Although I still don’t really love gardening, it’s growing on me (haha) and I’ve been uncharacteristically committed to it – so I had to figure out how to store seeds from year to year. I decided that craft storage might be a great place to start – because seeds are a lot like beads! – but then I decided that I really didn’t want to be decanting seeds from packets to small containers. Not only are some of them really tiny, and impossible to touch without losing, I figured that would just be a lot of labelling. I wanted a faster, cleaner, and easier solution for storing seeds in the winter. I finally found a great option for easy seed storage: a plastic box with individual 4 x 6 photo storage containers:
My former seed storage system (a damp cardboard box I could never find) left a lot to be desired… so anything was an upgrade, frankly!
How to Store Seeds
There are a few basic things to take into consideration when storing seeds:
- Keep seeds out of direct sunlight
- Keep seeds dry
- Keep seeds consistently cool
So that means there are lots of neat seed storing options, like a seed storage tin or seed storage binder pockets. But keep in mind that these ideas are just for storing seeds for a year or two. Long term seed storage requires an airtight container or freezer storage – seeds won’t last decades into the apocalypse with this system.
Why I Like Photo Storage as Seed Storage
Here’s why I ended up using photo storage boxes for seed storage. First, these photo storage containers are easy to find. I could choose how many 4 x 6 containers I needed, because these come in all kinds of configurations. I could even choose color (of course I chose aqua). But there are clear plastic versions, rainbow versions – and also much smaller versions. You can find them on Amazon, at craft stores, anywhere photo storage is sold, etc.
I like that I can fit multiple seed packets into the 4 x 6 photo boxes, which means there’s no need to transfer seeds into individual little containers. I prefer keeping seeds in their original packets, which include planting tips and other information I don’t want to lose:
With this system, I can keep my seed collection organized by type, but still keep different brands separate. I just toss the original seed packets into the photo cases, click them shut, add a little label, and that’s it! Every single seed packet I have fit perfectly into these 4 x 6 boxes – even the jumbo seed packets fit. Depending on the thickness of the seeds, each case can easily storage half a dozen packets – even more, with very small seeds that don’t create bulk.
The transparent boxes make it easy to see my seed inventory at a glance, which is great for me because I have a bad habit of impulse buying seeds in a panic and purchasing too many duplicates by mistake.
Because of my enthusiastic seed buying, I always have some leftover at the end of each season, but then I forget what I have when it comes time to order or purchase more seeds. Now I’m better organized and can avoid over-buying. Although I probably still will – maybe it’s the pretty seed packets that makes them so irresistible?
I also love that my seeds will stay dry and safe, secure inside the photo boxes and then also inside a larger container. I doubt it’s totally waterproof or air tight, but it still affords some protection from moisture. The containers are also stack-able, which makes them very easy to store. Plus they have a convenient little carrying handle if I want to bring them outside.
Or, I can just grab a few individual boxes filled with the seed packets when it comes time to plant my garden. Everything is plastic, so if I do bring them outside and get something muddy, it’s all easily washed and dried.
If you’re new-ish to gardening, like me, and you’re curious about how to store seeds, I hope this method is helpful! And if you’re a gardener, let me know how you store your seeds from year to year – I’d love to hear your tips and tricks. If you’re gearing up for the next gardening season, here’s how we built our cold frame garden beds and made really pretty garden markers for them:
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