Letter Re: How Should I Store My Extra Garden Seed?

Dear Editors:
What is the best way to store my extra garden seed? I want to make it last several years, but still germinate properly. Also, what are the best kind of seeds for survival gardening? Thanks, – Liz, near Toledo

The Memsahib Replies: Your seed stocks should be all non-hybrid (“heirloom”) varieties, so that the seed that you save from each harvest will breed true and continue to produce, year after year. (Hybrid varieties won’t!) Heirloom seed is available from The Ark Institute, the Seed Savers Exchange, and Ready Made Resources. Long term storage of gardening seed is best done by drying and freezing. Ideally, gardening seeds should be “dried down” with an equal weight of silica gel desiccant and stored in sealed Mason-type jars, labeled with both the seed variety and the date of pack. (A Sharpie pen works well.) These jars should be stored in your chest freezer. Remember that seeds are living things, so resist the urge to vacuum pack them!