Save Seeds up to 10 Years
I was at an Emergency Preparedness Fair on Saturday and I was impressed with all the speakers, but especially with Larinda Peterson, owner of Line Twenty Five Landscape Architecture, who taught a class on Emergency Gardening. I attended Larinda’s presentation earlier in the year and I learned something new this time around. There was a picture on the presentation table with an interesting statement – seed saving for 10 years– and I just had to go to her website and see what it was all about.
Why would I want to save seeds up to 10 years?
I was able to get some seeds on sale at the local hardware store last week – dirt cheap – because the date on the package is for 2012 and it’s the end of October. The new varieties will be coming out in January and they are making room. So I found some vegetable varieties I know my family likes, at a fantastic price, and instead of putting them away until March, I’m going to save them for the future using Larinda’s process. Why 10 years? I figure that if I can start to build a good supply of favorites, I won’t have to be dependent on those big seed companies in the future.
I have not yet perfected the art of seed saving from my yard. It seems that every kind of vegetable and flower has its own unique process to be followed. There are many websites that talk about the need to grow and save heirloom varieties (versus hybrid) and I have much to learn about when to harvest seeds and how to store them. We will discuss the process in a future post but for now, I agree with howstuffworks.com.
“Seed saving is a skill largely lost these days. With seed packages widely available, who needs to save seeds anymore? You can simply buy more in the spring, right? The problem with many common garden seeds is their origin as a hybrid. And many of these hybrid varieties have been bred for size, or resistance to a particular disease, and not for that old-time flavor.”
Seed Saving Techniques for up to 10 Years
According to Larinda “the secret truth is that seeds have the ability to last a tremendous amount of time given certain factors. The most successful of these techniques are Drying and Freezing, and guess what, they are easy!”
You Will Need
2-3 times more rice than seed (too little rice will not work)
A large canning jar with lid
Mesh bag or an old pair of stockings
1. Spread enough rice to fill a canning jar half-full onto a baking tray. Do not grease your pan.
2. BAKE the rice on the tray for 45 minutes or until it is bone dry
3. Place the still-warm rice into your canning jar and tighten lid ( This important as it prevents moisture from the air from re-hydrating the rice)
4. WAIT patiently for it to cool
5. Once it is completely cool, place your seeds in a mesh bag and place the bag in the jar with the rice, then re-tighten the lid.
Steps 6 and 7 and the information on Freezing Seeds can be found at Larinda’s website
Don’t miss Larinda Peterson’s fantastic post and pictures of the process she uses. She also uploaded her handouts and this one on Heirloom Plants is a must for your gardening binder.