How do you keep all your seeds organized??!!

hotshott(6)September 29, 2007

I am a newbie and have gotten a lot of generous donations as well as several seeds I have traded. Some problems I am having are organizing these seeds. Right now I've got them all in one box. When I go to make a trade I'm finding myself thumbing through all of them.

Another issue is that I have looked up seeds on trade lists- trade for them because I like them, and them when I get them, I can't remember it's details ie sun/shade/height/zone/color...

How do you all do all of this!???



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I too am a newbie. I'll tell you what I do, but I'm sure I will improve on this as I go.
I have made an excel sheet that includes a lot of the info on the flowers. In fact, I have designed several.
1. Flowers and Herbs I have
2. Veggies I have
3. Flowers and plants I want
4. Novelty plants to try
5. Herbs I want
6. Trees I want (really just to research because I need to plant some trees in my yard)
7. Veggies I want
8. Trades

I also have designed charts to keep growing records for:

Probably way more info than you were looking for. Anyway, as far as my seeds far, I just have them in alphabetized envelopes (business size) in a box that they just fit in. I have separate envelopes for flower mixes, herbs, gourds and mystery flowers.
The veggies are all thrown together in a tupperware container because I only have a few of those so far. I'm sure that as I collect more seeds from trades or buying them, that I will find a better way to keep them.
If you have Excel and would like me to send you any of the documents I have made, let me know and send me your email addy and I will forward them on to you.
I'm sure I have been as clear as mud, but if you have any questions about what I'm doing, ask away!
Carol B

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 3:23AM
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kilngod z6b(Zone 6b)

For trades/small seed packs, I use the same "business envelopes in a box system" that Carol does. I let the envelope flap stick up, and label the catagory. Sometimes it's very specific (Nigellas), other times not (vines). Larger seed amounts (what I've harvested) go into 3"x5" baggies, and stacked into the space beside the box is bigger than Carol's.

Alphabetical order is important for me. As the box gets more crammed, I may switch to 2 boxes -- to seperate out my keepers and traders? Or flowers vs vines/veggies/shrubs or something like that.

When I look up info about a seed to see if I want to trade for it, I don't record anything either. Did try to once, but there are too many offers that don't happen. Waste of time. So I look them up again later if the trade happens, and record in a word file all the germination info. I'm transferring that to excel, where I'm putting the planting/growing/etc info. (parts of the word file can be printed quickly and be at my side as I sow seeds; but I need the excell for planning where they'll go in the garden.)

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 9:01AM
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Thank you both so much! I DO have excel and am very familiar with it. I don't know why I never thaught of that before.
Have either of you found a website that I can easily look up a seed that I am not familiar with to get all the info in a "one stop site" ie- when to sow, sun/shade, zones, height...etc? I find myself just doing general searches through google or yahoo and it takes up a lot of my time.

My e-mail is HOTSHOTGYRLY@HOTMAIL.COM -thanks again!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 4:16PM
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kilngod z6b(Zone 6b)

Oh do we have the sites for you:

These are vey helpful for germination info especially. Got them from a veteran here when I started, and am happy to pass them along.

When I first look something up, I use google and include the words 'plantfiles' and "information", which brings up another very good site/database. This is fast and detailed information, everything you need to know to see if you want a certain plant.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 7:25AM
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stage_rat(5--Indiana Riviera)

For looking up something, I use plantfiles, too. I've found that if I type the word "zone" along with the plant name, plantfiles comes up, and I didn't have to type as many letters as with "plantfiles!"

When I'm considering, or doing a trade, I copy the person's trade list, either into word or "notepad," a little wp program on my computer. Word is nice, because I will highlight with different colors the seeds I really want, or maybe want. After I look something up, I'll type a note of why I want it. Like: "Blue, likes dry shade, ~18" tall" Usually once I want something, I still want it even if the trade doesn't go through--so then I'll copy that whole line into my Wants list if that trade doesn't happen. I also copy emails into that Word document and write my responses there, which is handy if you ever need to put a trade together when your internet is having problems.

