Gardening tips: how to save fruit and vegetable seeds for next year

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As a new season of the year approaches, novice gardeners who have leftover seeds may wonder whether to throw away their packets or save them for next year.

This could be particularly interesting for Americans who are making fruit and vegetable gardens a priority as this year’s inflation continues to hit basic groceries.

Gardening experts have a few tricks up their sleeve for storing seeds.

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Here are four smart gardening tips for those looking to save seeds for future harvest.

Which seeds can last a year or more?

Most store-bought seeds and seed-filled products are “hybrid strains” and typically don’t produce seeds that can germinate and reproduce, according to Justin West, co-founder and CEO of Knoxville, Wash.-based Thrive Lot. Tennessee. gardening platform.

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“If you want to store seeds and repopulate your gardens and orchards, you have to start with heirloom varieties,” he told Fox News Digital.

Gardening is the practice of caring for and growing plants. Almost all heirloom seeds can last a year or more if stored properly, an expert says.
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West said almost all heirloom seeds can last a year or more if stored properly.

“Lettuce, peppers, parsnips and onions will only last a few years,” West said.

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“The most durable seeds are beans and maize,” he said.

“The beans sprouted after over 100 years under ideal storage conditions.”

How to store the seeds?

It is possible to save seeds for future planting, but gardeners should ensure that their storage plans will keep the seeds in optimum condition.

“The beans sprouted after over 100 years under ideal storage conditions.”

“Seeds should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight,” said Stacie Krljanovic, head gardener and consultant at Patio Productions, an outdoor and garden furniture marketplace in San Diego, California.

Garden seeds should be kept in a sealed container to prevent the growth of mold and mildew, she told Fox News Digital.

When storing seeds, keep them away from heat sources, an expert said.

When storing seeds, keep them away from heat sources, an expert said.
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She said it’s also important to keep the seeds away from heat sources, such as radiators or heaters, as these heat-generating devices can dry out the seeds and render them unusable if one pay no attention to it.

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“Make sure your seed storage area is rodent-proof so that mice, rats, or other pests don’t eat your seeds before you’re ready to plant them,” Krljanovic added.

Carrots, cucumbers, peas and tomatoes can usually be stored for up to five years, according to Krljanovic.

Meanwhile, zucchini and spinach can typically be stored for up to eight years, while onions and garlic can typically be stored for up to 10 years.

When is the best time to plant?

In the northern hemisphere, most fruit and vegetable seeds can be planted in the spring, according to West of Thrive Lot.

Gardeners should start their new plants indoors, so that these plants have the best chance of success.

He recommends that gardeners start their new plants indoors, so those plants have the best chance of success.

“For young fruit trees in particular, you [can] start them in small pots and keep them well watered until late fall, then plant them right after the first frost,” West told Fox News Digital.

Fruits, vegetables and herbs can have an optimal planting season.

Fruits, vegetables and herbs can have an optimal planting season.
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Vegetables, meanwhile, have an ideal growing season, according to West.

“Many [vegetables]like lettuce, can be grown several times a year depending on your climate,” he said.

“So you can start lettuce in early spring, a little in the summer, and even more in the fall. [across] most of the United States”

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Some seeds need cooler weather to germinate, while others need warmth, said Katie Burdett, owner of Growing with Gertie, an organic gardening and slow food blog. She is based in Lakeside, Michigan.

“Plant cool-loving seeds like lettuce, spinach, kale, radish, turnip and bok choy in spring and fall for best results,” Burdett told Fox News Digital.

She added, “Other heat-loving crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn and zucchini should be planted in late spring or early summer, depending on your growing zone. “

How to test your seeds?

While most seeds can be saved for future use, gardeners can test their viability before planting them in an outdoor garden bed.

“If you find older seeds that you want to use, you can do a germination test,” said Deborah Niemann, a six-time author of farms in Joliet, Illinois.

Germination tests can help gardeners know if their seeds are good if they germinate after being exposed to water.

She also owns and operates the Thrifty Homesteader, a standalone blog and academy.

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Niemann said germination tests can help gardeners know if their seeds are good if they germinate after being exposed to water.

She recommends soaking the seeds for a few hours (ideally in a jar with a germination lid), draining them, and rinsing them several times over a period of two or three days to keep the seeds moist.

Sprouted seeds sprout leaves that stick out of the ground when planted.

Sprouted seeds sprout leaves that stick out of the ground when planted.
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Alternatively, for small seeds, Niemann recommends using damp paper towels to add moisture if a germination cover isn’t available.

Paper towels can be sprayed several times a day; or wrapping them lightly in plastic keeps the seeds moist.

Germination times vary by plant, so it’s best to check seed packets to see how long moistened seeds will take to germinate, Niemann said.

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“By doing a germination test, you won’t waste time planting seeds that are no longer viable,” Niemann told Fox News Digital.

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