrate right through the Ziplock plastic, just slowly. And it sneaks through the "zipper" part pretty easily. After all, you can squeeze air out of a Ziplock even after sealing it, so that's a pretty bad seal.
That's my excuse for storing many Ziplocks inside plastic tubs that used to hold 2 pounds of peanuts.
Inside the peanut tub, I organize 10-20 Ziplocks inside a 3x5.5" galssine envelope. That takes up the least room.
The tubs & glassines help me organize, or at least fiddle around obsessively:
Marigolds & Zinnias
Salvia & Penstemon & Lobelia
Petunia, Poppy, Thyme, Bells of Ireland, Morning Glory
Cosmos, Foxglove, Hollyhock, Iris, Lavender, Lilly & Mint
Gai Lan, Komatsuna & Tatsoi
Water Spinach, Oriental Spinach, Broccolo Spigarello, Amaranth & Herbs
I've been holding the New Bee Stash for a while, and organized it into several boxes:
Crops, Annuals, Perennials, and then "Misc Categories" like Vines, Trees, Shrubs, lillies, ornamental grass).
Within the boxes, Gallon-size Ziplocks for alphabetical ctaegories, or very big groups of seeds like "Morning Glory" or "Zinnia" or "Squash & Pumpkins". They stand up very well, you just have to find a box lightly wider than the gallon Baggie.
Within some gallon Ziplocks I have quart-size Ziplocks for sub-categories.
And some of the Quart sub-categories have sandwich-size Ziplocks inside THEM, for one species, or one variety that someone have us enough seed for 20 pkts of.
Small Baggies will stand up straight in a shoebox or tub if you tape a 3x5 index card, or some card stock to them!
OK, I have a bad case of O. Seed D.
Guilty as charged!
But I do have fun with my Junior Mad Scientist hobby.
>> I have been saving those little "moisture" packet thingies that
Unless those are stored in something very airtight, they will keep absorbing moisture from the air until they are exhausted.
First I want to admit that I go overboard in storing seeds extra dry. But I do live in a fairly humid area, and here is no place in my little house that cool OR dry. Many people have said they store seeds any old way under any old conditions, and they still last a few years with no hassle.
I guess I just like to fiddle.
I used to keep seeds in the fridge, then realized that humidity condensed on them every time I took them out. :-( Now I use plastic tubs and wait for the whole tub to warm to room temp before I open it.
P.S. The vegetable crisper drawer is designed to keep lettuce moist, not dry! The shelves aree drier than the veggie drawer.
I bought a pound or two of silica gel from a craft store flower drying secvtion for $5-6. Then I put a tabalespoon or two into paper coin envelopes and staple them closed. Humidity migrates rapidly through paper. The I store one of those inside each 2-pound-tub to keep it dry.
Yeah, I go overboard!
To make sure I'm not keeping them TOO dry, I bought some "humidity indicating crads from Drierite. They have spots for 10%, 20% 30% etc relative humidity. I try to keep them between 10-20%. They reveal that humidity gradually creeps into the tubs, probably becuase the lid-to-tub seal is poor. Of course, opening it frequently exhausts the silica gel quickly. So I replace the coin envelope when the humidity indivcatolr turns blue at 20-30%
(A clever way to do without indicators is to store a slip of newsprint with the seeds. If it is crisp and rustles abnd crinkles when you rub and bend it, it is dry enough. If it cracks, it is plenty dry. If it is quiet, or worse limp, it is more humid than is ideal for long-term seed storage.
Once I've used up the whole pound or two of silica gel (several yhears), I could e4place it ... but insteasd plan to bake it to regenerate it! 250F for 2-4 hours if spread fairly thin, and don't store it hot in plastic unless you nat melted plastic! Don't bake it above 275F or you can scorch the silica gel and rduce its effectiveness.
Others bake dry rice just short of brown-ness to get it extra-dry, and use that.
Dried rice inside a sealed plastic bag is prbably best for shipping, if your your post office might leave a bubble mailer in a puddle.
I've read that powdered milk will absorb a little humidity.
