8 Tips for Storing Seeds for the Long Term

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Whether or not you currently have a food garden, practical wisdom says you should stash away some heirloom seeds for the long term.  If the time ever came when food was in short supply or overly expensive, your stored seeds could become a lifeline.  Stored seeds could be used in your own garden, in a community garden or even as tender in a barter situation.

This raises the question: what is the best way to store seeds for the long term?  This question is especially timely for me since I have a number of new, unused seed packets that need to be packed away somewhere besides my desk drawer.

8 Tips for Storing Seeds for the Long Term   Backdoor Survival

Today I have gathered a few options for you.  In addition, I am giving you the option to create your own heirloom seed bank using seeds from the Seed of the Month Club.  Can you sniff a giveaway?

Storing Seeds for the Long Term

During my own research, I learned that storing seeds is not unlike storing food.  The enemies of seeds are similar: heat, light and humidity.  Some sources also indicate that oxygen is a problem with seed storage.

Here are some tips for storing your seeds:

1. Keep seeds at a cool to cold temperature of 40 degrees or less.

2.  Avoid fluctuations in temperature such as a garage or storeroom that is cold in winter but blazing hot in summer.

3.  Avoid light and never store seeds in direct sunlight or a well lit room.

4.  Keep your seeds in a moisture proof containers.  A Mylar bag or mason jar is perfect as is a food saver bag. Even a standard Ziploc bag will work if you take care to squeeze out all of the air first.

5. Storing your seeds with a desiccant (silica gel) or oxygen absorber may prolong their life.

6.  As with your food stores, rotate seeds every few years.  This is not 100% necessary but if you are gardening anyway, why not rotate?

7.  When you are ready to use your seeds, keep them in their closed storage container until the seeds come to room temperature. This will prevent unwanted condensation from settling on the seed packets.

8.  To store your own saved seeds, spread them out and allow them to air dry.  Once dry, put them in envelopes or even repurposed medicine bottles and label them.  You can then store them in your refrigerator or freezer just like store-bought seeds.

The Germination Test

Something that you may want to do before planting saved seeds is perform a germination test.  This will help you determine how viable they are.  So, for example, if you determine that they are 60% viable, you can start 40% more than you would normally start to come up with the requisite number of plants.

A common method to test the germination rate is to take a paper towel and dampen it nearly to soaking.  Count out 10 seeds, place them on the paper towel, then carefully fold it to fit into a plastic bag.  Place your bundle in a warm spot on your kitchen counter, making sure that the bag remains open slightly to allow a little air to enter it.

Check frequently and when the seeds have sprouted, determine the germination rate. Hint:  8 seeds out of 10 is 80%.

A Word About Seeds

For years, seeds have been scientifically manipulated in such a way that they could not be successfully saved and remain true to form.  This was good for the seed companies but bad for people.

Thankfully, there are a number of sources where you can obtain non-GMO seeds (not genetically modified) and non-hybrid seeds.  These non-GMO, non-hybrid seeds are the ones you are going to want to save for your DIY seed bank.

Create Your Own DIY Seed Bank – Bonus Giveaway

One of the best ways to accumulate seeds for the long term is to purchase a few packets of seeds monthly over time.  You know how I like to do things One Month at a Time, right?

To help you get started, Mike the Gardner is offering a one year membership in the Seed of the Month Club to one Backdoor Survival reader.  If you don’t know how the Seed of the Month Club works, here it is in a nutshell.

Once a month, you are sent packets of seeds.  These seeds are fresh and can be used in your garden now or saved for the long term.

I asked Mike a few questions:

1.  Are the seeds you send out growing-zone specific?  In other words, if someone lives in zone 8, they will be sent seeds will grow in that particular zone?

Yes the seeds are zone specific with an occasional variety thrown in to stretch your gardening knowledge.

2.  I see that the seed packets have a month printed on them.  What does that mean?

The month in the upper right corner is the month the seeds are mailed.  It has nothing to do with planting.

3.  Are seeds available 12 months out of the year?  If so, how does that work for climates that are buried in snow and ice during the winter months?

