Something that I recommend doing at the end of the Fall season, if you don’t grow a winter garden, is to prep your garden space for the following spring growing season. I had full intention of breaking down my raised beds, which are made of recycled plastic, and storing those for the winter in the garage, but I was unable to get to it. So I took advantage of the sunny but chilly day today and the kids and I went outside into the backyard. While the babes played I started working on cleaning up all the dead plants and pulling up my raised beds in order to rake the dirt and spread it out on the ground. As I was assessing the backyard while prepping I started getting excited for the warmth of spring. I can’t wait to plant my seeds, transplant them and start working with the kids on their Pizza Garden.
While shuffling through the garden shed looking for a rake I came across my seeds from last year. I feel pretty silly realizing that 1) I meant to bring them in and store them properly and 2) that I did not need to buy as many seeds as I bought over the last month. I am going to chalk this up to inexperience with gardening procedures. This is the sort of stuff that I am assuming others that are newer at gardening can relate too. On that note I thought it would be a good idea to perhaps share how to properly store seeds.
In storing seeds, what I have found to be helpful is to stick the extra seeds in a ziploc bag or in a glass jar and store them in the refrigerator. I’ve read that the cold suspends the embryo of the seed so that it doesn’t eat up its stored sugars resulting in a still successful germination rate. If you do not store seeds properly the embryo will consumre the stored sugars which will then affect its ability to germinate. Although it is much cheaper to grow your plants from seed rather than purchasing them from a nursery you will want to take great strides in preserving the seeds that are leftover so that you are not purchasing new seeds every single year, which can still be costly.
Also, there are seed exchanges on the web that you can participate in. If you have an abundance of seeds that you decide you don’t want anymore you can exchange them for other seeds that may be appealing to you. One thing to consider if you go this route, is that when exchanging seeds with someone be aware that you may get non viable seeds. So perhaps when exchanging seeds you only exchange the leftover seeds from that growing season. Seeds that you’ve had success in germinating. If you have seeds that were not stored properly and are 1 year old or older, like mine I just found, it would be courteous to communicate that information if you plan on offering them up for exchange. The same goes if you are requesting seeds from others on a seed exchange forum. Only request seeds that are from a “packet” that were proven viable from the current season.
This is what awaited me as I entered my backyard. I hope to finish cleaning it up and prepping it for new soil over the next few weeks or two.