In our experience, there are two ways to keep your seeds as fresh as ever: one requires more work than the other, but with proper maintenance, allows them to last for years to come. Check out our methods and share your own, after the jump!
Many keep seeds from the previous year's garden for the next. It's a thrifty way to ensure that you're always getting organic pods, perfect for planting and did well in your garden. Some might even keep their seeds longer or participate in seed swaps, but no matter how long you plan on keeping them around, one thing is for sure, you need a way to store them.
There are two methods we've used in the past with great success. Airtight sealed storage and refrigeration. Here's the ups and downs of them both:
Airtight Sealed Storage
Pros: Keeping seeds in envelopes or mesh bags is a great way to keep them dry and away from pests, but they do need to be sealed in airtight containers on top of that. An inexpensive method would be to use a 5 gallon plastic bucket (which can be purchased from the hardware store or your local bakery). You can use whatever you wish, as long as it will keep the humidity and sun out.
Cons: The only downfall to this method is the summer months. Sometimes, the coolest place in our home are still too warm to keep seeds. To help counter balance this, try adding a bit of rice in with your seeds, or filling your bucket half fill with it first and then placing the packets inside the rice or sitting on top. It will help draw out any excess moisture, though you'll have to keep checking it to make sure the rice doesn't need to be changed.
Pros: Refrigeration is a great way to ensure your seeds are kept away from light and at the perfect temperature (between 40 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit), especially since you can set the temperature control right where you want it. Seeds stored in envelopes or mesh bags and then plastic zip top bags will keep in the refrigerator for up to a year. If you keep them in a fridge that has food in it, keep them in a sealed, glass or plastic storage container as well. If you have a small one dedicated just for the purpose, you'll be ok without.
Cons: Seeds that are kept in refrigeration are usually quick to germinate come planting time, but the method only works with smaller seeds. Larger ones like pumpkin, should be kept at room temperature as the "meaty" bits inside will have too much moisture for this method. But if you're not big on keeping them for more than a year, then it works splendidly without any effort or attention throughout the year. Just make sure to not place them in the freezer.
How do you store your seeds? Let us know below!