Guest columnist series – Saving, storing, and swapping seeds – Shaw Local

At some point, every gardener left the seeds after sowing them in the vegetable garden or flower bed. In addition, saving vegetable and flower seeds is one way to save some money each year and use that money to develop your gardening habits in other areas.

Saving and Saving Seeds

It’s easiest to save “store-bought” seeds. Gardeners typically fold the seed packets, tie them together with clips or rubber bands, and store them somewhere until next year. A junk drawer in the kitchen or a shed in the garden is not a good place.

Seeds remain viable during storage, so the better the storage environment, the higher the survival rate. A refrigerator would be the best place. Seeds stored in the original seed packet or sandwich bag must be placed in an airtight container that can be sealed. Tradition suggests a wide-mouthed canning jar with a ring and a new lid. If you have a lot of seeds to store, two canning jars are good for him, one for vegetables and one for flowers. The canning jar is airtight, which slows the respiration of the seeds. The temperature in the refrigerator also slows breathing. This way, the seed consumes less energy and the rest is stored for germination.

A good guideline to remember is that the larger the seed, the longer you can store it. Snap beans are relatively easy, but lettuce seeds are not.

seed exchange

If seed swapping is part of your gardening effort, saving the hybrid seeds left over from the packet will ensure that what you share is true to the cultivar. , the same hybrid cannot be obtained again. In open-pollinated plants, female flower DNA predominates. Unless native plants are cross-pollinated from hybrids, they also fit the type. So some caution should be taken when receiving swapped seeds. Maybe not.

seed test

A germination test is helpful before sowing stored or exchanged seeds in the garden or indoors to grow them as transplants. Seed bags tell you the germination rate and what year the seeds were grown.

Generally, germination rate can decrease by 10% per storage period. As already mentioned, very small seeds he does not last more than a year in storage, and the germination rate drops significantly if the seeds are stored. There is nothing worse than sowing a garden row or seed flat and failing completely.

To test, place a seed sample between damp paper towels and place inside a small plastic bag to retain moisture. Remember, the number of days required for germination is stated on the seed package. 80% germination rate is obtained.

Get Free Seeds at the January 28th Event

Get your free seed at the 6th Annual Kendall County Master Gardener Community Seed Swap on Saturday, January 28 from 9am-noon at the U of I Extension Office in Kendall County, Yorkville 7775B Route 47. Get it and jump into the growing season. Seed Swap participants can choose from a variety of free vegetable, flower, herb and native plant seeds. No need to bring seeds. In addition, our Master Gardener and Master Naturalist will be available to answer your questions. For more information, visit

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