I have used the calcium sulphate "Drierite" but silica gel is cheaper and lasts longer (it has more water-absorbing capacity). Also, I bought "indicating" Drieite and that dust is slightly toxic. Silica gel, on the other hand is even less toxic than beach sand since it is amporhous not crystaline, and dust from beach sand COULD give you silicosis if you sucked up enough of it. Not so silica gel - that's really inert.
I use paper plates (the dessert size) to dry my seeds. I use a sharpie to write on the plate what the seeds are. This helps me remember. For most of my flower seeds, I use lunch size paper bags to collect seed heads and seed pods. I write the name of the plant on the outside of the sack.
Stephanietx, that's a good idea, writing on the plate so you'll know what seeds are there. Wish I'd thought of that when I put my green pepper seeds out on the paper towel.. then again, they are the only seeds I've tried "harvesting" from edibles, so I'm pretty sure I won't forget what they are. (famous last words).
I guess I'll have to re-read this whole thread and start a better plan of storing my seeds, 'cause as I was rummaging through my shelves yesterday, I found a few "odd" bags and envelopes (legal sized) on a DIFFERENT shelf from where the rest of my seeds are neatly stored. Now, HOW did I forget those!?!?! **Deep sigh**. Back to the drawing board.
>> so I'm pretty sure I won't forget what they are. (famous last words).
That system works fine for me ... until I walk away from the flower bed. About that fast, I forget which seed was in which bowl. (I guess I CAN remember vegetable seeds becuase usually there is only one ripe at a time, and peas don't look like radishes don't look like Brassicas.
Now I write the labels BEFORE I go outside to collect seeds.
I know your talking about seeds but having read this entire thread I noticed someone wrote about saving food things longer and these 2 tips have saved me ever so much money. 1. To keep a cucumber (since I can not eat them all the time) I still have to make salad for my husband .I .cut the cumber off perfectly clean and put it in the TOP of your hydrator drawer with nothing on top of it and if you don't get back to it it will grow a new cover over itself just like a potato heals itself after being stuck on the pitchfork. Then when more wanted I slice off that dry part 1/4" and then how much I need... I honestly have kept the same cucumber for close to a month by taking off 1 1/2" at a time. 2. To keep a pepper the longest, I again cut it off flat from the blossom end, so the seed clump and stem continue to provide moisture to its parts, and put it on a piece of plastic wrap on top of any flat glass surface in the refrigerator. (It can NEVER be wrapped or it rots! ) Even up to a week later when you lift it off to slice more it will be moist and at the very most need to have 1/4" sliced off if it looks too wet. I hope you all enjoy more with less waste so you can dry, can, share with family the ones you are now throwing away!
I also found a wonderful alternative to the larger bell pepper type at a Cost co mpany ahhhh saving store, very large whole country wholesale food place that had a little yellow, orange and red assortment of peppers as well as in Wallyworld in a much smaller package. I noticed them because they were useable in 1 fast bite some of them. Others grew as long and pointed as 3 inches. I took them home and like the variety so much I instantly took the tiny cap of seeds they had off of each color and removed all the seeds and put them on a wet paper towel and let them dry off in the refrigerator for 1 week just sitting there uncovered
I then planted them most since all germinated 15" apart into my already to go daughters garden next door on the last edge row since I had no idea what the plant size would be. What a surprise they ended up to be compact round no taller than 2 ft high.. They blossomed and were covered in green pointed hang downs like an ornament covered Christmas tree. I only took off a few for use when green ones but I wanted them the colors I had seen in the stores.. So each week I went over until they all started to change at the same time regardless of the size it was getting later in the season towards our fall and I know why they were such a great crop for farmers I simply pulled out the whole plant and stripped off them all at once. We shared them and I make a wonderful lazymans loosely known as "stuffed peppers" recipe I saw on a test kitchen show on tv .
If you plan on planting these seeds it would be better to remember to SAVE and dry them by color since you will end up with a lot of yellow, red or orange. without knowing what you want to plant the next year. I forgot and just did the pot luck plant way..If your frig doesn't take all the moisture out of the seeds in a week leave them there a bit longer til they look like regular packaged. I had put them on the original damp paper towel to keep it there so they didn't bounce off to start with...
