Throughout the coming year, I will be running an occasional series on Fridays called Weekend Projects, where I will feature easy, timely garden projects to kick off your weekend with a little garden DIY inspiration.
And what better place to start than the seed stash? I don’t know about you, but by the end of the garden season, mine is usually looking a little rough. More than likely there are a few packets that were quickly re-stashed wherever it was convenient at the time, at least one or two empty seed packets filed neatly back in place, and random jars of saved seed scattered throughout my kitchen. It’s not the worst thing that happens throughout a busy garden season, but it is nice to start out a new season with everything in its place, and if you are already taking an inventory as a part of your garden planning efforts, you can easily make it a two-for-one and get organized at the same time.
Start by organizing your seed stash with a system that works well for you. Sorting by type (vegetable, herb, flower), alphabetically, or by start/planting date are common choices, but if there is another method that makes sense for you, go for it! I organize my stash both by type and alphabetically. I keep the vegetable seeds (which make up more than two thirds of my stash) together, and combine my herb and flower seeds, since I really don’t have a lot of carry over of either type from year to year.
When it comes to storage you have a lot of options. I have seen everything from a shoe box and a few rubber bands to an antique library card catalog and everything in between: baskets, plastic storage, file boxes, photo albums, mason jars, and cookie tins. There are also quite a few seed organization systems available for purchase. If you are looking for ideas, head over to the Garden Organization Pinterest Board, where there is a little bit of everything–including some great DIY ideas.
My own seed storage has evolved over time. I started out using a small brown paper gift bag to hold my seed packets, but when that bag started to burst at the seams, I started using the small plastic storage containers pictured here. I really like that they are the perfect size to file the seed packets upright (easy to find what I need, check dates, etc.) and they were inexpensive, too. Win-win! I started out with two containers, and when they reached capacity, I added another two. At the moment I am feeling like this is my sweet spot as far as size goes and I am trying really hard to keep my seed stash around this size.
As you are organizing your seed packets, don’t forget about your saved seed. For me, it’s the saved seed that gets me every year. I harvest seed from the garden throughout the season, collect it in whatever empty mason jar is sitting in the dish rack, and then tuck it away somewhere in the kitchen to dry or to add more seed later. Eventually, my counter ends up looking like this, which clearly doesn’t fit inside my seed storage very well. If you squirrel seed away like I do, this is a great time of year to make sure that all of those seeds make their way into your seed stash.
To organize saved seed, first make sure that the seed has been properly dried and cleaned. Once the seed is storage-ready, you can pack it up in a way that works with your storage system. I tend to make a lot of simple seed packets and re-use small envelopes, because that’s what works well with my system. Other good ideas are: small plastic zip bags, baby food jars, old pill bottles, or anything else you can easily label and organize with the rest of your stash.
The best part is that all of this organizational work is easily accomplished in a mater of hours and it is also really fun to pull the seed stash out this time of year and do a little dreaming. So go ahead and make that cup of tea or pour a glass of wine and organize your seed stash this weekend!
I would love to see your system for organizing your seed stash: Post a link in the comments, a photo to the Sweet Domesticity Facebook page, or tag me on Instagram or Twitter so I can share it with my readers!