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My Seed Organizing Method

January 15th, 2011

Many of you wanted to hear a little more my seed organization system. I didn’t used to be organized in this area, until last year I kept my seeds in a plastic bin. I had amassed so many seed that it took me while to sort through them every time I needed something. I decided to come up with a more organized solution.

After much thought, I finally I set up the system I’m currently using and I really like it. I made these small folders from some extra folders I had in the office. I simply cut them to size to fit the box I was using for my seeds (which is from IKEA). I cut each folder in half on the normal fold line, then I cut it to width retaining the tab in the location I wanted (of course I alternated them as you can see in the box view). Then I folded those in half and I had a folder the perfect size for my box.

Next I set up and printed up these charts to put on the fronts of the folders. These keep track of the things I have inside the folder so I can see at quick glance what varieties are inside.

I have tweaked it a bit since I set it up. I now have added subcategories to a few of the kinds of seeds I have lots of and for the different seasons that I grow them in. So I have categories for: spring greens, summer greens, fall greens. This particularly helps with my winter gardening as I have all the varieties that are good for fall/winter separated out so they’re quick to find. I also have folders for flowers I need to start extra early like globe amaranth and others that take 120 days to flower.

You may have noticed that I also paperclip or butterfly clip the folders closed (it also attaches the info card), I find this makes them easier to take in and out, no seed packets sliding out of the folders.

To help keep my seeds viable for longer I store my seed box in the basement where it’s cool. I also save those little silica gel packets and put them in the boxes to absorb extra moisture. I plan on replacing them with some activated bamboo charcoal as soon as I order some.

This system is working very well for me. It sure saves me a lot of time when I’m planting seeds. I have actually set up another box to store my larger packets of seeds and cover crops separately. All I need to come up with now is a great garden journal that I can use to keep track of all of my other planting notes. I’m hoping to incorporate that into my new blog redesign so you can see it as well in case you’re interested.

How do you store your seeds? Any great tips for us? Any great tips on setting up a garden journal?

20 Comments to “My Seed Organizing Method”
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gardening Guru and mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: My Seed Organizing Method #seedsowing #organization #seeds […]

    Reply to Tweets that mention Organizing Seeds | Chiot’s Run —'s comment

  2. Jandra on January 15, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Lovely system you have.
    I keep my seeds organized (in theory…) according to sowing date. Made dividers for a box which once held two bottles of wine, so that I have 3 rows. Then I have a tab for each month and then just put in the packets of seeds behind the proper tab. When I’ve sown salad greens in March and I want to sow again in April I move the packet of seeds to the next month after sowing. It works for me.
    Happy growing, Jandra

    Reply to Jandra's comment

  3. Amy W. on January 15, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Very nice! We’re not close to an IKEA, my parent’s and I went to one in Georgia in the summer time ’10 with my brother, sister-in-law and their 2 children.


    Reply to Amy W.'s comment

  4. Kathryn | Alpacamundo on January 15, 2011 at 9:33 am

    My seed saving system includes plastic baggies and a paper sack that I can never find when it’s time to plant.

    Now that we’re in a place that has room for a serious garden, I’ve felt a need to get more organized. Your system makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks for sharing it.

    Reply to Kathryn | Alpacamundo's comment

  5. Grant Geiger on January 15, 2011 at 9:53 am

    thanks!!! this is really cool

    Reply to Grant Geiger's comment

  6. debbie~auen on January 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    What a great way to organize your seeds…I just love your blog, it is my favorite….You always have such Beautiful pictures….

    Reply to debbie~auen's comment

  7. Lya Sorano on January 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Brilliant! Until now, my seeds have been in small plastic baggies and other containers, all stuffed in a grocery sack on the floor of my pantry (at least I won’t have to wonder where they are – I see that sack every day!). Now you’ve given me an “excuse” for another trip to IKEA – one of my favorite stores.

    Reply to Lya Sorano's comment

  8. Chicago Mike on January 15, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Its really interesting that you are doing this right now. I am working on the same thing before placing my orders to see what I really need.