It is hard to know because Costco is 65 miles away and I went yesterday but forgot these peppers and Not being as organized as all of you folks I never kept any seeds from them last time because I buy the bags all the time at the Wallyworld store up the road 3 miles or so away.
Today I was home and had part of the last bag of peppers and decided to limit the time to dry the seeds and know what color they would be this year. I took the meat tray that I was going to use the food for supper and washed and put in my paper towel dampened and put the seeds from them out in the sun on the picnic table weighted down because of the wind.. I just remembered them and went out and they are dry from no humidity to speak of these days of no rain... I will again put them out for most of tomorrow but plan on planting them in late afternoon. I hope to get about 9 plants to grow, 3 of each color.
The biggest problem is I see these in both stores but they are not from the same grower and I have never looked for seeds at all for this variety to know a name. It is a shame there is no way to up load the photo of the 3 in a row to show they are not as thin but a nice, up to a quarter sided middle and they do have a nice thinner wall than the bell larger varieties.
Next fall, watch for Heather's Pepper and Tomato Swap in the Seed Trading forum.
You can buy a few pkts of commercial seeds, or save your own, and split them up into "trade size" pkts of 12-15 seeds each. One commercial pkt ought to split up into 2-5 trade pkts. I think the Seed Kingdom was selling 125 or 150 seeds for $4-5. And Hazzards has 250 seeds for $4.35 to $10+.
Then send up to 40 of those small pkts to Heather, and she'll send back the same number of pkts, all different varieties! If you let her know what you want (like small, red, yellow and orange sweet peppers), she usually has enough variety to give everyone what they ask for.
And 12-15 seeds is enough to try a variety, to see what you like.
Rick That info and this site would have been great to find earlier but I have to stick to the Yellows or the lowest acid tomatoes I can find and so far there is NOT 1 kind I found that I liked even from the commercial plants and packs that are in this area. I hated the ones last year that the little necks on the mini ones were so hard and the bottoms were mushy. The larger sized fruits ones I had the hardest pure white center core that they never could be sliced and used whole!
So my variety for this year has a small problem...that I listed for help on another forum. (Has anyone tried Pink Slicer Hybrid from Burpees and I did get many different Pink Slicers to look at.by a poster.) Because I could only find a 5 variety of seed MIXED with no way of knowing what they will produce other than the 4 of them I could find on the Burpee site. Honey Bunch, Golden Mama, Orange Roma, Snow White Cherry. They are planted and 42 plants came up from the 3 tiny packs...
With all these seeds that everyone has...how many years do you keep them?.. I have lots of the small plastic baggies and once dried how long do you keep them?..Or do you only plant 1 or 2 plants and renew your seeds every so many years? Or continually change varieties and only ever use your seeds for trading?
The questions are because at the end of the season the company up the road throws all their seed packs into their tent sale to less than .25 for packs that maybe worth trying some different kinds if they keep long enough.
A new Tractor Supply store is opening in town May 5th and will watch their seed rack at the end of the summer. My thinking, kind of late for big seed sales, so they should have a decent selection leftover by the fall, when they will probably put them on sale...
I'm sorry I have checked back right away Rick, but I think I killed off the shoulder digging out the thing I used for a pond, before the fish died... and had xrays today NOT broken so MRI next. wrist and shoulder.. Today I fixed the tubs/5gal buckets for the tomatoes plants to be ready encase I need rehab.
I will keep looking for seeds that are very cheeeeeeep this year...and besides at that same place that I shop a lot they also have plants, bagged dirt, etc... I just got a scoop of mushroom soil clean out stuff they said, from the mushroom houses..(that filled the pick-up) of too much stinky in it and had to go back and get then a half scoop of soil that only contained 30% stinky in it to do my containers filled...The neighbors, our daughter, now got the too stinky for their garden
We live in the mountains and it has in the years I owned the land grown up so much that we now have a tractor Supply about 7mi a Walmart Super Store closer at about 6 mile, still closer is 5 miles a Lowe's and Big Lots that sells reasonable stuff. I live in the middle of the triangle from each of the 3 ways to shop. The one that puts the stuff out cheep and just beyond it is a bulk seed store..in the other corner of the triangle is a k-Mart. The place with the tents put out for summer stuff beats all their prices! Like I bought time released food for $9.?? a bag at KMart and there it was $6.99.
