AS A MATTER OF FACT I DO NOT HAVE MY SHIT TOGETHER. OR MY SEEDS.

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I think maybe the greatest misconception among my readers is that I have my shit together. I do not.  My house is usually a mess, I own 17 pairs of safety glasses but can never find any of them,  and I recently turned down a date with a guy because his couch was ugly.  There was a picture of it on Facebook. He just wasn’t right for me, it never would have worked.  I just don’t see myself with someone who owns a velour puffy couch.

Also,  I often knowingly wear a shirt with a coffee stain on it, only to exclaim Oh! Look at that! I must have *just* done that!  when someone pointed it out to me later in the day.  I even pretend to try and blot it.

My shit is not together. My shit is all over the place.  Oh!   You too?  Yeah. None of us have our shit together, no matter what Instagram leads you to believe, so don’t worry about it.

seed-storage-idea

My vegetable seeds for instance.  They were quite literally all over the place.  Some packets were in boxes, some were in bags, and some were in my secret hiding spot which is also apparently a secret from me.

Then out of the blue, like a strike of lightening, or more appropriately a strike of Luffah, I had it all figured out.  I needed to get my seeds out of their packets where I couldn’t see them and into glass vials.  Those vials would get put onto a small shelf I would built, organized according to vegetable type.

That was a stupid plan so I didn’t do it.

It was stupid because glass vials are see through (which I wanted) but seeds will last longer if they’re stored in the dark.

Plan B.  Don’t put the seeds on a shelf, put them in boxes, which will not only keep the seeds in the dark, but they portable for carrying back and forth to my 2 garden plots.

 

seeds-go-here

I found my little boxes at Dollarama in Canada, but most craft stores or dollar stores have these kind of boxes.  THEY ALREADY CAME WITH THE CHALKBOARD ON TOP.   I must have done something right in a previous life.

IF YOU ARE A SANE PERSON (who possibly owns a puffy velour couch) WITH LITTLE REGARD FOR AESTHETICS AND VERY FEW OBSESSIVE/COMPULSIVE TENDENCIES THIS IS ALL YOU NEED TO DO.  PUT YOUR SEEDS IN VIALS, LABEL THEM, THEN PUT THOSE VIALS IN A BOX. EVEN A SHOE BOX WILL DO.

Look who’s still here!  Good for you.  Some of my best friends are mental.

Me?  I wanted these seed storage kits to make me smile every time I looked at them. Which I couldn’t do unless I tinkered with them a bit.

ox-heart-seeds

The first thing I did was add labels to all the vials, and used a different colour of magic marker for every seed type.  Red for tomato varieties, purple for radishes, green for greens and so on.  That way if I had a bunch of vials on the table I could quickly grab all the red ones without even having to look at the words on the labels and throw them in their “tomato” box.

 

luffah-seeds

 

These vials also came from Dollarama where they sell for $1.25 for 3.  You can buy almost the exact same ones on Amazon but they’re $4 for 3.  So unless you only need a few, try to find them at a local craft store.

 

glass-gem-corn

I mean, come on.  Look at those little seeds.

The boxes were fine.  They weren’t perfect but they were fine.  I wasn’t in love with the brown elastic band/wood knob closing system.  They just, … they looked a bit too much like faces.

 

face

 

So I spent 14 hours on the Internet figuring out what the name of this type of flippy latch is so I could do an online search for those at my local hardware store.

If you ever want them, they’re called draw latches.  Or draw catches.  Not flippy latches.

draw-latch

You can get a set of 4 in chrome for $6.99 on Amazon.  Or a set of 2 in brass (like mine) for $11.

The other issue I had with using the boxes exactly as they were, was that my glass vials were a bit too tall for the lids to close.  If I laid the bottles down the lid would close, but I could fit WAY more into the box if I stood the bottles up.

So I bought a few extra boxes, took them apart and made one box out of two of the deeper box bottoms.  This gave me enough room to stand my bottles upright.

box-alterations

 

I didn’t double the size of all the boxes, just a few for the seeds I knew I had a ton of and needed to be able to fit a lot of vials in the box. Like tomatoes.  And salad greens.

seed-boxes-stacked

All the other boxes just got new clasps, I filled in the holes where the elastic band originally was and in some of them I added a little sort of shelf so the bottles could lay back a bit.

 

radish-seeds

That’s another place those extra boxes I bought came in handy. I took them apart and used parts of them for things like that little shelf.

I also glued some of them to the parts of the boxes the draw latch screwed into to allow more material for the screws to dig into.