    I am thinking of a system that helps with planning and crop rotation. So all the cruciferae together, all the Solanaceae together, etc. I am trying to work them into a few groups (four or five) that I can use for an easy rotation schedule. Then I will store those together with the “use by” dates I am working on” to make seed orders easier as well.

    Reply to Chicago Mike's comment

  9. Morgan G on January 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Just a quick tip for those with iWork for Mac. There is a very nice garden journal template available within the Numbers application complete with drag and drop options for photos. It’s pretty awesome.

    Reply to Morgan G's comment

    • Susy on January 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to look into that.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Lona on January 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    What a terrific seed setup you have created and so organized. I love it!
    My organized seed holder looks just like your before picture.

    Reply to Lona's comment

  11. annie on January 15, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I have tried a million things and I still haven’t found something I like. I’ll give your method a try next. I have a huge amount of seeds so something needs to be done.

    As for a garden journal… I have a general garden journal I make notes in whenever I do anything in the garden but I have specific charts I set up to record certain kinds of data all in one place. So, I have:
    -a seed starting/germination record sheet
    -a year long growing plan spread sheet that shows graphically the (expected) overlapping times of when each variety is in the greenhouse, when it’s in the field, and when it’s being harvested and then has a place to mark what actually occurred
    -a harvest data sheet
    -a planing reference sheet that lists vegetable types with info about spacing, germination length, weeks before transplant, average yield, etc. that I can refer to when needed.

    This way, when I want to know, for example, how my various varieties of peppers did (when I seeded them, how long they took to grow, how much they yielded, etc.), I don’t have to go back through the journal and collate the data. I can just look at the section of my binder that has that information. But, if I want more detail or want to review the quirks of planting a particular thing (say, we got a pounding rain that day and I think it might have adversely affected the freshly planted seeds) then I can go back to the journal.

    At the end of the season or year I can then make a summary of all this data and use it to inform my plan for the next year.

    Reply to annie's comment

  12. mary on January 15, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    How do I organize my seeds? Organize- what is Organize?

    My seeds are in ziploc bags- jars, bags, Last year I told myself I needed to do something to organize them but was clueless as to how to start. I am glad you shared your system with us as it is a great one to start with – I was confused as to organizing by date to plant, flowers, herbs, veggies (i had veggies in one bag, flowers in another, then they would get mixed up when I started looking at the dates to plant—oh dear.
    Well thanks for the inspiration- will try this for sure!

    bee blessed

    Reply to mary's comment

  13. MAYBELLINE on January 15, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    You inspired me last year to do something similar but not as pretty. It sure makes things simpler and more economical to have seeds organized.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  14. Kaytee on January 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks for posting this. My seed packets were just thrown into a grocery bag. This morning I rubber banded like types together (so it was easier to find all the tomatoes!) before putting them away. I’m going to find a good container and work on a system like yours.

    Reply to Kaytee's comment

  15. Jack Geiger on January 17, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Could you please post what seeds you buy this year? How much do you usually spend on buying seeds every year?

    Reply to Jack Geiger's comment

    • Susy on January 17, 2011 at 11:12 am

      Yes, I haven’t finished all of my orders yet, I’ll be sure to talk about them when I finalize everything.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  16. Jaye Whitney on January 17, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    I have found a garden journal valuable in the gardening process. I began one only three years ago and it evolves every year to a larger and larger book(let).

    Also, I staple the empty seed packet if I have one on one side then record all of the important information (mentioned in above posts) on the other side.

    Plus it’s SO nice as a reference for all kinds of information, basically a diary of planting.

    I’m sure there’s lots of ways to do this, definitely try it!

    Reply to Jaye Whitney's comment

  17. Marne on March 14, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I found you from pinterest, thanks for the great idea!

    Reply to Marne's comment

  18. Gregory on July 3, 2013 at 11:53 am

    What a lovely idea! My seeds were stored in a little basket which worked when they were in packets, but as I’ve been saving them for several years I’ve tried various solutions, including folding paper into packets myself and using thread boxes from when my wife worked at a yarn shop. This year is the year I want to find a system I can stick to, this is definitely inspiration!

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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