Drying/Storing harvested seeds

Asked October 2, 2020, 1:23 PM EDT

Hello. I am currently harvesting seeds from our annual and perennial flower gardens to use again next year. How long should they be left to dry before storing, and what is the proper way to store them over the winter? Thank you for your advice.

Delta County Michigan

3 Responses

Great to hear about your interest in doing this. Here are some suggestions:

1. Make sure the seeds are ready for drying (if you rub the dried flower head, the seeds should drop off easily), but don't wait before they drop on their own.
2. Clean off non-seed pieces and lay seeds out on a flat surface in a dry area (indoors or outside on a sunny day). It is better to err on letting them dry longer versus shorter. In other words, don't worry if they sit drying for a couple weeks. It is critical that they completely dry or you can have mold problems.
3. Transfer them to an air proof container, such as ziplock bag or a small bottle/pill box that is clean and dry (you can actually order small containers on-line - I found some small glass vials that work great).
4. Store seeds in the freezer (yes-believe it or not!). Seeds will stay best there b/c there is little fluctuation in temperature and they can tolerate a certain temperature below freezing.

Good luck and have fun!

Thank you for the great advise!