Yes the seeds are sent all 12 months out of the year.   That does not necessarily mean you can plant them all 12 months.  Simply store your seeds in a cool dry location and they will be good to go when gardening season rolls around.  When you store your seeds properly they can easily last 5 or more years.

4.  Is there anything else you would like to share with Backdoor Survival readers?

All seeds are heirloom varieties and non-GMO.  In addition, we have an FAQ at http://averagepersongardening.com/seedsclub/faq.php which answers the most popular questions that we receive.

The Giveaway

So what do you need to do to win?  All you need to do to enter is answer the following giveaway question:

What is your favorite gardening tip?

As with all giveaways, you will need to enter your response in the comments area at the end of this article. The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Thursday with the winner selected at random and notified by email and also with an announcement in the Sunday Survival Buzz.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond or an alternate will be selected.

Note: If you are reading this article in your email client, you must go to the Backdoor Survival website to enter this giveaway in the comments area at the bottom of the article.

The Final Word

Gardening is a valuable skill that every prepper worth his or her salt should learn. I know that I have had my own challenges in this area but I still try, even though I only do so on a modest basis.

Still, I make it a point to collect seed packets and store them for the long term, properly sealed in my freezer.  You should never know when they may become handy for food-growing or barter purposes.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

Click Here To Vote For Me at Top Prepper Websites! Did you know you can vote daily?

If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ and purchase my book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage from Amazon.

In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin: Today I share some tools and supplies for using a FoodSaver to vacuum can your emergency food. And in case you missed it, read How to Use a FoodSaver for Vacuum Canning.

FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer: As long as the unit has an accessory port (and this one does), and inexpensive FoodSaver will work just as well as the fancier models. That is my two cents, at least.

FoodSaver Wide Mouth Jar Sealer: Already have a FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food.  There is also a version for regular sized jars.

FoodSaver Accessory Hose:  Most FoodSavers come packaged with an accessory hose.  If yours is lost or damaged, be sure to purchase a host to use with your Jar Sealer.

100-Pack Oxygen Absorbers, 100cc:  I always have these available.  At less than 10 cents each, I consider adding a 100 cc oxygen absorber cheap insurance that ensures that my vacuum sealed food will remain nice and fresh – even five years later.

Mylar bags & Oxygen Absorbers: What I love about Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers is they protect against every single one of the food storage enemies. Prices do vary but for the most part, they are inexpensive and easy to keep on hand. And while you can seal them up with a FoodSaver, some tubing and a common clothes iron, I find it infinitely easier with a cheap hair straightening iron that you can pick up $20 or less.

Mylar Zip Seal Food Storage Bags: These are the zip seal bags that I used to package up my spices, herbs and butter powder. These are extra heavy, 5 mil bags. I found that the zip feature made packaging extra easy although I still seal the bags with my hair iron.

Sharpie Permanent Markers: Sharpies were invented for preppers! And without question, Amazon is the cheapest place to buy them. Typically, the price on Amazon is less that $7 for a dozen.

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Comments

8 Tips for Storing Seeds for the Long Term — 93 Comments

  1. My favorite gardening tip? Don’t take gardening advice from me! :) I always describe myself as having a black thumb because I can kill any living plants! I keep trying to garden though, hoping one day, I will have a breakthrough. I suppose my best tip is to make sure to water your garden everyday. I think that’s my downfall! Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. We just planted our second attempt at a garden. Our first attempt, last year, was taken over by grasshoppers. So far, I don’t have any favorite tips, though I would love a tip for how to get rid of grasshoppers!

    • Mix: a tablespoon of Tabasco, 1/3C baby shampoo, 1TBS peppermint oil and 1/2 C tobacco juice (soak cheeing tobacco on water until the water turns dark tea color),in a Gallon of warm water, put it in 1Qt in a 20 gal/min hose end sprayer and spray your plants every week. They may lose interest!

  3. I am new at gardening and the one tip I have been told is to put crushed egg shells in when you plant your tomato plants. I plan on doing that this week when my plants go in.

