VI Agriculture Show
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How to Save Seeds (continued)

It’s wise to have identifying labels accompanying the seeds at each step and to put sticky labels on their containers.


Lettuce seeds take up little space. It’s easy to find small glass or plastic containers for them. Film canisters and plastic bags also work well. Lettuce seed is usually collected in September and October. If you want to be a saver of lettuce seed, it’s best to find those cultivars that produce the kind of lettuce you like but also produce seed before the plants are frozen or rained out. In short season growing areas, it might be necessary to start lettuces early indoors. Lettuces rarely cross but it’s best to not allow undomesticated lettuce varieties, such as Wild or Prickly Lettuce, to flower nearby.


If you start saving lettuces, you’ll be amazed by the wonderful shapes, textures and colours of the leaves plus all the diverse ways the flowering stalks shoot up. Lettuce seeds keep a high viability for at least four years.


General Storage Notes


Seed should always be stored under cool, dry conditions. Temperatures well below freezing will not harm seeds if they have been adequately dried. Sealing most seeds from air, except in the case of beans and peas, which like some air circulation, prolongs viability.


Most sound vegetable seeds, if stored properly, will remain viable for many years, with the exception of short-lived onion, leek, corn and parsnip seed.


Put each kind of seed into its own envelope with the cultivar name and the date of storage. You can also put envelopes or just the seeds in airtight tins, glass jars or plastic containers that can be closed to make them moisture proof.


Storing seed containers in the freezer will increase longevity.


Editor’s note: To read the complete article on How to Save Seeds by Dan Jason of Saltspring Seeds, visit:  You will find detailed instructions on saving self-pollinating annuals, cross-pollinated annuals, cross-pollinated biennials and perennials.