We meet on the first Sunday of each month between 8.30am - 10.00am. Venue: 145 Ilkley Road, Ilkley, Sunshine Coast.
All welcome to come along for a chat, cuppa, local organic gardening tips, seed saving and plant swap! Gold coin donation.
If you have any seeds that need processing or you'd like to contribute to our community seed bank, bring them along.
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Seed Saving Techniques

Dry seed saving involves some simple techniques for collecting, processing and storing seeds that anyone can try. Here are a few photos to give you a snapshot of the materials you can use to start at home:

Once you have collected the mature seed heads (sometimes the stalks/leaves are still green), you may need to hang them up to dry out completely like these rocket stems here. Don't wait too long or the seed pods might shatter naturally and you'll lose the lot!

Gather the dried mature seeds and store them in a paper bag or material that breathes. Here is a bag of mustard seeds snipped from the plant ready to process. Notice the label with date and seed type on a piece of paper on the bag for easy identification!

A sieve and a tray are two simple tools to use to separate the plant material from the seeds for edibles like rocket and mustard. Simply rub the plant material against the sieve so the seeds and chaff drop through to the tray below. Choose a sieve that has suitable holes for the seed size you are processing.

You should end up with a pile of seeds on the tray - compost the plant material or throw on the garden as mulch (there are always seeds hidden that you will miss so these will be your 'volunteer plants' that will self sow!) Next you are ready to clean the seed by blowing the chaff off.
Hold the tray up level with your mouth (not on a windy day!) and gently blow the chaff off the edge. This will remove the remaining plant dust and allow you to package up clean seed.
Once you have your seeds free of chaff, they are ready for measuring and packaging. Small self seal bags are ideal - use a teaspoon to measure the seeds evenly and remove the air. Adding a silica sachet or a few rice grains can help absorb moisture.
Finally, label the envelopes or packets with the variety, date and time to sow plus any other information you have about the source of the seeds or characteristics you want to remember. Then store in a cool dry place where rodents are not able to enjoy a free snack!

Tip: Placing the seed packets into the freezer for a couple of days will ensure any weevils or other insects that have inadvertently been packaged in with the seeds, are destroyed so you can safely store them until you're ready to plant.

Have fun ... and come join us to share some seeds and learn more techniques.

By Anne Gibson


  1. I store my seed in envelopes that I save from junk mail. Then I place the full envelopes in a large recycled plastic Jar i.e. peanut butter jar. I add a few silica jell packs from vitamins, etc. and store in the refrigerator. May not be pretty, but I don't spend any money on packaging either.

    1. Hi Debbie thanks for sharing your tip! Keep them coming.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your feedback McMaster. Please share so others can learn how to save seeds too.

  3. thanks! I just pulled the huge pickle jar out of the trash that my husband threw away earlier! I have been putting seeds in paper lunch bags and putting them in the dairy drawer of the second fridge. I like the idea of putting everything together in one container. Don't know why I didn't think of this before???!

    1. Glad you were up to pick up some ideas from this post.

  4. I use dark containers to keep out light ,the seeds last for years, these containers are for test strips for diabetes. Also pill containers &the packets from vitamins for moisture and my pots are rolled newspapper and I tuck them like a penny role. These hold the moisture and I just open the bottoms and plant the whole thing . Work great.A

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your tips!


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