Storing seeds is a cornerstone of a flourishing survival garden. Without seeds that are dry and ready to plant, you won't have much of a garden to sustain your family for the long-haul. Failing to properly store your seeds can also derail your efforts for sustainability and survival, not to mention it gets expensive to keep replacing your seeds.
The good news is you can take a few preventative and proactive steps to ensure quality seed storage and protect one of your most valuable assets. Here’s how to get started.
Organize Your Survival Seeds
One of the most important aspects of storing seeds is practicing a good organization strategy. Get started with one of our survival seed kits with nearly 28,000 usable seeds in heat sealed and moisture proof resealable packaging to keep them healthy. All of your seeds are already labeled clearly and neatly organized in waterproof packaging. They also come with bonuses including a growing seed saving guide and lifetime updates with growing tips and recipes to make the most of your survival garden.
If you’re starting with your own seeds, make sure to label them clearly and group them appropriately. For example, there’s no reason to store your cantaloupe seeds and broccoli together unless you plan to grow them around the same time. Store similar seeds near each other, or add their packets to the same labeled container, and organize them by season. Now you can quickly grab them and head out to your garden when it’s time to start planting.
Use Seed Saving Packets
Use the right packets for storing seeds and protect them from the start. Choose packets that are around 3.5 x 4.5 inches to adequately store your survival seed. These dimensions also keep too much air or moisture from getting trapped inside. Your seed saving packets should be resealable and have a shelf life of at least 25 years.
The material of your seed storing packets also matters. We use mylar material for added protection to keep out moisture and resist punctures. Mylar film is commonly used in the food industry, such as for roasting bags for coffee or lids for yogurt containers. Mylar offers an unmatched barrier that's difficult to beat and is worth the small investment to protect your seed vault. Our mylar seed packets can also be heat-sealed for added protection.
Add Silica Gel Desiccant Pack Moisture Absorbers
Just like pests are a nuisance in your survival garden, moisture is the enemy of storing seeds and long-term preservation. The good news is silica gel desiccant packs are cheap, easy, and effective at keeping moisture at bay and out of your seed storage packets. Silica gel is made from silicon dioxide, which is commonly found in sand and has small particles to absorb large amounts of water. When added to seeds and other products, they can prevent damage due to humidity.
Our silica gel packs are safe and effective and can even be recharged if they soak up moisture. They also change colors to let you know moisture is present and your seeds are in danger. But despite how inexpensive they are, they don’t need to be thrown out if they are exposed to moisture. Instead, you can heat them up in your oven to 250°F for 1–2 hours. They'll return to their original orange color to indicate they're ready to start absorbing moisture again. At under $6 for a pack of 100, they’re a small investment in your survival seed strategy and you can keep reusing them for years to come.
Learn more about our Silica Gel Desiccant Pack Moisture Absorbers here.
Pick a Dry and Dark Location
Once your survival seeds are properly organized and packaged, it’s time to pick the perfect location. It may seem obvious to pick someplace dry, but you may not realize your location of choice attracts moisture and lets in too much light. For example, a dry shelf near a window with plenty of warm sunlight in a cellar may seem okay, but too much moisture in the air and light pouring through the window could impact your seeds. When seeds are exposed to too much moisture, they could start to germinate.
Instead, choose a dry, cool, and dark environment to keep your seeds safe during storage. A closed closet, basement, or room on the north-facing side of your home that stays cool are all good choices for storing seeds.
Store Short-Term Seeds at Room Temperature
The temperature you store your seeds at also matters. Room temperature storage, or about 70°F/21°C or lower is okay for short-term storage. If you're going to plant your seeds in your survival garden in one to three years, you can keep the area at room temperature and your seeds should be safe. Of course, you still need to practice good organization and packaging and grabbing some silica gel packets.
However, if you're a prepper or thinking long-term with your survival seeds, room temperature storage is risky. A slightly humid room or any sunlight could compromise the integrity of your seeds. Ideally, you want something colder and darker than what room temperature typically offers.
Consider Refrigerating Seeds
Storing seeds in a refrigerator could help lengthen your survival seeds’ shelf life and reduce humidity and warmth that sparks germination. You have more control over the environment and can put them in a silver mylar packet or other air-tight storage method. Some perennial and herbal seeds also grow better after being exposed to the cold. As with any of our recommended methods, organize and package your seeds properly and label everything you put in your fridge.
Freeze Your Seeds for Long-Term Storage
Freezing seeds improves seed storage for the long haul, especially as a survival gardener. When you don't use your seeds for a few years, freezing them can keep them safe until you're ready to pull them out and put them into the ground. However, only freeze seeds that are completely dry, properly packaged, and ready for long-term storage.
To get an idea of how long your survival seeds should last with the right storage method, here’s a breakdown:
- Room Temperature: 3 to 7 years
- Refrigerated: 5 to 10 Years
- Frozen: 15-25 Years
Keep in mind these figures are based on customers who buy our seed kits, mylar storage packets, and silica gel packs for ultra-safe storage. When you combine the right tools and organization with the right storage methods, you end up with long-lasting survival seeds to feed your family over the long-haul.
Keep a Seed Chart
If you’re storing thousands of seeds to prepare for a disaster, you need a chart to know what you planted and when. Keep a chart that notes when you planted a specific crop, when you harvested it, and how many seeds you used. It’s not necessary to count out seemingly microscopic seeds, but you should have an idea if you used half the bag or just a pinch.
Note how long you’ve been storing seeds so you can move freshly harvested seeds to the back of your storage and older ones near the front. Remember to write down any issues, such as seeds that germinated too early or failed to grow. You may realize a specific seed packet is no longer viable, especially if you accidentally exposed it to too much moisture or sunlight.
Harvesting Your New SeedsIt’s easy to get so focused on how to keep your seeds safe before planting that you forget about harvesting new seeds once you have a harvest. Seed harvesting should be done on a dry and sunny day when your flowers or sprouts have already changed from green to brown. Once they can easily split, you can start collecting any seeds from the plants’ flowers.
The flowers or pods of your plants should offer a quick and easy way to locate the seeds and collect them. With vegetables like broccoli, you'll harvest the seeds from the dried pods of the plant. Lettuce seeds are located inside the flower head and filled with seeds that can be broken apart and saved. You’ll need to experiment to figure out where each of your plants’ seeds are located and how to effectively remove and dry them for safe storage.
Ready to get started buying, saving, and storing seeds for survival? We provide a one-stop shopping experience for your survival gardening needs. Browse our survival seeds and kits, and supplies, or purchase our pre-packaged options.