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How do your organise your seed packets?  RSS feed

 
Samuel Morton
Posts: 55
Location: West London, UK
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Afternoon all,

I was just wondering how you organise your seed packets to keep track of everything?

I have a lot of seed packets and it seems a little overwhelming!

Many thanks,

Samuel
 
Charles Tarnard
Posts: 337
Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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Ahahahahahahahahaha organize, that's cute. Mine are all in a paper bag. They're labeled in there, but there is no organization other than, 'I know they're in this damn bag somewhere.'

We do have a couple in some tupperware style containers and they are marked as well, but nothing resembling organized.

If you have actual property and space to utilize more seeds than I, I could see how that might become overwhelming.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5957
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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I organize with pint size labeled glass jars...one for tomato varieties, one for peppers, some big seeded things like pumpkins get a single variety per jar, one for herbs, one for basils.....I think it depends on your collection of seed. I try to keep track of how old everything is and whether we like it or not This year I sorted some out by when I would plant them...a jar for january, one for february, etc...that only worked for the first month and in the end my kitchen table is covered with seeds to plant soon. You will, in the end, find what works for you...it really depends on what you have and how often you will plant it...if you are trying to get ahead on seeds you might want to store in the freezed or refrigerator (if you have those).
I am anxious to see how others do this.
 
Patrick Mann
Posts: 307
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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I have 4 boxes that I labeled with the major groups (brassicas, roots, legumes, etc).
In those I keep varieties (cabbage, kale, mustards) in small Ziploc bags. Each Ziploc contains a few small bags of dessicant.
Cover crop and other bulk seed are less organized, but I don't have that many of them to deal with.
 
Mike Magin
Posts: 4
Location: SFBay area, California (USDA zone 10a)
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Badly. About as much as I do to organize is a series of ziplock bags by season/year with one of those little silica gel pillows in each. Seed I've saved is separate from seed I've bought.
 
Jen Shrock
pollinator
Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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Ok, I am a bit anal about organizing mine. I want to know what I have and where I can find it. I took the time (and yet it took quite a bit of time) to find my stuff on Dave's Garden and list it there, with notes about whether I didn't have enough to trade and needed to grow out for seed first or if it was available and how many trades with how many seeds per trade. Keeps my mind straight and that way I don't make false promises to those contacting me about trading for seeds. I then took a small box and cut cardboard dividers for in it. Since I have transferred my seeds to similar sized packets, they fit reasonably neatly in that box. They are organized in order by the way my Daves Garden list is. It is nice for me, too, because some people refer to things by a common name and some by the latin names and I can go find it on my online list quickly then go right to where I need to be in my actual storage box.

I know, it is a bit time consuming at first, but it now saves me time and frustration for being able to find things. It also makes it tempting for others to want to trade on Dave's Garden and I have significantly increased my seed stock for the cost of postage and ended up with some pretty cool things. I am actually working on a trade right now!
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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Depends on the seed/seedstock.

Sweet potato is stored in a bucket over cold season, left in a cool spot. A 1 gallon bucket is all I could fill last year, from some volunteer plants. I figured anything that wants to grow here that badly ought to be saved. This year will see several gallons stored.

Red potato goes into the fridge. They will take some punishment in there. The last 4 I took out were fit for the compost heap, but I had nothing to lose in planting them. They are currently in the ground and putting up their first leaves. If the seeds can't take the punsihment, I don't want to grow them.

Garlic comes out of the ground in mid summer, is cured, then goes into the fridge. Come November-December, they come back out to be planted. I did not get a chance to start the last batch so they sat in the fridge for an extra year. This is apparently my method for producing crystallized garlic.

Beans take up considerable space. A packet won't cut it. I've got some wine bottles and canning jars kicking around that will hold a bunch. Add a piece of tape for labelling.

Smaller, lower volume seed gets whatever is handy. I save glass jars when emptied, perhaps relish or roasted peppers. Canning jars come in handy, I've got hundreds of them accumulated over the years. They take up some space, but not so much it is inconvenient. In the past some room in a corner cabinet has served me well. When I go looking for one thing, I'll come across something else that needs planting.

Seeds move through this place in packs . I like to try new things to see how they will do. Once the packet is opened I store the unused portion in ziplock bags. Cool season seed goes in one box, hot season into another.

I've used ziplock bags for saved seed many times, adding a piece of paper to record what, when saved, and information on the history of the strain. I had some peas that made it through several frosts over the years and a long drought. The strain finally succumbed to 2 weeks of hard freeze.

Avacado, plum pits, peach pits go in a shallow box in the corner to be neglected and abused. Some may make it.

When I eat an onion, the root end is placed into a shallow dish with water and stored on the window sill. Many of them will put out roots and send up a shoot at which point they find their way to the garden. Some will grow into bulbs, some will bolt, some will die. Keep the best, to hell with the rest.

Tomato seeds historically sit in a cup getting funky on the window sill for a few days, then get dried on a coffee filter for a few days, later lost, then found, moved, ignored, covered with books, lost again, rediscovered, and finally thrown away in disgust. This storage method has always worked well for me, guaranteeing I have a brand new seed packet when it is time to start them again.

Sometimes I like to store seed in the truck. I buy the seed, put it on the seat with a promise of better days and bountiful crops. Leaving them in the truck for a couple years keeps the dream alive.

