Last week, sharing Fruition's Secrets to Storing Seeds, I mentioned the desiccant packets we love. Lots of people asked where to find them, so we were inspired to share them with you! You'll now find desiccant packets on our website.
If you're hardy, you can still sow your spinach this season! You likely won't harvest it til spring, but it will overwinter without flinching and grow the sweetest, most tender leaves with the snowmelt.
We sow spinach in early September to harvest in fall, winter and spring. Spinach can also be sown later, before the soil freezes, for spring harvest.
Growing up in my father's garden, we always saved the tiny silica gel desiccant packets we found in shoes, vitamins and packages of nori. We'd toss them into an old animal crackers tin that held our beloved seed collection and there they would collect for years, as the seed packets themselves came and went.
Looking back, I'm not convinced it made much difference. Those little desiccant packets are designed to work for a year max (the shelf-life of the product they are accompanying), so I feel pretty confident we were marginally improving the shelf-life of our seeds. The ones we now use last many, many years and are much more powerful as desiccants.
Nonetheless, like so much in life, the lesson is in the intention, in the meaning beyond the action, not only if something 'worked' or not.
My father taught me that adding desiccant packets to an airtight container would extend the life of our seeds, regardless of whether it did or not. Now I have learned more about desiccants, how they work and how to find the best ones to meet our needs, keeping millions of Fruition's seeds dry as a bone and storing with great germination for seasons to come.
Compared to the tiny desiccant packets you'll find in shoes and vitamins, ours are much more effective for way longer.
There is so much to storing seeds well. Here is why we love desiccant packets, particularly:
Reducing humidity is key to storing seed, reducing risk of mold and pre-mature sprouting.
If you're saving home-grown seed, I love you! And be sure it is very, very dry before you store it. At Fruition, we dry our seeds with fans constantly wicking moisture away. Your goal is about 7% moisture, but who can measure that? With large seeds, you can do the bend test. When you put bending pressure on your seed, does it bend or does it break? If it breaks, your seeds are dry enough to store. If they bend, leave the fan on and try again the next day. With small seeds, like tomatoes, we use two pairs of tweezers to do our bend tests.
Desiccant packets (commonly in nori, vitamins, and shoes) are ideal to keep in air-tight containers with your seeds. The ones we use are much larger and are designed to last for many years longer than the tiny packets found in shoes.
Whether you're storing seeds in plastic, glass or metal, in the cupboard or in the freezer, a desiccant packet in an airtight container will extend their shelf-life greatly.
If cold is good, freezing is great, right?
It is true that seed banks store their seeds frozen. Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway stores their seed at 0 F.
Freezing is a great way to store seeds for the long haul. If you're planning on sowing them within a few years, it's probably not going to make a huge difference, though it couldn't hurt. Just be sure: Only freeze seeds that are completely dry.
When we freeze seeds, we tuck a desiccant packet in a closed plastic bag with the seeds for three days, letting the desiccant wick away any excess moisture. After the third day, we're confident they're fully dry and into the freezer they go.
My goal is to surround you with beauty and abundance, with as much ease and joy as possible. From the seeds we save and send to you to the desiccant packets that will help them stay vigorous for years to come, we love to share what we love with people we care about. Thank you for being part of our Fruition family, Friends!
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