Thinning out the seed stores

Like many gardeners, I buy a lot of seeds -- especially in the mid-to-late winter months, when seed catalogs hint at the excitement that next season's plants will bring. The problem is, I rarely use more than a few seeds from any packet each season -- maybe half a packet in a crazy year.

So I end up with a lot of old seeds packets, partially full, sometimes 8 years old (or more). I decided to clear out my seed stores this weekend, or at least make a start on it. First step: the flowering plants.


I gathered up not only the packets but the little plastic bags and medicine bottles that I have been using over the past decade (or more) to collect seeds from almost anything that produced seed in my garden.

Some of the more amusing ones, collected when these plants were new to my yard were: Echinops bannaticus (blue globe thistle) -- which reseeds so readily I have a much too big patch of it now; and Rudbeckia triloba (brown-eyed susan) -- which grows in so many different places in my garden only the deer keep it from taking over. Why did I ever think that I needed to collect seeds from them?

So I emptied all of the baggies and bottles into a bucket...

...that's a mix of rudbeckia and liatris and gailardia mainly since I had quite a lot of those seeds, but then a mix of other things too that I collected including prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) and many others not pictured here:

(At least I put tags into the bags!)

Next up, the seed packets:

More rudbeckia -- the "red" kind though -- and coreopsis, plus chicory (which the deer love), and swamp milkweed and bluebonnets...

...and cornflowers, zinnia, poppies, and more...

Notice that adding a handful of coreopsis seed (or whatever)...

...makes no difference at all to the bucket contents:

Lots of good stuff in there though!

Into the prairie beds it went:

Just sprinkled liberally all around. I'll let the weather and foraging animals (birds mainly) move them around enough to get them into contact with the ground. This is not something I want to put much effort into.

I don't expect very many of them to grow, but you never know. It's better than just dumping them into the compost pile, right?

I've got more boxes of seeds to go through -- I think this was about 25% of my library. Are you a seed hoarder too?

BTW one of the photos shows a packet of seeds from Walmart. I haven't bought seed there since I first started gardening... yep, the packet was dated for 2004.


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outlawgardener  – (December 7, 2015 at 9:32 AM)  

I admire your organization with the labeling and all. I have a few random seed packets some half-empty, some still full all over the place. They all used to be kept in a nice little decorative metal box which is somewhere. Always a fun surprise to find a packet in a drawer and think that this year they should go in the ground.

Lisa  – (December 8, 2015 at 5:35 AM)  

I AM a seed hoarder, but an organized one. The winter months are spent inventorying seeds, dreaming if spring planting, and planning what else to hoard! My Rare Seed catalog just came in the mail - it's like when I was a child and the Sears toy catalog arrived!

Charlie@Seattle Trekker  – (December 9, 2015 at 1:41 PM)  

Too many plants, too many seeds, I have a full blown addiction. I am not allowed to go to a plant sale without an accompanying family member who has sworn an oath to my wife to not bring home anything larger than a toddler and the number of those has a strict limit.

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