I bought a bunch of peanut seeds one year. Kept them in a paper bag near the kitchen door. Over time, as the bag is shuffled and kicked, the peanuts begin to escape in the middle of the night, placing themselves under my barefeet. It becomes clear they want to be planted and this is their method of communication.
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Jars, boxes, and drawers. Mostly I've sorted by type, but when I get 'er dialed in I'd like to have them organized by planting time and favored conditions. I only really have one drawer and a free floating box at the moment - but I've worked with entire corners dedicated to drawers and cupboards of seed sorted by type (and loosely planting time - ie beets and carrots in the same drawer but not the same box or jar)
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I have my seed-saved and commercial- in three groovy 60's plastic breadbins.
1 has big snaplock bags of larger quantity things like cover crops, clover etc
2 has bags of large-seeded things that take up lots of space; so it's basically legume/cucurbit storage
3 has large bags with large, clear, eccentric labelling
I started off being all correct, Latin names, chard with the beets etc,
but it is way more practical for me to label some things by appearance/use, rather than family.
'umbel' is nice and normal-carrots, fennel etc;
'beets' has beetroot, but also non-beets like radishes.
Ages ago I created 'leaves': lettuces, Asian veges, chard and so on.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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By color.

On the left are the reds, radicchio and korean mustard, and then orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Plants with white flowers are all the way to the right in the ultraviolet region.
 
Cr Baker
Posts: 13
Location: Sacramento, CA
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I have mine in a narrow air-tight box, sorta like a filing cabinet. Flowers in the front, veg in the back, sorted alphabetically by the name of the food I get from the plant (ie: "zucchini" and "butternut" rather than "squash"). If I tried to do any sub-categories, I would confuse myself. I separate packets with cardboard every few inches to keep things from falling into each other.
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
Posts: 1159
Location: northern northern california
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i found a cardboard organizing file with an enclosure at a thrift store...something like this but much bigger:



with one file pocket for every letter, so its alphabetical. inside there i put large and small ziplock bags for type, like all the tomatoes are in one ziplock under T as well as tomatillos have another ziplock in the same folder pocket. i have my own file system though...stuff like herbs is under H...and whatever else that i just remember...and put stickers when i put a new type in....

it works pretty well, only i regularly pull stuff out to plant or trade or whatever...and rarely put it back in! so i also have four boxes of seeds, a box of stuff to give away or trade out, and one box that i hope to plant immediately/soon....and some other groups of seeds all over of stuff that should be put back in the main folder/file thingy...
 
Sunshine McCarthy
Posts: 22
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http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/How-to-Organize-Seed-Packets-photo-album_opt.jpg

loved this idea, but mine are in plastic shoe boxes sorted by where and when to plant.
 
Jen Shrock
pollinator
Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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Funny thing...my dad came bringing a dresser that he confiscated from somewhere. It is a nice dresser with one drawer in need of repair. The drawers in it, though, are shallow (less than 5" deep). The first thing that I thought of is that it would be a great place to put seeds into jars and then store stuff in the drawers. I am torn, though, because if the one drawer was fixed (which wouldn't be a big deal) it would be a really nice piece. If I use it for seed storage, it would be confined to my basement. I am battling in my mind whether or not to use it for seeds or fix it and bring it up stairs and enjoy it, even if to just set things on top of it. One thing going for leaving it in the basement is that it came from a home where there was a severe smoker and it would need to be de-stinkified if it were to come upstairs.
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Seed storage?
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 10012
Location: Portugal
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My other half seems to have developed his own computer based seed-organising system.

 
Meryt Helmer
Posts: 395
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
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I try to keep them in canning jars with a few of those little silica moisture absorbing packs that come with shoes and stuff to make sure the air inside stays nice and dry. I think some places sell that stuff like bountiful gardens but you can just recycle it from other things.

 
Audrey Barton
Posts: 22
Location: Mid-Michigan
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There are some great suggestions in this thread, and many organization techniques that I already use or have tried.... Except for one!

I had a seed planting party a few weeks ago, and wanted friend to easily flip through the 2-dozen tomato varieties, and place orders.

I slid seed packets into a small photo album from the thrift store! Each sleeve was see-through, so the front and back were easy to read and no seeds were accidentally spilled. Hooray!

I liked this so much, I'm on the hunt for a few more flip albums, for flowers and salad greens. They're usually 25-50 cents. A bargain!
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
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Honestly, I don't. Should I? Well, mm, I am the guy who found seeds that were from 1996 and 1997 in his house this year, so, yeah, I definitely need to organize them. I rather like the photo album idea.

I should do something about it, huh?

Because the real secret to organization, any organization, is not how you do it, but that you do it.
 
Ann Torrence
steward
Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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I am using a bead organizer for seeds that I try to sow regularly, like lettuce, dill, cilantro. I went on and on about it on my blog. The short version is:
  • unlike paper packets, it can get wet and muddy
  • get it at a craft store like Michaels or Joanns
  • the whole lid of each vial pops off so you can dump in a packet of seeds
  • there's also a flip top in the lid to shake out a few seeds at a time.
  • torrence_20140619_0301_500.jpg
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    Audrey Barton
    Posts: 22
    Location: Mid-Michigan
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    That's clever, Ann!
    I tried using a sewing box (for embroidery floss) with tiny baggies, but it wasn't worth the hassle.

    For now, my photo album organization is functioning.
    I have a photo flip-book for flowers, a 3x5 accordion folder for herbs, and another full of tomato varieties.

    How about a spice rack?
    I have a bunch of empty glass spice jars, some with sprinkle lids that might be good for planting carrots and lettuce. Hmm...
     
    I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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