I plan on keeping the seed from this tomato varieties that I said I bought the 3 tiny packs of seeds at Walmart because I need yellow, (or low acids) and all the seeds grew so I had 42 plants and finally had one of the nieces come and take 26 plants, about 12" , away so I can now transplant the rest into bigger containers because here they can not go out to stay for the better part of May, so I carry them in at night and out into the sun on good days.. I have the assortment of 5, Honey Bunch, Golden Mama, Orange Roma, a Pink Slicer Hybrid, Snow White Cherry, So being family will end up with them I will trade ones I can eat. ... Have you grown any of these? I will keep them separate ...never another mix for me! Because I keep thinking I'm giving away the ones I like best! (well really the suspense is beginning to get to me I think!)
>> I will keep them separate ...never another mix for me!
Funny, I thought tomatoes were mostly self-pollinating, and even if you planted them together, only cross-pollinated a few percent. Maybe not!
Good luck with your shoulder! I guess "take it easy on your body" isn't in your vocabulary? It might be too muc h to ask, to takle as golod care of yourself as yholu do of yourt plamnts, but maybe take as much care of yoursel;f as you do of your truck?
>> a bulk seed store..
If I lived near one, I think my house would be full and my bank account woujld be empty.
>> so I carry them in at night and out into the sun on good days..
I did that with three plants, once, but you're doing that with 16 plants, and a bum shoulder? I'm making some beds that need pick and mattock work, could you come visiting and help out in-between PT sessions?
>> Honey Bunch, Golden Mama, Orange Roma, a Pink Slicer Hybrid, Snow White Cherry,
I haven't grown any of those. I have seeds for these yellow or orange tomatoes - the first list I have several pkts, and the second list, just one pkt each. You would be welcome to any of the first list, and a few from the second. I don't know if they are really low-acid, but maybe.
If you want to trade for them, sign me up for some of the bulk seed sales and end-of-year sales! If a seed ios a bargain, I would grab some folr the "New Bee" stash over in the Seed Trading forum.
Taxi (bright yellow)
Ildi OP Yellow Grape Tomatoes vig, prolific sweet - tasty
Sungold ORANGE Cherry HYBRID
Old Flame OP Tomato orange-yellow streaked with red
"Jaune Flammee" Tomato OP orange deep gold or red blush Indeterminate
Omar's Lebanese OP Tomato huge fruit 1-3 pounds Pink
Jaune Coeur de Pigeon Yellow Cherry Tomato OP
"Yellow Pear" Cherry Tomato OP
Yellow Plum Cherry Tomato productive even in cold OP
Aunt Ruby's Yellow Cherry
"Fargo" Yellow Pear Cherry Tomatoes
Sweet Gold Yellow Cherry Tomato EARLY F,T HYBRID?
Rick I think I could make myself sick IF I ever planted half of those just trying them..I will see what happens at the end of season time to prices of stuff that is left... I just know that I will be saving the seeds with a better plan from now on. This just became a... have to plant because they stopped carrying for purchase the yellow tomatoes at the food store because they were $3.99 lb in winter and no one bought them but me I suppose they throwaway too many.
I have had up til this weekend 42 plants that were in 10" high in ICEE plastic coated cups so I could get 14-16 in each of the window boxes since only 3 windows on the south side of the house in the kitchen and dinning area. Yep, they never got watered until I carried them outside for the warm sun light and put them along the house wall because of the wind. The new window boxes I bought at a Home Depot garden department were only 20" at the base length. They are tapered at the top measure 23" x 8" wide and actually are MADE IN THE USA for $6.49 each! Saturday my nieces came and took away 26 away plants in 2 old window boxes.. I have some new 5 gallon buckets this year that are food safe plastic buckets from Lowe's and last years containers to only plant 10 plants here on the stone area past the cement that I lined with tables from the out of business Nursery store that I will fill with 2 gallon buckets on the tables for the peppers. I filled them and they ready for the plants..The rest will go next door in the garden. But, I have to tend them till ready to go into the ground.
