Guide to Seed Saving

Here’s almost everything you want to know about saving seeds, starting seedlings indoors, and making sure your stored seeds last.

| January 2017

  • Old film canisters or desiccant packs also make great seed storage.
    Photo by Fotolia/
  • “Backyard Bounty: The Complete Guide to Year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest” by Linda Gilkeson.
    Cover courtesy New Society Publishers

With 40 years of gardening experience under her belt, Linda Gilkeson has written the book Backyard Bounty (New Society Publishers, 2011), a guide chock-full of down-to-earth advice for Pacific Northwest gardeners. Whether a novice or seasoned grower, looking to start a garden or grow more in the one you have, and no matter where you live, this book offers adaptable tips on garden planning, soil preparation, growing healthy seedlings, and simple pruning and planting guides. Make gardening less challenging and less time-consuming with this seasonal wisdom and these practical tips.

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Backyard Bounty.

This article covers how to start your own seedlings indoors for transplanting to the garden later. It also describes basic seed-saving methods for anyone interested in trying this rewarding aspect of gardening.

Should You Start Your Own Seedlings?

For beginning gardeners, I recommend starting off with transplants from garden centers or farmers markets. These local sources usually sell robust varieties known to do well in a range of conditions. While there are many reasons for growing your own transplants, to be successful, you have to provide good growing conditions and be prepared to give them daily care for 5 to 10 weeks. This is definitely for the advanced class!

Starting Seedlings Indoors

There are several reasons for starting vegetables several weeks to months before they can go out in the garden:

• Heat-loving plants, such as tomatoes, peppers, winter squash and cucumbers, take too long to ripen a crop in the cool coastal climate. There really isn’t enough time to sow them directly in the garden and have much of a crop.

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