Here are some suggestions from Seed Savers (www.seedsavers.org) and other sources on how to label seed packets and save seeds. The Seed Savers website is an extensive source of information on seeds.
Seed Packet Suggested Information
- Seed’s name and the specific variety and/or color,
- Seed’s original source and what year it was saved,
- Suggested planting information and details like these if you know:
- requires full sun, part shade, or shade
- needs a trellis
- must cold-stratify
Name with Variety ____________________________
Annual / Bi-Annual / Perennial or Herb
Packed for ___________ or Harvested in _________
- Pumpkin – Jack-Be-Little, Annual, Johnny’s Seeds, packed for 2017, Miniature orange pumpkins that grow best on trellis
- Zinnias – mostly pinks, Annual, home garden, Harvested Fall 2016, Full sun, Tall
- Zinnias – mixed colors, Annual, from Jan 2017 Old Salem Seed Swap, Harvested Fall 2017, Full sun
- Pole Filet Beans – Emerite, Annual, from 2016 Old Salem Seed Swap / Renee’s Garden, packed for 2016, slim, round 7-9” long French pole beans
How do you save seeds?
A rule that is easy to remember is CDCD, which means clean and dry plus cool and dark. You can use the original packets to keep the labeling information. If you put the seeds to another container, try to label them with as much information as you can. Remember it can take weeks for seeds to dry before sealing them in a container. It doesn’t look (or smell) good if next season you find them molded.
You can place leftover seed in paper envelopes. We use coin envelopes a lot. Then place them all in something airtight, like a plastic container. Another method is using sealable jars or medicine bottles. Uncooked rice in the bottom of the container can absorb excess moisture, just put a paper towel between the seed and the rice. Now store them in a cool, dark area such as a cool basement area or the refrigerator. This is where airtight is important. You use the freezer only if the seeds need cold-stratification.
- Old Salem: Seed Saving
- Old Salem: Seed saving resources by Eric Jackson
- Old Salem: Preserving History through Seed Saving By Ellen McCullough
- NCSU: How to test germination
(If your browser pops up a print window, hit cancel to just see the PDF page)
Seeds Life Expectancy
The tables below takes the average life expectancy of seeds from a variety of sources, including the cooperative extensions of Oregon State University, Colorado State University, Purdue University, and Virginia State University. Consider it more as a guideline, as the longevity of your seeds ultimately depends on the date on the packet and how carefully you’ve stored them since then.
|Corn (sweet)||2 years|
|Oriental greens||3 years|
|Squash (summer and winter)||4 years|
|Herbs and Flowers||Shelf Life|
|Annual flowers||1 to 3 years|
|Perennial flowers||2 to 4 years|
32,000-Year-Old Flower Seeds Brought Back to Life – National Geographic News
“Methuselah” Judean Date Palm Tree Grew From 2,000-Year-Old Seed –