I really think it's that over 70.. thing that happens to the old time and again all over this country because at the Orthopedic Doc yesterday my hubby said she thinks she is still young and does all the stuff she should NOT be doing at her age! I told him I'm NOT old because I don't feel old!
The truck is a "96" and my hubby bought it to have an extra vehicle after we wore out the last ones it gives him something extra to go in a different direction when I'm at the stores in another town.
That store I have past the tent place is an AGWAY seed store that maybe in more cities than just on the east coast.
As for the lists the only ones I grew you have were 1 of the ones I grew last year ..Yellow Pear. those I grew were terrible. Hard little neck parts and mushy round bottoms that the seeds never did get anything inside but greenish.(you could actually see they were greenish from the shadows) while the seed were growing and the skins were thin... So I pulled the plants at end of season and threw those into the tree line of blackberry, weeds etc..(Knowing my luck I'll walk back there and they will be full of tomatoes this year!) None of the other varieties have I tried. I had to grow these because it was the only yellow/orange seeds I could find. and never dreamed they would be all mixed together in the packet. (I've had grass seeds in the past that came in tiny envelopes inside the packet. so figured they would be separate).
Let me knows if you decide to try any, espeically from the first list. I bought big pkts so I could share. And please do remember me when you start cruising the year-end sales!
I haven't seen an AGWAY store since I moved West. Those were great.
Thanks for tghe warnin g about Yellow Pear.
>> I told him I'm NOT old because I don't feel old!
When I noticed with shock that I had reached 50, I decided that was enough of THAT, and decided to grow younger for a while instead of older. So now I'm "younginjg" instead of "ageing". In 7 weeks I'll be down to 40, which is a lot better than 60.
Eventually I'll have tol turn arolund and start getting older again: I wouldn't be teen-aged again for anything! Too much angst, bad music and wierd fashions. (shudder)
I'll remember because I copied the list to look into them better..
Always remember, Old is only a state of mind until the body no longer works!
Everybody should stay healthy out in the garden even if it is only watching the butterflies and birds that visit your spot when your garden is planted! We feed the birds winter and summer, (my bed, bath and beyond). A Line of trees on the side, heated water, nest boxes..2 metal feeders full of sunflower seeds..life is good for them. All the others wild life (but NOT the bears) are welcome from the tiny ground squirrels, regular gray full sized and smaller redl sized squirrels eat along with the raccoons and skunks at night to clean up the falling feed.
Add some photos as your gardens grow to let us see your plan for the seed gathering area for 2012 would be nice!
Next time he visits my yard I hope to have the camera ready. I just wish more of the sunflower seeds would grow but everything eats them! Of everything that visits I like the tiny ground squirrels that run for 60 ft or so to get their cheeks full of seeds and back each day and watch them play..along with the red squirrel that are NOT common here! Nothing has gathered any of my food seeds that I can tell because I check the plants each day to see if I can get the tomato worms off before they chomp big holes in the sides of my tomatoes. They were like the plague last year every day I picked them off!
What seed crops are you planting to collect and dry at your place this year? Along with the way you found best to dry yours. I have only collected the seeds that I planted the next time in years gone by for the things I liked. The little peppers I showed above that I cut up some of those seeds I took and dried in the sun for 2 days have germinated in the peat plugs now.
>> What seed crops are you planting to collect and dry at your place this year?
This year? It depends on when I find time to get ANYthing into the ground!
For sure, the Broccolo Spigariello (Brassica oleracea var. 'Spigariello') that overwintered so bravely. It is in very full flower right now, and if the rain and winds don't batter it to the ground, I hope tio get a big bag of seed from it. It's an Italian leaf brocoli.
Snow Pea pods, Oregon Sugar Pod II, originally Gurneys # 14828.
A fancy "Golden Sweet" Snow Pea Pod (an heirloom from India with lemon-yellow pods that I got from Pinetree.)
