How To Store Seeds For Wise Prepping & Survival

By SS Contributor | Updated: 12/15/2023

Today, I’ve got something really important to share…

A Complete Guide On How TO Saving Seeds

Because seeds are life.

They’re small in size but massive in potential.

And after SHTF, seeds will be something coveted.

It’s the potential grow your own garden and barter.

So they’ll be in extremely high demand. 

So storing them (and saving them) will be a high value SHTF skill.

TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE…    ↓(click to jump)
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2 Reasons To Stockpile and Save Seeds

1. Re-Planting

The first and most obvious reason you may want to try seed saving is that it is great for replanting.

Not only does it save you money from year to year, but it can also help you preserve species you liked the year before.

Customize your garden, and get a feel for utilizing every part of the plants you grow.

When saving tomato seeds for replanting, you may want to look into saving heirloom tomato seeds for a bit of variety.

For a tomato to be considered an heirloom, it has to come from seeds that have been saved for a time or from seeds that came from an heirloom tomato.

2. Survival

Another reason you may want to stock up on seeds is to help resupply your stockpiling food efforts.

Though you can buy seeds from the store, if times were to get difficult, it would be necessary to be able to store and save your own seeds.

In a survival scenario, seeds would become invaluable.

When meat and other foods were scarce, or emergency food storage was dependent upon electricity, you could go to your seed storage and get the seeds to grow your own food.

When it comes to survival, seeds are also very small, very light, and very easy to store, making them a fantastic element in any survival kit.

Seed Saving Supplies

It is crucial that before you start your seed-saving venture, you figure out just what seed-saving supplies you need.

There are a few specialty items you can buy that are not essential to the process as a whole.

A seed-saving guide, for instance, can be helpful, but it is not completely necessary.

With a little research and some trial and error, anyone can develop their own seed-saving guide.

Saving seeds from tomatoes, for instance, does not need a guide as long as you have plenty of tomatoes and plenty of time to experiment.

The basic supplies you will need are your vegetables to harvest seeds from, a knife to access the seeds, a spoon or scoop to harvest the seeds, a receptacle to catch and wash the seeds, and a dish and wax paper or butcher paper to dry the seeds.

If you use assisted drying methods, you may need a seed dryer, a dehydrator, or an oven.

Seed Harvesting

The first step to saving tomato seeds, saving cucumber seeds, saving pepper seeds, or any seeds that you may decide to save, is, of course, harvesting your seeds.

Harvesting starts with the proper dissection of the fruit or veggie you will save seeds from.

For tomatoes, you have a very large amount of water to deal with.

With wet vegetables like tomatoes, you first want to get a basic idea of where the seeds are.

Tomato seeds, for example, are housed in chambers inside the tomato.

You first need to cut your tomato in half to access the seeds.

Harvesting them quickly by gently squeezing the tomato halves into a collection dish.

You need to clean your seeds thoroughly and prepare for the next step.

With other wet vegetables like cucumber, you may have a harder time.

When saving cucumber seeds, you need to access the interior of your cucumber.

Once you have split it open, you can use a spoon to help scoop the seeds.

After removing them, wash them again and prepare for step two.

For vegetables like squash and pumpkin, the process is a bit different.

When saving squash seeds and saving pumpkin seeds, you have much less flesh to deal with and a much larger abundance of seeds.

Much like a cucumber, once you have accessed the squash’s interior, you can use a spoon to hollow out the seed cavity to harvest your seeds.

Anyone who has ever carved a pumpkin knows that pumpkin seeds come in the hundreds and are encased in a mucus-like substance known as a membrane.

When removing pumpkin seeds, you can chop off the top and remove the seeds with a scoop.

Then, wash thoroughly and get ready for the next step.

Harvesting pepper seeds are much easier than any other vegetable.

Pepper seeds grow in bunches in the center of the pepper attached to the stem.

If you cut out the stem and essentially core your pepper, you will have all your seeds in one place.

Seed Washing

Washing may seem simple, but you must be careful and follow a few simple rules.

When saving pumpkin seeds and saving squash seeds, you need to make sure you remove as much of the membrane as possible.

Though a little bit will not ruin your seeds, the more organic matter you have left on your seeds, the more chances there are for rot and mold to set in.

