Where do you dry your seeds?

mary_maxAugust 15, 2006

I have been using the garage during the summertime. Is that okay?

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maidinmontana(Zone 5 Billings MT)

Hi ~ I just started collecting seeds this summer, so I am definitley not a pro, as I am sure there are far more qualified gardeners that will respond. With that being said, I have been storing mine in my garden shed. Away from wind, rain and critters. I just keep them in a paper envelope, labeled and dated. I hope it works.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 12:16PM
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Well it sounds like we both are doing okay then. I would imagine your shed gets hot during the day like our garage. I think after the seeds dry I will put them in baggies and store in a refrigerator. Thanks for responding to my question.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 11:32PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

I keep the envelopes and paper bags on my bookshelves in the front hall. No direct sun, and not too much temperature change. Heat isn't good for seeds, so be sure to move them after they seem dry if they are in a hot place. After mine are dry, or sometime after I forget about them and hubby complains about the seed packets all over the books, I keep them in a covered Rubbermaid container in the (humidified) basement.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 12:08AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Where you dry seeds, and where you store them, are two different things.

A shed or garage will work for drying, as long as there is adequate ventillation & the temperature does not exceed 90 degrees. This is best for drying seed pods.

But if you have forced-air heating & air conditioning, the best place to dry seeds is in your home. The AC reduces humidity in the summer for even drying. The forced-air heat (unless you use a humidifier) will result in even lower humidity in early winter, and further dry your seeds. By December or January, they will be dry enough to store.

Once properly dried, store seeds in sealed containers (or envelopes within containers). Cool, dark areas with constant temperature & low humidity are best.

There have been many references to the use of zip-lock bags causing seed death; these are probably due to inadequate drying, or exposure to excessive heat during storage. I have used plastic bags for many years, with no problems. Just allow some air to remain in the bag (don't squeeze all the air out) and open the bags a couple times a year (when humidity is low) if storing large quantities.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 2:02AM
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Thanks so much this is very helpful to me.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 9:22PM
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I dry my seeds all over the house wherever I can find an empty spot to put them in.

I've got seeds on the bookcase, shelves, another bookcase, a room divider and a nightstand, and oh yeah, I've got corn drying on a wall rack, LOL!

I'm running out of places to dry my seeds.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 1:54AM
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I have another question for you folks. I have the seeds drying on plates and in cups but I would like to try putting them in paper lunch sacks. Seems this would be much easier for me. Would this work? Thanks so much for your continued help.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 12:17PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

I have them in bowls all over the kitchen. I keep my house cool and dark and they dry pretty quickly. Then it's into the little ziplock baggies. I had some mold the first year until I learned to totally dry my seeds. Now, it's no problem.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 3:34PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Mary, it is best to dry seeds in a single layer initially; they are most vulnerable to disease & decay when their moisture content is highest, just after harvest. You want to remove moisture quickly at this stage.

Seed Savers Exchange uses paper bags for their bean & pea pods, to allow some drying prior to shelling. If you choose to use paper bags, keep them open & provide good ventillation. A small fan (or ceiling fan) works well for this. If drying large amounts of shelled seeds in a paper bag, stir or shake them several times a day, especially for the first week.

My recommendation would be to dry seeds on plates, trays, or cookie sheets for the first week, then transfer them to paper bags.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 1:01AM
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After reading all this great information I am going to go now and put the seeds on plates. Thanks so much for your help. I certainly do not want to go to all this work and not have it work because I dried the seeds wrongly. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 2:31PM
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lis44(3a possibly)

I use an old pizza tray to dry them or foil muffin tins. Easy to shake the seeds and put in envelopes later

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 9:45PM
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I use paper bags to collect seed heads. Then I use the dessert size Chinet plates to dry the seeds on up on the top of my dresser. These plates are paper and can be labeled with pencil, are deep enough to corral round seeds that like to roll everywhere and are sturdy enough to stack pyramid fashion with out falling over. Their depth allows for adequate air movement when stacked this way and they are heavy enough that an errant breeze won't knock them over. Know because I tried it with these and with some of those cheapy plates (cheapies lost, blew of the top and onto the floor).

I use $3 photoboxes from Wal-Mart for final storage. I put all my seeds into size 3 coin envelopes (including those recieved in trade just in case they weren't totally dry yet) that get label with all the info I can find on the plant. The boxes that the coin envelopes come in are the perfect size to hold my trade packs which I use 2x3 inch craft baggies for...again labeled with all info available. I made dividers for the photoboxes with cardstock to keep the envies organized. And most importantly I use packs of silica gel available from the shoe store to help absorb moisture.

Then I keep everything (photoboxes, trade packs, bubble mailers and mailing supplies, seed catalogs, extra coin envies, craft baggies, and notebooks with trader info, etc.) all within this rolling plastic sterilite cart. Makes it much easier to keep everything organized. This cart stays in the most temperature constant room in my house, the dining room. And we drilled holes to install padlocks on the drawers to keep curious little fingers out because we all know that a lot of seeds are at least midly poisonous if not very. Don't need any trips to the emergency room. And this is also why drying seeds are stacked on top of the dresser...they are a good 7 feet from the floor. Click on the thumbnails below for bigger pics.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 1:51PM
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kilngod z6b(Zone 6b)

Netta, you are way cool! I know I'd told you how wonderful your trade labels are...but this is just a great system.

Thanks for sharing :)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 8:01PM
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Thanks Tina! I know I only started two months ago, but like my family always says I'm like a bulldog with a bone when I sink my teeth into something new. I get tunnel vision for that particular thing and I go whole hog!

With my fingers into so many different things (drawing & painting, floral arrangement, faberge style eggs, ukranian eggs, other kinds of ethnic eggs, sewing, quilting, jewelry, interior design, victorian christmas crafts, trash to treasure, bobbin lace, crochet, knitting, romance novels, and so many other things I can't name them all)I have to be organized or my house would look like a nuclear bomb went off in it.

I don't like to do anything half-full and like to do things properly. I read everything that I could for almost a whole week on GW about Winter Sowing, Seed Saving, and Trading just so I could do it right and avoid the mistakes that I guess a lot of other newbies make.

So far this system is working great for me...we'll see when I outgrow it. ;)


    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 8:13PM
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