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how long to dry out seeds?

Posted by ishareflowers 5 MA. ( on
Sun, Jul 27, 08 at 17:20

This is my first year at gathering seeds and I wondered how long show you let them dry out before putting them in small plastic baggies?

I have my seeds on paper plates strewn all over my spare bedroom and it's driving me nuts!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: how long to dry out seeds?

Hi sound like me last year..there were SO many paper plates all over..BUT a wise person told me to use paper bags, and it is MUCH easier..I would take the paper bags out to the seeds into them, fold them..mark them with the date, and type of seed..and I left them sit a minimum of two weeks..then slowly worked on putting them into envies. I do know that they recommend using the paper envies over the plastic..the seeds will last longer and not mold.

As you know I didnt finish bagging my seeds last season..sigh. This year I am trying to do them as I go but I think once the seeds really start going Ill be stacking them up again..LOL

Good luck, and I hope you get more advice is always great to get so many perspectives.

Hope all is going well with you and your garden !


RE: how long to dry out seeds?

  • Posted by dorisl 5 NW Chicago burbs (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 27, 08 at 22:35

I second the paper bags and will raise you to save your junk mail envy's and use those also!

Much better use of space and much less risk of sneezing on one and blowing the seeds all over.


RE: how long to dry out seeds?

I'm in a dry climate, so when my lettuce, basil, etc., goes to seed, I cut the top half of the plant and just hang them up on hooks on the back porch. They make a nice, fragrant fall decoration and when I notice the seeds beginning to drop, I just slide a plastic grocery store bag over them, leave them a few more days, then shake the plant vigorously and the seeds gather in the bottom where they are easy to gather and store.
The spaghetti and winter squash and corn, I place in a wicker basket with fall leaves where they make a nice centerpiece for Thanksgiving. I leave them during the winter, break them open in the spring and plant, no storing/labeling needed.
The tomato and watermelons are a little more challening...

RE: how long to dry out seeds?

I put the seeds in a paper bag on top of the refrigerator for a while to dry because it's warm there, then I put the bagged seeds inside the fridge to get them really dry, and they stay there til I need them. This only works with a self-defrosting unit. This works really well for stale potato chips too...put the OPEN bag in the fridge for 2-3 days, then take the bag out and immediately seal it to keep moisture from condensing on the chips. Voila!

Don't forget that some seeds need to avoid drying out, and need to be planted/moist to remain viable, and may need stratification too...this is true of many trees in colder zones.

Good luck!


RE: how long to dry out seeds?

I've been collecting seeds for 5 years now and this is how I do it. Never had a germination problem with anything I've collected by doing it this way.

I buy the cheapest sandwich size ziploc bags i can get, and the cheapest paper plates as well, market basket brand is perfect and use those.

and have lots of black sharpies on hand.

When i go outside to collect seeds, i take a plastic grocery bag filled with the ziplock bags and a sharpie in my pocket.

I label the baggie, then put the seeds in the bag, zip it up and toss it in the grocery bag.

When I'm done collecting , I bring them in the house. One by one I empty the baggies on to a plate that has been labeled with what kind of seed it is.

I put the plates on top of each other and leave them that way until they are dry. Without any AC in my house it's usually about 2 weeks to dry.

Small tiny seeds are then put in prescription bottles labeled on the top of the cap with some masking tape and i make coin foilders from scrap paper to hold larger seeds till i'm ready to pack them up for trades.

I dont' use the paper bags because too many seeds get caught in them and i reuse the zippy bags by crossing off the seed name and putting another one on it until I can't find anymore space to do it.

If they are tiny seeds like poppy that can get stuck in the bags, i toss the bag so other seeds don't get mixed in with them.

I have never stored seeds in the frig, though I do put hibiscus and hollyhock seeds in a zippy bag and toss them in the freezer for about 2 weeks when i collect them. They have a nasty habit of having bug eggs laid in them and when you go to dry the seeds the bugs hatch. The freezer does the trick. once i take them out, i leave them in the bag to be sure no bugs hatch for several days, If i see any, it's back to the freezer for another week. If not bugs they come out of the bags to dry.

Send me an e-mail or give me a call and I can explain more to you about what I do.


RE: how long to dry out seeds?

Hi Lisa
I go out with boxes I collect from the grocery store the kind small veggies come in, clip off the seed heads into them and end up with them really stacked up in my dinning room, kids are finally used to eating on tv trys in the fall, lol. yes I do 2 weeks and marker the date and kind on the side of boxes, works for me, some when you seed are very picky use those thin doctor rubber gloves, I get them when I go to the doctors office, I told her why I was wanting a few she laughed and gave me more,ha. Have fun, Lisa

RE: how long to dry out seeds?

Be aware that all seeds need to be RIPE before they're allowed to dry out, not just formed. They are usually brown and the husks are dry or almost dry when they're ripe. If seeds aren't mature when they collected, they won't sprout.

I don't know how many times I've traded seed and gotten pale, unripe seed, and just have to toss it. I know there's a learning curve in seed collection, but somewhere here should be a FAQ here about it.

TIP: I hate waiting for seeds to ripen, then get busy and when I get back to them, the pods are all empty. I found some small muslin bags with drawstrings at American Science and Surplus. They can be turned inside out, and they can be washed. They're 4"x5 3/4", a handy size to fit over seed heads. They cost $2 for 15, but the company does have a $10 minimum, plus shipping. If you want to look, go to their site and type 'drawstring baglets' in the box in the far upper right corner.


Here is a link that might be useful: American Science & Surplus

RE: how long to dry out seeds?

There is a nursery down here in Texas that goes into Mexico looking for plants. When they find what they want they put a bag around the flower and come back in a month or so and harvest their seeds. They sell many of what they collect around the world.

RE: how long to dry out seeds?

belgianpup....I was kinda' wondering about all these post too...because I always wait until the seed pod is dry on the plant...(yes, I do lose some)...but since they are already dry (& ripe) when I pick them, all I need to do is gently squeeze to 'split the pod' and dump the seeds into a marked paper 'coin' envelope.

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