For seed organization, I recently switched to those fridge boxes that hold 12 soda cans. I cut each box a little higher than halfway up the sides, and also make it a little narrower--it's easy, I just used scissors and a stapler. I've made cardboard dividers with labels for the seeds I often grab, or where a new letter starts. This width fits the little baggies just fine, up to a regular commercial seed packet, or an envelope cut in half and used for seed collecting.

I used to keep annuals and perennials separate, now I just put them together--I can alphabetize a list of things to pull, and then just go in order. Or there's less sorting before putting new seeds away.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 1:49AM
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moonphase(z7 Ga)

After several years of collecting seeds and 3 yrs here trading I have had to use big I collect I put them in paper bags to dry.Then I roll up the bag and put it in a big box(and I have several) until I get ready to clean them.from there they go into a big yellow envelope.These are in alphabetical order for trades and wsing.I have everything in alpabetical order.I have separate containers for perennials,annuals,herbs,vines,veges.shrubs and trees.Some I have 2 or 3 containers since I do such a large scale of seeds.Small collections go into smaller yellow envies and in a smaller container.I put the info of the seeds I trade on a index card and use a file box for these.It makes it so much easier when I am packing seeds to trade rather than having to stop and look up the info.The seeds I get in trade,I file and look up the info before wsing starts.I use a ledger and put in info for the seeds I plan to ws.I put all of these in a container and as I sow them,I jot down color and ht. on the label on the MJ so when I plant out,I know what color and ht. everything is.All this may sound confusing but I have got it so this works well for me....

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 9:06PM
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I'm new too and love these tips. Carol, I have excel and would love to see how you organize everything if you would share it with me.
My email addy is
I learn something new every time I come to GardenWeb, I love it!
Thanks, Allyson

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 10:07AM
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I'll have to apply some of your methods, such as using larger boxes with envelopes as dividers. I've been using 1 gal zip-lock bags inside approx. 20x12 in box, each bag holds seeds to be traded (containing same seeds in smaller bags), seeds for us, empty seed packets and 1 with notes about the trades from this year only- older ones are kept elsewhere. Each bag is marked with permanent marker - 3 diff. colors in my case.
Once I prepare seed pkts, they go in another bag and into the fridge, thankfully have a new larger fridge I can use one of the crispers for the seeds!
What I've been doing , the old fashioned way, writing down on the piece of paper basic info -seeds to be sent and the seeds I'm most hopeful to be getting, address and I make a square which I mark, often with large point pen/marker , once I send with a check mark, received with an X, often have GREAT across the note -ab 1/4 size of the typing paper page, which I also use for seed envelopes.

I make simple seed packets, with plain white or any color typing paper, lately I've been using pink.
Fold the page in half (crosswise), cut the folded edge, then cut each crosswise into 3 equal piecesSmaller seeds -salvia and purslane, for instance, are best cleaned up in a plastic bag, give it a few shakes, let the seeds fall into the corner, discard most of the chaff, snip the corner and empty seeds into packets.
Night Blooming Jasmine - got a new idea, after gathering white seed pods, again, place in the plastic bag, crush gently with fingers to open the pods, take out into paper bag or large envelope and let dry. Unless you prefer to leave it in the pods to dry, works either way.
I keep my freshly gathered seeds under the patio cover away from the kitties, for a couple of days or until I feel like cleaning them out. If there are any bugs -seldom have them, put seeds in the freezer for a few hours-that'll get 'em! Of course, certain seeds shouldn't be refrigerated or frozen, such as palms and other tropicals, need to learn.

Again, thank you all and am going to try some of your methods. Lots for me to experiment and learn daily.

Happy gardening and best wishes,


    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 8:18AM
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I sent you an email. Hope you can use some of the info.
Carol B

    Bookmark   October 12, 2007 at 5:30AM
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I have different boxes for different things. I have:
One box for seeds I collected in my garden.
One box for seeds received in trades.
One box for commercial seed though I do have a few seeds received in trade in there because of the flower it is goes along with mostly purchased seed.
One box for veggie seeds except tomatoes and beans/peas each have their own boxes.
I have way too many seeds, lol.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2007 at 7:00PM
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I've just organized my seeds using a soft sided zippered CD case. I love it. I can sit down with a catalog and my binder at the table with a cuppa and shop!

I also downloaded packets to print so that I could save my seeds.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Binder: Garden Organization Project

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 1:25PM
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