Seeding Times
Simple Sorting and Storing

The seed packages are pouring through the mail slot and

I have to have some way of organizing them. My usual organizational methods have been described as somewhat casual, by people who are trying to be kind to me. Seeds however are important and somewhat perishable.

Alphabetical or ??
A storage system should have some sense of logic to it and relate to the function of the things being stored. What do I do with seeds? I plant them. It makes sense to store them in the order in which they are going to be planted. This method accomplishes two jobs with one handling of the seed packages. The first thing you need is a calendar and the information from the back of the seed packages. Will they be started indoors or directly into the garden? Sort them into two piles on that basis.

seed packages When Will I Start Them?
My system works on three dates for planting things into my garden. 1. As soon as the soil can be worked. 2. When the night temperature is warmed and heavy frost is unlikely. 3. When soil is warm and all risk of frost has passed. In my part of the world that is usually late April, middle of May and the first week or so of June. You will find that the instructions on the seed packages refer to these three times in some language or other. Sort your outdoor seeded pile into these three categories and put them into files with those dates. I use a colour coded system that differentiates between the files that hold indoor and outdoor seeds.

How Many Weeks?
For the indoor starters, the package instructions will tell you how many weeks before planting to start them indoors. Choose the three appropriate time for planting out and on that calendar count back the 4, 6, 8 weeks indicated and put them into a file for that date. When you have opened all the boxes from the seed companies and sorted through them; you are left with an organized set of files containing all the seeds that need to be started in any given week. Just go to your seeding area once a week and open that week’s file and start seeding. The planning and filing are all done in one interesting step. Next year you can just reuse the same files and it’s also easy to check before ordering, just what you have leftover from the previous year.

seed storage

Where ?
I use a plastic file box that I have had for years. It was sold by one of the seed catalogues specifically for storing seeds. It is relatively air tight so that it keeps seeds from year to year. It has hanging files of zip lock bags to put the seed packets in. You could easily make something similar from products readily available at an office supply store.

Don’t let your friends see this system, they might realize that you don’t just have all of these seed starting times as some intuitive gardening knowledge.

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