Without a doubt, you can buy seeds at the beginning of each planting season. But, if you are on your way to self-sufficiency, you need to learn about drying your own seeds at the end of each season. Unfortunately, seed drying can be fickle. Seeds are made up of a protective seed coat that keeps the initial leaves, roots and food for the newly germinated plant all safe inside.
However, if the seed coat gets too dry, it can crack and ruin the seed. If the seed coat remains too wet, it will develop mold. Either situation results in damage to seed viability. So, if you want to try to learn how to dry viable seeds for the next planting season, here are three techniques to try.
1. Open Air Drying
This technique is as classic because it is effective, yet simple. Better yet, it doesn’t require anything but a flat surface and the air. Just follow these steps:
- If you are working with wet seeds such as cucumber or tomatoes, clean the slime off before drying.
- Next, find a cool and dry place where you can lay the seeds out. Avoid placing wet seeds on items like paper towels, since they will be hard to remove later. Instead, choose a surface such as a fine mesh screen or wax paper. For dry seeds, you can also use a coffee filter if they are too small for a screen.
- Leave in this area for 10 days before gently stirring with your fingers.
- Let them for another two weeks before storing them.
2. Paper Bag Drying
Unfortunately, while good for storing seeds later, the paper bag method is not good for wet seeds. This drying method is more for flower seeds or other seeds like parsley that produce seed pods. This is the best way to catch the most seeds than the other two methods. Here’s how to get started:
- Place a flower or stem with a seed pod upside down in a paper bag and let the stem stick out into the air.
- Allow the flower or plant inside to dry for two weeks in the bag.
- Next, break the pod open to release the remaining seeds.
- Leave the bag open and set the flower and seed pod aside for another two to three weeks of drying.
3. Silica Drying
This is a more modern method, but it results in the seeds drying faster. Just follow these steps:
- Place silica at the bottom of a jar and put a screen on the top.
- Lay the seeds on top of the screen and replace the lid on the jar.
- The seeds will dry in seven to 10 days using this method.
These are the top three ways to dry seeds. Just choose the method that works best for you. Soon, you’ll have all the seeds you need for next season. Be sure to store seeds in a cool, dry place. Some people even host seed swapping parties so everyone has more varieties to grow. Have fun drying your own seeds this season.