No same person would do all this by the way.  Nor would they turn down someone of considerable wealth and kindness because their couch was ugly.  But there you have it.

box-alterations-2

Like I pointed out, I did something right in a previous life, because the boxes came with a piece of chalkboard on the lid.

Then I must have done something seriously wrong in a previous life because 2 days later I went back to this same Dollar Store and they had slightly larger boxes with … you guessed it … flippy latches.

chalk

But I can’t dwell on that sort of thing.

Need to know what’s in the box?  NO problem. It’s written on the lid.  Changing what’s inside the box?  NO problem.  Wipe off the lid and relabel it.  (the bigger boxes with the latch that I came across a couple of days later didn’t have the chalkboard on them)

 

silver-chalk-holder

Yeah, I know you’re wondering about this.  My sister gave me this silver chalk holder yearsssss ago.  But you guessed it … they sell them on Amazon for $5.  I love this thing.

 

seeds-in-boxes-2

I also love my seed kids kits.  Probably more than I should.  Like, probably I should save this kind of love for humans.

 

beet-and-greens

seed-organization-2

carrots

seeds-in-glass-jars

 

Part of what makes this system so good for anyone who gardens is the fact that you can look right at the bottle and see how many seeds you have.  And when the jar is empty you know you have to get more.

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Finally. A seed saving system figured out.  It took me years but I got there.

I may have done it with a stain on my shirt … but I got there.

And you will too.

103 Comments

  1. Mia says:

    I just love this idea! I have been scouring the internet to find similar boxes with bottles/vials, but I can’t find them anywhere! I found similar bottles on Amazon, but I can’t find the set, nor the chalkboard-topped box. If there is a source for these, please do let me know; I am in need of some seed organization and this fits the bill so artfully!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mia! I got the boxes at my local Dollar store (Dollarama) I like the chalkboard on top, but really, it isn’t 100% practical, lol. Because if you happen to smear it, the writing is gone. Mine have actually lasted several years without that happening (I have NO idea how) but it’s something to think about. ~ karen!

  2. Dorinda Sweales says:

    Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh ‼️‼️‼️
    How on earth have I only just found this post❓❓❓
    I regularly read your blog but never comment, tbh I just don’t get the time. Life is chaotic and i’m always in a rush – I garden organically and save seeds like I’m never going to see another seed in my life! I have so many and to be frank, they’re a mess, I love diy and anything cute so these bottles are screaming at me. My mission is now to source bottles and boxes so when i’m going through my seeds to sort out what to plant when and mark it on the calendar, I can do this at the same time. I won’t have time to do it as a stand alone project so will combine it with a necessary job 😍

    • Karen says:

      My sister came over the other day to get some seeds for her Aerogarden and I gave her them in the tiny bottle with labels. She loved them. They’re so cute! ~ karen

  3. Kara says:

    This is fabulous! (I guess I’m a little late to the show since everyone else’s comments are from January. 🙂 ) I’m going to blame it on being your newest follower. I’ll be stealing this, too!

  4. Melissa Keyser says:

    These are absolutely gorgeous! If you’re ever looking for a less fancy version of seed storage, I invite you to try out my system. It’s not pretty, but it works great!
    http://sweetbeegarden.com/organize-seeds/

  5. I knew there was a reason your table in the previous post made me happy or feel like it was saying “come sit and be happy” ……it was all those little bottles getting ready to be made into seed keepers with cool boxes with flippy latches….. I LOVE IT! My son in law is into all his seeds for planting his garden this year and wanted a box for all his seeds to be in, so my husband made him a seed box…but it was nowhere nearly as cool as this! Way to go Karen. AND I’m glad you don’t have your shit together! ….tis the reason I love ya! Even my husband laughed out loud when I read him what you said about the puffy velour couch! LOLOL

  6. Darla says:

    Love Love Love….I am wondering if Hobby Lobby here in the states might have something similar. Our dollar stores just aren’t up to your standards.!

  7. Mindy says:

    My seed storage system is a nightmare. I don’t know that I’ll be as elaborate, but I do love the glass vial idea. And I already have a perfect, very large, tin box. Now to hit up the Dollar Store to hunt for tiny bottles…..

  8. Heather says:

    Very cute but seeds should be stored in the fridge to maintain viability and I just don’t have the room for a system that large.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Heather! That’s a little bit of a myth. I know several seed sellers and CSA farmers and none of them keep their seeds in the fridge. If you’re using up your seeds every few years there’s no need to keep them anywhere but in their original seed packet. So unless you’re saving seeds for the next generation … you’re good. ~ karen!