  4. have your kids learn gardening while young i watched but never did gardening now i wish i had it is harder than it looks

  5. When I got back into gardening about 8 years ago my cousin Jane suggested I keep the daily newspaper to use around the plants. I took her advice and made a 2 layer barrier between the soil and the air. It keeps the weeds at bay long enough for the plants to get established and usually lasts most of the season. It also retains moisture for the plants. The paper rots and when the garden gets its final tilling in the fall the newspaper has disappeared. I was a little skeptical at first when Jane told me how she used the newspapers. But she explained that she had researched the ink that is now used for our local newspaper and found that it is made from a soybean base, and that it is non-toxic to plants and animals. Knowing how particular she is about her garden I had no further qualms about using the newspaper. It works wonderfully and it is a great way to recycle the newspaper. Happy Gardening. :)

  6. I live in Colorado with 6% humidity and intense sunshine. To successfully grow a garden here, you must water, water and water. Much more often than you might think.

  7. My tip is to spend a little time every day in the garden. If you go out there everyday you can stay on top of the weed and bug problems we are forever fighting. Plus it is a nice way to relax and unwind a bit from the daily stresses.

  8. Egg shells around my basil plants keep the slugs away. Also coffee grounds work great for your acid loving flowers like azelias, and literally saved my Avocado tree. I have very alkaline soil so I put coffee grounds and purified water on the avocado tree and voila! It went from dying to looking amazingly healthy.

  9. My tip is to make your own compost to garden organically.
    Do this by collecting weeds from your own unfertilized
    Garden, your own yard and leaves from your own trees.
    Shredded if possible. Put all this material in a compost
    Bin of your own making (many styles and varieties of
    Designs are available on the internet and in the public
    Library). Turn the material over regularly to promote
    Faster composting. Using your own compost will help
    To speed your garden toward becoming totally organic
    Which will be extremely beneficial when and if the SHTF.

    • I have ALWAYS been told to never, never put weeds and diseased leaves in your compost. Most weeds will take over the garden (again) and the diseased leaves will cause your plants to become diseased also.

      • Actually the new consensus is that composting ‘weeds’ is actually very beneficial. If you are composting hot enough, you’ll kill any seeds and disease. And if you cut the weeds before they set seeds, that’s not a problem. Weeds mine valuable minerals from the soil and hold those in their leaves and roots. By composting them, those elements then become available to your garden. Just like nature, everything has a value and purpose in the garden!

  10. Worms are your friends–the more in your garden the merrier. In a protein-hungry pinch, they might even taste good roasted. Sprinkle on some Parmesan & you’ve got instant country Cheese Doodles!

    I might be joking but who knows?

    • O Rev Scott! You’re not joking and yes they do taste good especially when you don’t know it until AFTER you’ve eaten them ;) lol

  11. For gardening where space is limited, make trellises out of conduit and grow pole beans, indeterminate tomatoes, all winter squash varieties, all melon varieties up the trellis. Mine are ten feet tall and I can grow all of the mentioned crops in minimal space. You can grow full size pumpkins this way too. The vines grow thicker to support the weight. In addition to being a space saver, it keeps the fruit or veggies off the ground and it is just plain fun!

  12. I have been gardening for years and years. This year many of my plants are dying after just starting to grow. I don’t know what is wrong, but I am not giving up. I did use some new composted cow manure from Rural King this year. Who knows??? My advice to the beginner, don’t give up. Experienced gardeners have problems from time to time. Don’t let your bad experiences stop you from continuing to try.

  13. Oh boy, Black Thumb; me. Having trouble gardening here in SW. Colorado. So, my only tip is to talk with successful gardeners in your area and do what they do. That’s what I’m doing this year! :0)

  14. Like all living things seeds need oxygen how ever minimally in their dormant state. I store mine with a dusting of Diatomaceous Earth in a dark jar in a cool spot. Rotating them each year is smart if your garden area is big enough. Hard to rotate 1 years worth of food in seed for a large family. Do what you can.

  15. I was unable to garden the last two years, so am anxious to get started this year. I don’t know if I have any tips. I just read up on what I can and in the fall can, can, can. I love it!

  16. When your pepper plants get blossoms on them, you have to “scold” them. That means, grab the plant about 2 inches from the bottom of the stalk and gently shake the plant. This helps to pollinate them. You will have a better yield of peppers. My husband learned that from his grandpa way back in the 60′s.

