Getting Seeds Really Dry

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I started saving more seeds this year. Fall it is often quite humid here, and the seed swap wants plastic bags, so this is what I have come up with for getting the seeds nice and dry. Let's hear from you what other systems you are using successfully.

1- collect, dry, and separate the seeds on the kitchen counter, letting them dry for a few days to room humidity.
2- put seeds in paper envelopes, in a big plastic box that closes tightly, with a cat food tin with some DampRid that I got at Lowe's. The bag with the plain powder, labeled for refills, seemed fine and I think cost something like 7$. I put it in an open cat food dish. For myself, I just use paper envelopes, I bought a huge box of them at Staples that are a nice size. I like that moisture will easily pass though the paper, so the seeds will get dryer, and have no risk of mold. The box with seeds and Damp-Rid goes in a cool dark cupboard.
3- for the swap, I bought lots of the little plastic Zip-Lock bags at Michael's. Once the seeds have been in the box in paper envelopes at a very low humidity for a week or more, I figure the seeds are now at about 24% humidity, which is where my box seemed to settle. That is really low, so I figure I can put them in the plastic bags now. Then they go back in the plastic box in the cupboard, waiting for trade day.
4- I have an old temperature/humidity monitor I put in there to see what happened. Right now at Lowe's in the garden section these are on sale for $10, but I think you can truly do without this, and just assume this is working. i found that opening the box briefly even several times a day does not raise the humidity in there except very temporarily and just a few percent. I think it would take time for the paper and seeds to extract enough moisture from the air to matter much.
5- If you have kids or other household members that might tip the box over, you might find a more secure way to put the powder in, but for me the cat food can works fine. I have also heard that buying the DampRid is not necessary, one can use dry powdered milk, maybe I will play around with that but I think it might work fine.
Here are some photos of my setup, complete with lots of seed packets, in both paper and plastic. You can see I keep my purchased seed packets and ones received in trades all together in the box. I bought a big enough box for everything.

Thumbnail by Pistil Thumbnail by Pistil Thumbnail by Pistil
Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Sorry about the upside down photos, I don't understand why that sometimes happens.

(susie) Hastings, MI(Zone 5a)

this might help also .

(Patti) Wichita, KS(Zone 6b)

When drying seeds, I placed them in unbleached coffee filters. The ones I currently use are cone shaped, so I stir them once a day to make sure nothing is stuck at the bottom. I have two cats who are too much help so I put the filters with seeds in a glass fronted china cabinet. I can leave them there until they are totally dry without fear of the cats getting into them. I love the fact that you can write all of your information on the filters. Although inexpensive anyway, I often mark out the old information and reuse the filter for new seeds. When the filters are totally shot, I add them at the compost pile.

Mount Sterling, KY(Zone 6b)

Great ideas! I place my seed heads/seeds in brown paper bags, the small lunch bags. I usually leave them in the garage for a few weeks in an open box for air circulation. They seem to do fine. I have put those moisture absorbing packets or capsules in some of the larger seeds, like beans to help the drying process.

(susie) Hastings, MI(Zone 5a)

I have Found that Fruit & Veggie's (Tomato- cukes- gourds- & Squash Need a longer time to dry ,

as do Butterfly bush seeds that I Had add had not had the time to dry & they molded & I had kelly take them out ,

an old window screen also works great to .

Mount Sterling, KY(Zone 6b)

I like the idea of using an old window screen. I will have to locate one, or make my own. :)

Natick, MA

Thank you for sharing, ladies, I get new ideas to try and always enjoy hearing how others do things!

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