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Store Your Seeds for Longer Life

Most vegetable garden seed, when properly cared for, can maintain vigor for more than three to five years.

A seed packet lists the expected life of the seed - usually a pretty short number, like one to three years. This assumes the average gardener stores their seeds in a shoebox in a warm house. You may be able to keep your seed viable for a longer time.

The key to lengthening the life of seeds is to lower the relative humidity and temperature at which they are stored.

Use a good container with a tight fitting lid, such as a Tupperware tub or a five-gallon food bucket. Place a few silica gel desiccant packets among the seed packets and seal the container. Store it in a part of the house that is not damp and that has a consistent, cool temperature. You can also store seeds in your refrigerator, if you have room. When sowing time comes around, bring out only those seeds you need to sow for the next few weeks.

For plant lists and full details on gardening in January, order your copy of Tilth Alliance's Maritime Northwest Garden Guide, our bestselling planning calendar for year-round organic gardening. See our list of classes.

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