  17. For those of us who believe we have the Black Thumb, change your mindset! I did, well I’m trying, and we’ve started our first garden. So far, we’re seeing green stuff coming up out of the ground. Like our friends from Colorado, we have hot, arid conditions here in southwestern New Mexico. We’re keeping at it, watching for goatheads to pop up and dealing with them as early as possible. Persistence and vigilance!

  18. My tip is to share the bounty. I can raise potatoes, squash, okra and onions but have trouble with tomatoes. My neighbor raises green beans, bell peppers, hot peppers and tomatoes and we share.

  19. Get a book or look on the internet for info. on companion planting. Some plants like to be next to each other and some don’t.

  20. Already get email from you. My tip? Soak seeds before planting which saves sprouting time in ground. Living in northern Minnesota like I do every little bit helps. Our growing season is so short!

  21. I agree with Sheila – companion planting!
    Bee balm planted with tomatoes really brings in the pollinators and makes a huge difference in your harvest.
    Just do an internet search for companion planting!

  22. dont use man made chemicals only natural… including planting herbs and plants that are natural pest deterrents for different plants/crops

  23. I’m not the gardener in the family, but from watching my husband, I would say you need to research and plan. For example, you need to know what kind of soil you have, do the plants need full or partial sun, do you need to start your seeds inside first and when do you start. And so on. In my opinion, it’s like most things – it’s all about planning and being prepared.

  24. I know live in an apartment and have very little room to garden …sigh. but where there is a will there’s a way. I use my patio cement wall and plays pop all along it and I enjoy growing herbs.My gardening tip is boiling my used egg shells and using the water on my potted herbs.

  25. thick wet newspaper under mulch keeps down weeds and tomatoes and peppers love ground up dry egg shells and epsom salt for fertilizer.

  26. I learned this from a landscaper. When you get a plant and find it’s root bound, before you dig the hole or prepare the next plant container, take it out of it’s current planter, put it in a bucket of water. Don’t cut the roots. So while you’re preparing it’s next home, it’s getting a HUGE drink of water. See, often, when plants get root bound, they can’t drink. As you lift the plant out of its drinking water, the roots will be more relaxed so you can spread them easier w/o cutting so much. Seems to be less shock too.

  27. Seeds are living things. Do not seal them in airtight containers or use oxygen absorbers or vacuum packs. They will suffocate. The tiny embryos carry on aerobic respiration, albeit very slowly, and need a certain level of oxygen.Cool and dry conditions are fine.

  28. I am not yet very good at gardening, so I don’t think I should offer any tips, but I have been told that “feeding” my plants is of the utmost importance. So far, I am only using my homemade compost, but I hope to learn some better items to use.

  29. Diversify to see what works better in your area. We have a traditional garden in the ground. We have some raised beds and we have tried some hydrophonics. This year we added a greenhouse to the mix.

  30. Gardening tip? Well I have 3.
    1. egg shells crushed for calcium
    2.coffee grounds for nitrogen
    3.epson salt for magnesium ( great when planting to ease the shock to the root ball when replanting seedlings).

  31. One of the coolest tips I have found is using a potato box/tower to grow a large amount of potatoes in a small area.

  32. Plan a meal with your garden, like a pizza dinner. Plant bell peppers, onions, tomatoes (some for sauce and some for topping). That way you can use your bounty rather than having an excess of zucchini that you can’t even give away.

  33. You can use raked leaves as mulch as well, holds down those weeds, and if you can’t be bothered composting kitchen vege scraps, dig a trench and bury them directly into the garden. I’ve ended up with a few apple trees though!

  34. Plant tomatoes deep. They will form roots up any part of the stem that is buried, giving you stronger,more drought resistant plants. You can also heel in any suckers pruned off and they will root and give you plants for free.

  35. I recently spoke with a family member who showed me their raised garden. The idea is genius. He scrounged up FREE culver / drainage pipe. These come in various large diameters, starting at 18″ and up to 4′ or greater possibly 96″. If you can contact an excavator in your area, they may give the small left over sections, 4′ long or less to you for free. When a job is done, the small pieces are to long to just toss in the garbage so they are always looking for ways to get rid of them. Here’s an image of the pipe; http://www.morgantrailers.biz/images/418_drainage_pipe_culvert_3_.JPG

    Just cut it to length, flip it up so it’s open end up and fill with soil. You don’t have to fill it all with soil, toss in yard waste, small logs, rocks, then top with good quality soil. It keeps ground pests away, rabbits, ground hogs, ext. They just can’t get in them.

