Heirloom seeds are fantastic for home gardeners. You can replant them, which means you can use them over and over for future planting seasons. Furthermore, you can pass these seeds on to your children, and them to theirs and so forth.
Ensuring these seeds can be used for the future means learning to save and store them properly. That’s why today, we’re going to teach you the essentials of keeping and saving heirloom seeds.
Drying your seeds is both necessary and crucial
Contrary to popular belief, heirloom seeds aren’t always as healthy as people believe them to be. That’s why careful selection has been made throughout the years to ensure you’re only “breeding” the right kind.
However, this again doesn’t mean these seeds will keep to themselves.
Heirloom seeds must be dried carefully and thoroughly. You can spread them on newspapers and dry them for a week or two. Label these seeds on the papers while you’re at it to prevent confusion.
Another way is to dry them on paper towels. Once they dry, the seeds are bound to stick to the paper towel. So roll them up in it before storing.
When you’re ready to replant, you can just simply tear of the portions of the towel and plant it along with the seed.
Drying help lessens the risk of mold and mildew, which are two primary causes of your seeds giving up on you.
Keep your seeds sealed in a container
One of the most important things to remember when saving seeds is how you store them. You’d want them kept and sealed tight in either glass canisters with gasket lids, plastic food storage bags, plastic film canisters or even mason jars with tight lids. Remember: The refrigerator or freezer are still the best places to store your seeds, the latter keeping insects and pests from your seeds better.
To further ensure these seeds are kept dry in storage, wrap two tablespoons of powdered milk in 4 layers of tissue. Put this packet in the container where your seeds are to help absorb moisture. You can also use silica gel as an alternative.
It pays to have knowledge
Preserving heirloom seeds isn’t just about putting them in the freezer and hoping for the best. It takes a certain amount of knowledge and skills to ensure you’re storing enough seeds to provide a healthy variety. Plus, it will help avoid accidental cross-pollination.
Know which plants you aim to preserve and how much of it is required to have sufficient variety for the next planting season.
For one, corn needs to have 100 parent plants to produce a good batch of seeds. It’s important to remember that the larger the number of plants grown together, the better its future population will be.
Some seeds are bound to fail
Don’t be too hard on yourself when you find out there are seeds that failed to survive their storage time. Some seeds just don’t germinate as well as others do, like sweet corn or parsnips.
Continuously learn more about heirloom seeds and gardening. This way, you get the most out of it each time, and you’re ensuring the future of your seeds.