The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Store seeds like a pro

Seed saving box

While sorting seeds in preparation for our spring seed order, I remembered some pointers from the recent seed-saving workshop that I'd forgotten to share here. Dr. Brian Pace from Ohio State University showed off his seed-storage box and method, which are subtly better than my own.

Inside his box, Dr. Pace adds a healthy helping of Drierite beneath a metal stand to suck up moisture in the air without directly impacting the seeds themselves. Meanwhile, he uses a simple formula to see if the spot where he's storing his seeds is effective:

Relative humidity (%) + Temperature (F) < 100


In other words, if you live in the humid south and your storage spot hovers around 60% humidity, you need to lower the temperature to around 40 in order to keep seeds fresh.

While you're at it, don't forget to keep an eye on average seed longevity. No matter how fancy your seed-storage arrangement, it's not going to keep the lightweights --- corn, onions, parsley, peppers --- for more than two years. Good luck and have fun as you put those first dormant embryos into the ground!



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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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Thank you for the reminder that onion seeds only last 2 years. I was puzzled as to why my onion seeds weren't sprouting. They're probably dead. So... they get put into the herb grinder and mixed with other dead seeds to form a powder which I then sprinkle over various foods.
Comment by Nayan Fri Feb 2 09:50:14 2018
Thank you! Brilliant!!!
Comment by Terry Fri Feb 2 12:01:47 2018





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