    Best of all this material will not rot or draw insects that will try to eat you container like wood might. These can also be painted if you like.

  36. For those of us who remember the ’50s, raised beds! I re- purposed large old livestock water troughs – brings the gardening chores up to a much better height for my senior knees and back.

  37. You don’t need a lot of space to garden. If you live in an apartment try container gardening. Every little bit makes you that much more self-sufficient.

  38. for survival remember to plant more than you think you will need. and stagger the plantings. 1-for seed, 1-for rot, 1-for those who have not, 1- for the birds that eat on the fly and 1-to fill the pantry for cold winter nights, and if you have enough after that use the rest for barter and trade.

    I have a question, are the seeds from pkg labeled heritage and organic self-propagating?

  39. I have two Jasmine plants flowering near my dwarf fruit trees and all are flowering and that means good future crop. Also I make my own compost and I add egg shells & coffee grounds. So far my garden loves it.

  40. So many little fun things to learn out there, how to pick one?

    Crushed up egg shells mixed in with tomato plants to provide that all important calcium.

    Coffee grounds mixed in with blueberry bushes to give them an acid boost.

  41. My favorite gardening tip is get your neighbor to plant a surplus they will share with you. If you and your neighbor both do this you can trade surpluses for items you might not grow yourself.

  42. My tip is to share with all the younger people you know who are expressing an interest in gardening. Share all your tips, tricks and “secrets”….everything you have learned over your years of trial and error. I myself have 3 generations of gardening tips passed to me thru my ancestors. I love to share info with younger generations who are interested in gardening. So much of what I see in print nowadays isn’t entirely accurate or may not be the best way of doing things for your area or zone.

    • How about putting those into book form and sharing? I so agree with teaching the younger gens too. :) Please consider, it’s some of those ‘older’ ways which may come in more handy if/when a disaster hits.

  43. I’ve been gardening for over 30 years, and finally this year I’m taking advantage of free earthworm castings from a local “earthworm factory-farm”. Check around to see if such a business is located in your area and use this amazing soil amendment.

    • I’m whacking myself on the forehead. Why didn’t I think of that! If you are doing composting via earthworms, isn’t it the same thing?

  44. My favorite gardening tip is to keep weeds in check. Mulch is key. You can use several types of materials as mulch: cardboard, newspaper (be sure to wet it so it doesn’t fly away), straw (make sure it’s weed free straw), etc. When weeds are kept out of the veggie garden you get better produce as the veggie plants aren’t competing for nutrients and water.

  45. My best tip is to never give up! Gardening is best learned by doing, trial and error. It takes a while to learn what grows best for you in your particular micro climate and soil. Some things are out of your control, like weather. Just keep smiling!

  46. Use empty TP rolls for planting seedlings. Cut roll in half, bury it in the prepared soil and plant seedling inside the roll.

  47. Gaye, I hope all goes well for you while in Seattle
    . There are quite a few, nifty garden tips, posted here, especially since many have
    said they have black thumbs. dont under estimate yourselves, maybe a neighbor gardener will except your helping them, in exchange for knowedge, and maybe some fresh produce. then when you get to feeling confident, start your own. make a list of what you want to grow, things you, your family and/or friends would eat. maybe they will get interested in getting involved. Good dirt, compost, organic fertilizer, and. companion planting. now, there are many good books on growing.maintaing a garden, there will be questions/problems you need answers to that you will have to look elsewhere. when I have fo search, I take note and place it where it should be in your most frequently used books our ancestors had to learn
    how to grow almost everything they ate, and most people had to use old, hard labor methods like the idea of using a tomato tower for potatoes as well. Dont know if this can be condered as a tip, but I have an idea
    If possible, for Survivorwoman to create an open book/encyclopedia for everyone to sign in with a password, like a book with seperate folders, and things to keep it organized, or like a discussion forum. it would help all who have questions, if someone has an answer, they could post it, or add some tips, a page for people to share websites with helpful info. would increase traffic as well.