      • Heather says:

        Hi Karen, I guess I have a lot of seeds.
        Often seed packs have hundreds of seeds and if you only grow out a dozen a year then it’s a good option to store them in the fridge or freezer.
        Of course some of us get pulled in with all the lovely descriptions and photos and end up with more seeds than we can deal with in a few years.

  9. Miriam says:

    Aw Karen, all that Amazon stuff for like $1 is making me want to live over that side of the Atlantic. Delivery charges to Ireland are crippling!

    Your seed boxes remind me of my Essential Oil boxes, and I too love the neatly arranged rows of bottles 🙂

  10. Becky says:

    If you save your own seed, make sure they are bone dry before putting them in your jars or they will mold.

    Ask me how I know this.

  11. Amber says:

    Im a novice in the garden. How do you keep the planting information (typically found on the seed packets) organized?

    Is there an app or garden planning site you use so you don’t have to rely on little paper packets to tell you what to plant when? It gets overwhelming trying to figure out what planning tools to even use.

    Or perhaps I’ll just admire your creativity & try gardening in another decade or two. *says the girl who failed at growing tomatoes. Harvested 3 total from 12 plants. Yellow flowers but no fruits from my labor. Then a freak hail storm wiped everything out. Perhaps it was divine inspiration….

  12. Julie A Jones says:

    I just love when one of your emails shows up in my “in” box. I know I’m in for a lot of good laughs and reading info from someone who doesn’t care what others think of her-you’re saying what’s on your mind.
    Thank you for the laugh today!
    .

  13. Kristina says:

    Your shit is so together. My dad used to keep one of those chalk holders in his pocket when he worked in our farm shop – to write on steel or make diagrams on the floor. Floods of memories coming back to me right now (thanks). I’ll have to ask if he still has that doohicky (no joke, he has a drawer where he keeps all the old camera lenses, transistors and slide rules, why not chalk holders?). Otherwise, I am totally getting me one of those off amazon.

  14. Heather Sykora says:

    Great idea!! Really love it! It looks gorgeous!! Also— Chalkholders are a thing???? I never knew! My husband built a lovely wood cabinet with a chalkboard on the front. I use it every day to communicate with the kids/ remind people of things, but the chalk pencils keep getting dropped and the chalk inside breaks…… you just solved my problem!!!!!? Thanks!!!!!

  15. Zoe says:

    Does the cork trap moisture inside? How do you keep track of the attributes of the different varieties?
    Having not looked at a seed packet in 6 months, I already can’t remember the difference between a bull’s blood beet and detroit red. Or how much longer it takes for a chiogga beet to mature.

    • Karen says:

      I have all that stuff memorized I guess Zoe. And you can’t really go by how long a packet says the beet (or anything else) will mature in anyway. It’s a very, very loose guideline, all dependant on weather. 🙂 I don’t need reminders for any of that stuff. Flowers on the other hand, I’ve saved in their packets so I can get a good look at them because I don’t have all those different mum-type varieties and colours memorized. ~ karen!

  16. Linda says:

    very nice work!

    Thought I would share my idea – takes up a lot less space and has proven very easy to use. Also a lot less work. Lee Valley Tools sells screw together stacking jars in various sizes. Transparent polystyrene jars. I either cut out the label name from package or print seed variety on the computer on plain paper. I cut out to fit the jars. Pop the labels inside the jars (they don’t need to be secured by tape or glue), fill with your seeds and screw the jars together.

    here is link to the item on their website:
    http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=64690&cat=1,43325,43326,64690

  17. Ruth Vallejos says:

    I lost interest in a guy when he said he “loved” T-1-11 siding (the plywood with grooves). That, sir, is not siding. That, sir, should only be used for … no, just don’t.

  18. Cred says:

    I really love this! (And sanity, and spotless tops, are overrated)
    My seeds are already all together (my shit isn’t, however) but they remain in their original packets and just all stored in a green IKEA Kassett office box (which I’m in the process of painting out black- mental, yes but they will all look much cuter in black neatly arranged in my craft closet)
    My seeds are crying out to be organized in pretty little glass vials and stored safely from the light in hinged wooden boxes. Dollarama, here I come.

    Btw- a good trick for fine writing with chalk, is to sharpen the tip to a fine point with a large pencil sharpener. I started doing this when I had a chalkboard wall in my kitchen- very helpful

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