Maybe "Carouby de Maussane" Snow Pea pods from Pinetree.
There are a lot of Bok Choy and related Asian Brassicas I still plan to plant. They will cross-pollinate very freely, but when they start to bolt, I may just eat up every bolting variety [u]but one in each bed[/u], and get mostly-clean seed from one variety in each bed. If nothing else, I can sow them thickly for baby salad greens.
I still hope to grow some tomatoes in buckets this year, but it is getting awfully late to start them. Savbing some very-early cold-tolerant, container-friendly tomato seeds sounds appealing. But gardening take time!
Today took this photo of the little pepper sprouts that I dried those seed 2 days and planted. Yellow on the end with the little flags, orange in the center, red with the twisty piece.
ALSO, Has anyone else sealed their seeds by using the "vacuum sealing machine" for their seeds since you can make any size packets/bags from your rolls of stock and when ready to seal put a paper inside a tiny baggie that has the name of seeds and date collected/sealed inside. Since I'm planning on only putting in 15+/- they will not be huge even when I seal each side twice! With food in them they are known as 5+ years for food in the freezer so should last as long not frozen, I figure..Anyone with a thought for this year and new ways of doing things????
We have a Seal-A-Meal and there was a bunch of seed left over from last year. I had read on DG that someone had frozen their seeds, and I figured that I would give it a try. A lot of people had said they never heard of the freezing of seeds and said that it shouldn't be done. Long story short, pulled the seeds out of deep freeze around end of February, and started using them in March. Had 95%+ germination rate from all the seeds, which was a lot better than I expected, after hearing all the negative feedback.
Why would you go through all the work of making individual bags for each group of seeds?? Get the small zip-lock baggies from the craft section at Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby, label those, and then put all of those into the vacuum bags. I had about 10 seed packets in the big vacuum bag, and after using some seeds, you can reseal it. Going to make a big bag for the 2012 seeds I purchased.
The reason I would make the smaller bags from the smaller stock of Food Save is the rolls were free with the purchase of 8 boxes of 1/2 pint bags..I buy every year for my filling of the freezer of mostly meat in August..It was standard width roll stock of 11" that they now make with a factory seal down the center and edges so the bags already are about 5" wide and I have to divided that width with 2 seams so I can cut between them making the space approx. 2" wide and 4 are made ready at a time or I can cut apart to do whatever length I want to seal them. They even have down the length on each side white strips that you write on and date. So they can get cut up and still have some on each bag made. With today's Preppers they will store theirs in the refrigerators fulled for the doomsday of their choice they are storing for.
The freeze packed meat is good for more than 5 years so I figured why not use it for these...The mini zippy bags I buy by the 1000 box but use those in my business. I use ones from a machine shop job that I worked for in the 90's and brought home gallon sized bags full of 2 x 2 , and 2 x 3 bags..that machined pieces came back from the powder coat and I assembled a larger item so I was allowed and bought home the bags full that they used to throw away. before...they are big enough for seeds and a label on the front too.. BUT they are NOT NEW so would never use those to send away for seed trade!. I use those for my parts and pieces at home and I'm down to a gallon full now.
However, If I was doing the baggies, I for myself will use the smallest size and then put that inside of another one that I would fill with baking soda that adsorbs moisture if for short time storage a couple of months. Or take my 50% off craft coupons to Michel's, A.C More or Joann Fabric's craft dept since they all accept each others coupons for crafts to beat out the other store here. That is 15 miles away where the huge malls are too and buy the "flower drying" kit and use that stuff in the bigger envelope for sure on the longer storage planned packs..
I hope to have many seeds and not need to buy anymore after this year just considering the 12 or so plants of the mini peppers worth and the seeds from the 12 plants that I have of the tomatoes .My nieces plan on canning salsa from all the 26 plants they took home since they eat that every week and the varieties listed said great for spaghetti sauce too so I guess they wouldn't miss while they get the tomatoes ready to collect some of the seeds from each variety they put in their recipe!
