Crafts · Gardening · Preserving

Urban Homesteading: Seed Vaults

Seed Vaults….sounds big and fancy right? But you can have your own, on hand, without a lot of money spent, nor space needed. After all, you’re preserving seeds for your own use, not for a world. Which might have some asking why do I need one? Consider it insurance. That if something occurred, you could be guaranteed to have a garden come spring. You’d at least have something to eat, to barter.

Which brings me to my first point: know how to garden. A seed vault will do you little if you don’t know how to garden. I have a guilty pleasure of watching stupid shows on the rare occasion, and one is Preppers. How many of these people talk about their seed vaults, yet have never worked a strip of dirt? A garden doesn’t magically happen, especially if you are doing it the old-fashioned way with shovels and hoes. And you are breaking ground in January! The time to learn now, even if your strip of dirt is pots on a deck….not if your life depended on it.


Think about how crazy you go every winter, buying so many packets of seeds. Seeds are affordable, and at $1 to 4 a packet, you get so many! The key here is to think about what you really like, not just all the “OMG I HAVE TO HAVE THIS!!”. Think about what grows well in your area, is non-hybrid, if you plan on saving seeds every year (Hybrid seeds are fine to use, you just cannot save seeds from the plants). And plants you actually like to eat. Let me stress that one over and over. If you hate kale, having 6 varieties in your vault is pointless.

You want quick vegetables, and also full season ones. You also want flowers (you need pollinators!). You want to have greens, root vegetables, top growers like summer squashes, tomatoes and corn, late season and good keepers like winter squash. In the lower left corner, you might see a plastic tub of sunflower seeds. I grew those and preserved the seeds. They grew fantastically this year from those, and I will repeat the process once again this fall.


This first year of my vault, I went through my left over seeds, and added in ones I didn’t use. While seeds are stamped every year for production, if stored well, many seeds will last for years (think up to 10 years or more) and still be fine to use. You want to keep your seeds tightly sealed in a glass jar, airtight, in a dark and cool area. For best results, change out your seeds every year. Once you get good at it, and are saving seeds from your garden, you can preserve your own, note what they are/growth time, and store those. You will know these seeds will grow well in your area!

Ideas for seeds?

  • Lettuces
  • Kales
  • Swiss Chard
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Turnips (if you like)
  • Parsnips (if you like)
  • Corn
  • Popping Corn (it stores a very, very long time)
  • Pole Beans
  • Bush Beans
  • Zucchini and Summer Squashes
  • Winter Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Quinoa (long-lasting in storage)
  • Herb seeds
  • Marigolds
  • Nasturtiums
  • Pansies
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Brocoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Peppers, hot and sweet
  • Sunflowers

And whatever else you like!

If you’d like to get into saving your own seeds, or need to repackage seeds, I have a simple seed packet template you can print and assemble. Great craft project for the kids too….let them do the assembly, and decorate them! You might get 15 minutes of peace and quiet 😉


Cut out:

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The fold in and glue in place, let dry.

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The final flap you can glue or tape in place, once seeds are added:

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