You face an even tougher cleaning process when saving tomato seeds and heirloom tomato seeds.

To remove all the pulp, you must rinse your seeds several times and ensure you have removed all that you possibly can.

You can generally pop cucumber seeds out of the flesh and give them a quick rinse.

You will likely not need to wash pepper seeds at all.

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Seed Drying

Air Drying

You can dry seeds in a few different ways, and each is as effective as another.

The first method is good old air drying.

This is the longest but also the safest way to dry your seeds.

To air dry, you need first to have your seeds well-washed.

When saving seeds washing them helps to prevent mold.

After you have washed your seeds, pat them as dry as possible to help start the drying process.

After patting them dry, you should use something like butcher paper or wax paper to lay them out.

While a paper towel may seem like a good option, it can soak up the liquid and keep it next to the seed, causing premature molding.

Butcher paper and wax paper will keep your seeds from drying on the surface you are using and will help to wick away moisture.

Make sure your seeds are laid out in an even, single layer.

It is important that your seeds not be on top of one another because this slows the drying time and again helps to encourage mold.

After you have laid out your seeds, choose a good location that is dry, free of humidity, and in the sun if you can manage it.

Placing seeds in the sun will help to speed up the process.

After that, all you have to do is wait.

Depending on the seeds and where you have chosen to leave them, the process can take as little as two or three days to as long as a week.

Larger seeds take longer to dry, while smaller seeds are much faster.

Assisted Drying

Another type of drying is assisted drying.

This means using something like a dehydrator or an oven to help speed up the process.

While these are viable options, they also risk damaging the seed beyond the point of use.

With a food dehydrator, you want to choose the lowest possible setting and allow your seeds plenty of room and time to dry.

For example:

Saving bean seeds, you want to ensure you do not dry them out too quickly, or they will become unusable.

With tomato seed saving, this method may not be ideal as tomato seeds are very delicate and small.

This method works best with larger seeds like pumpkin, squash, and even saving bean seeds.

The oven is the second assisted method you may want to use.

Again, you want to use the lowest possible setting to ensure the seeds are dried and not cooked.

Once a seed has been cooked, likely, it will never germinate.

When using an oven, you want to set it on the lowest possible setting and allow for the longest drying time possible.

It may also be beneficial to leave the oven door cracked to allow moisture to escape and maintain a dry atmosphere.

Tomato seed saving is a bit easier when you use the air-dry method than the oven or dehydrator method.

When saving pepper seeds, you will likely not need to put them in a dehydrator or an oven.

If you do not feel comfortable using either of these methods, there are seed dryers you can buy, but they are a bit pricey because they are so specialized.

↓ How To Save Seeds: Seed Saving Tips And Examples ↓

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Seed Storage

After you have dried your seeds, you need to consider how to store them.

There are a few different ways that you can store your seeds.

There are more receptacles than you might ever imagine for saving your seeds, and knowing a bit about each is the best way to get your seeds safely tucked away.

The first seed storage method is, of course, Ziploc or zip-top bags.

These are only useful if the seeds are all the way dried.

These will keep out moisture, keep seeds together, and they are easy to fold up and tuck away in a bag or a drawer.

They also hold many seeds, come in a wide range of sizes, and are relatively cheap.

This type of seed storage is only temporary, as it can trap moisture in the seeds causing them to rot.

Another seed storage method is, of course, airtight containers.

These can be food storage containers, airtight crafting containers, or even those specially designed for seeds.

These are great if you can find them, but they may also help to trap moisture and cause premature molding and rot.

The best way to store seeds is in a good old paper envelope.

An envelope, like the ones that seeds are sold in at the store, allows air to pass in and out, meaning that moisture will also pass in and out and not become trapped.

These paper envelopes are cheap, easy to store, come in many sizes, and great when packing.

Paper envelopes make for the best storage, and they are easy to come by.

Though seed drying and saving may seem like a long, arduous process, the reward is great.

Doing something as simple as saving seeds from tomatoes to use later can be incredibly fun and rewarding and may save your life one day.

Following these steps can make your seed venture easier, faster, and smoother.

Trial and error is the best way to learn; it also helps to have some information on your side to make things much easier.

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