Today I went back to that store with the huge tents for more of the 2 gallon size plastic tubs I found with a handle that are new for $.25 @ that measure 7 1/4" deep x 9 1/2 x 91/2 that I plan for the peppers. Those I plan for on the tables next to the 5 gallon tomatoes. (Because they have a wire handle I can lift and full them even with the bad shoulder that I had the MRI done Fri.afternoon) I still only have 5 varieties from the mix..so may go back and buy some of their huge up to15" plants that any in 4" pots are $2.99@ of nice stocky plants. I did buy an eggplant, "Black Beauty" good for containers the label said too!
Today I went and bought 1 tomato plant of a red looking slicer so if I end up without any of the large red Porterhouse plants I will at least have something my hubby will be happy with because after all it is very hard to put the tiny slices on a sandwich!
>> use the smallest size and then put that inside of another one that I would fill with baking soda that adsorbs moisture if for short time storage a couple of months.
>> the "flower drying" kit
I also use silica gel from the "flower drying" isle at a craft store. One jar for $5-6 has lasted me several years, and I plan to regenerate it by baking at at 250F after I've used it all up.
Another option is to bake dry rice, just short of browning it. That gets it so dry that it will be pretty eager to absorb humidity. That probbaly helps short-term storage or mailing seeds into a humid climate.
I put 1-2 tablespoons of silica gel into a paper coin envelope and staple that closed. Then I put it into a pastic jar with a screw lid (it held 2 pound of peanuts, originally). The jar has dozens olf 2x3" Ziplocs, or 1.5 x 1.5 Ziplocks, organized into catgories with 3x5" glassine envelopes.
The screw-on lid is a pretty good seal, but since I open it every fewe weeks or months, the dessicant is exhaujsted in 3-8 months. I replace itt when the relativeHumidity crad (from Drierite or ULINE) indictaes 20-30% RH.
I wanted to say about the craft stores here that IF you sign up on the internet for their weekly specials they send coupons that you can print and when I take the trip down there I can shop in each store by printing at least 3 for me and if hubby is going...3 more for him..Love those 50% off of everything already not on sale in the store days..
! Didn't get back from Costco until late this evening , LOVE that store because never a hassle about anything that doesn't work.. LED outside light didn't even have the receipt they gave the money right back.so while there, hubby bought me a 4 x 4 x 18" high raised garden kit, Lifetime brand with a greenhouse cover and with a zipper half moon curved on one side, for access and it has a wire frame that gives it a pointed center raised up higher than the rest area) all so I can put plants in next year to get started right in the little frame plus I can put on the cover when it gets cold if not all harvested at the end of season if they are not high plants... That we will put together ASAP and I plan on filling with the screened top soil w/30% mushroom..
Since I do cook all the meals at least over 300 evenings a year, I could grow some herbs... I just bought yesterday a tiny bunch of little onion plants to grow for pulls while still young as scallions. or leave for onions. Not allowed to plan too much until I get the MRI results report callback, hopeful for tomorrow or next day!
I went back a bit and just read about your seeds in smaller zips. But many people don't have a lot or want to buy hundreds of bags. So this might be their answer. I remembered, I have 2 container I bought at a Walmart craft dept 2 years ago, at the time for many tiny beads storage. The containers has 2 rows of 12 dispensers (like tic tac but a little bigger than just half their size) that the snap on lid can be removed and filled with a mini bag of drying and seeds to where the seeds can be sprinkled out and the bag can stay in. I really like that idea because I can fill up mine and then bag up the rest to trade off and it fits easily on the shelf in the refrigerator all in the container about 4" x 8" with a snap closed lid. Then for me at end of season I will seal them off into the sealer made bags...since.. I only have a small area in the raised beds we just bought to go along with the buckets. ((We gave away the tiller because of no need for the huge garden we had and I didn't want to have to turn over with a shovel either anymore.)) The whole thing can get sealed for the winter for some people since even that is more than some of us did by keeping them on the shelf. (while my own were in a galvanized little oval bucket 3" open top on the windowsill last year staring at the word SEEDS while I looked out the window over the sink!
I got the garden planted and they are making small peppers now with loads of blooms. This year the seeds get saved by color. I remember these are just about full size to what they grew about 4 years ago.