How to Save Seeds: Drying Seeds for Storage

Learn how to dry seeds using the best method for your climate.

| July 2011 Web

The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds cover

Learn how to collect, save and cultivate seeds from more than 300 vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers, trees and shurbs with "The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds." Authors Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough thoroughly explain every step in the seed-saving process.

The following is an excerpt from The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough (Storey, 2011). The excerpt is from Chapter 4: Seed-Storage Know-How. 

Seed-Drying Methods 

Drying seeds to the desired moisture level for storage may take a few days to several weeks, depending upon the species, the atmospheric humidity, and the equipment you use. The faster you dry the seeds, the less likely they will be to succumb to pathogens. The lower the humidity of the air in which the seeds are placed, the faster the seeds will dry. Seeds dry quickly at first, then more slowly as their moisture content nears that of the air around them.

Packaging Seeds for Drying 

Small coin envelopes work very well for holding seeds while they dry, better than standard paper letter envelopes, which often have small holes at their corners through which tiny seeds can spill out. Another option is to wrap small seeds tightly in pieces of paper towel and secure the seams with tape. Whether you use envelopes or paper towels, package only a few seeds together. If you have a lot of seeds, you’ll have to use a lot of envelopes. Be sure you carefully label each envelope or paper towel with the date and the crop or species name (and the variety name if there is one). Note that although plastic bags and glass jars work well for storing dried seeds, they are not good container choices for seeds during the drying process.

Dehumidifier Drying 

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