  48. As a first time gardener I would suggest container gardening. As the angle of the sun changes from spring to summer, you can easily change the location of the plants so that they get the right amount of sun and/or shade. Also if severe weather comes (hurricane) you could save your plants by moving them inside. Everyone has posted such great tips. Loved reading them all.

  49. My favorite tip is actually to GET the tips. We have a local coop extension and Master gardeners who set up tables at our library and farmer’s markets. One conversation with them led to tons of information and help that made a huge difference for me (the “girl with two black thumbs”). Local is the way to go – they know the ins and outs of your area’s environment.

  50. Eat the garden vegs/fruit as soon as it is ready. Don’t wait or it will be too old & tough and you have wasted all your time & effort for nothing. In season recipes to get all the goodness of your garden efforts.

  51. I live in north-western Washington state. Land of much rain and millions of slugs. Unfortunately, after several newly-built houses were constructed up the hill from us, our land became a swamp of runoff water. Now, our yard and gardens are flooded about 8 months out of the year. We have had to be creative when it comes to growing our vegetable gardens. We have had good results from container gardening. We put the containers on concrete blocks so the containers are not sitting in water. For the slugs, we have been using copper tape. We wind one strip of tape around the entire circumference of the lower half of the container. This works perfectly to keep slugs off our plants. Next, we grow our garden up. We have been using pallets to make various forms of free standing, several tiered pockets that work great for growing our salad greens. I hope this information has been helpful.

  52. My tip is grow your beans and cucumbers on a fence, less stress on your knees and legs to harvest plus they aren’t all over the ground. Thanks for the tip on being able to grow pumpkins this way. I will give it a try. If nothing else for my chickens.

  53. Collect rain water to water your garden without taking from your well. Second tip is when you plant vine type plants like squash, stick a wire flag or a dowel rod next to the starter roots so you can easily find where you need to water your plant so as not to waste water. And last, when you have water melons, & butternut type squash that continually grow thru the whole season until harvest, place each squash on a plank or similar item to lift it off the soil & help prevent bug infestation & help to ripen them equally.

  54. I’m just getting started in gardening so I don’t really have any tips yet, but I love reading everyone else’s suggestions! :)

  55. The best tip that I ever learned is that a garden is not a farm, and shouldn’t be planted like one. Long rows with lots of space between them is a waste when you are planting and managing it by hand and not with machinery. Plant in a way that is efficient for humans, not machines! Examples: raised beds, wide rows planted broadcast, short rows for succession of harvest, square foot, etc.

  56. Don’t forget to ask all the local farmers/gardeners for tips! In most of the advice/articles you read concerning gardening, the person forgets to mention WHERE they are located. This make a big difference in whether or not you can use or should follow their suggestions.

  57. I’m not an experienced gardener and I am loving all the tips. Since I live in an apartment I am doing herbs indoors in the window sills and a few veggies in containers on the balcony. Next year I can expand what I am doing on the balcony if all goes well this year.

  58. Love reading all the tips. My suggestion is to keep weeds at bay. Either with mulch, paper, etc or weeding. I love to garden and be outside I don’t mind weed pulling therapy from time to time.

  59. I think the most important tip is to keep trying. I’ve gardened a long time now and sometimes things work well…sometimes they don’t. Experimenting with your plants from seed to fruit…and different technologies always keep the interest going..that’s the most important tip. Also remember where you live, the conditions there…try and stay as natural as your current environment.

  60. Don’t just buy your heirloom seeds and wait to plant them when the SHTF. Plant some of them to get some ideas about how viable they are, what output you get, and get some ideas about what you would do better when that time comes.

  61. I am still in a steep learning curve on gardening. I recommend that a beginner keep on trying through failures and experiment with many different kinds of plants. I highly recommend growing strawberries if you like them as I have so far not found anything else so easy to grow and prolific!

  62. I am a brand-new beginner at this whole thing, so I don’t have any tips, other than … just get started even if you don’t know what you are doing, start learning & experimenting. Thank you for the the tips people shared. What a great way to learn.

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