On seed envelopes

img_0066One of my manias is seeds and seed-saving.  Perhaps it’s my Catholic upbringing*, but it bothers me that so many good seeds sit in cupboards and drawers and old shoe boxes and never get planted…much less harvested.  This year I decided to winnow down my own considerable stash by doing a seed trade with a few gardening friends.  I stumbled, however, on packaging the seeds.  If I bought envelopes it kind of defeats one of the purposes (thrift) of seed trading.  Fortunately, I am married to an artist, so I put him on the home-made envelope task.

I asked for small envelopes (seed trades don’t mean “four years’ worth of cucumbers”) and I wanted them to be easily made and resealable.  He came up with envelopes made of 4″ square pieces of regular paper.  Here’s the photo tutorial below. You end up with little 2″ envelopes…perfect for, say, 300 lettuce or 6 pumpkin seeds.

*you know, the profligacy of seed wasting evidenced by Monty Python’s “Every Sperm is Sacred” from The Meaning of Life.  If I truly believed it, I obviously would have more than one child.


4×4 square piece of paper


halvsies then quarters


img_0024tuck one bottom edge into the other

img_0027seeds go into the center here and then the top gets folded over.  Label on the other side and voila…

22 responses to “On seed envelopes

  1. Okay, I’m having a DUH moment here, El. Those are much better than my handmade paper envelopes. So thank you! I have in the past saved the envelopes from mail we receive so that I could cut off the non-torn corners to make seed envelopes. But that still left me with two sides to tape up. This way looks much simpler and better.


  2. first, I love your handwriting!

    second, those are perfect little seed packets. I often recycle my junk mail envelopes for this purpose. Also, for large seed storage, I save coffee bean bags with the fold-over flaps. Perfect for storing dried bean seeds.

    I’m determined to save more seed this year, to plan my garden with more intention, and to ding dangit get that greenhouse built!

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m getting more serious about seed-saving this year and was hoping to avoid buying envelopes! These are wonderful! And thanks for the tutorial…I’m a little challenged that way 🙂

  4. We were just talking about finding envelopes that would be a good size for our seed box. Thank you for the tutorial.

    I’m chomping at the bit for spring.

  5. That is clever all around. Your suggestion and remarkably precise instructions have definitely changed my schedule for today. I had planned to actually clean my totally cluttered house; now I’m going to make envelopes and distribute seeds. Much better plan. Thanks.
    I’m sorry about your chicken. I hope it wasn’t your daughter’s friend.

  6. What a great idea for seed packets and what a great blog you have here. I have been working my way through your posts and especially liked the one with you and your daughter pulling the frozen turnips and carrots out of the ground…loved those pictures.

  7. I had saved coins envelops from the trash in my prior life… but I am running out of them. I like your solution very much: no glue, no tape, just scissors and folding. Perfect!


  8. Another thrifty thing you can do is to save those envelopes that come in all the junk mail. I used to do this, but my OCD got the best of me. So, I came up with a design and I print them out. I put a photo of the crop on the front to remind and I put the year there as well. They look like ones you buy in the store.

    I posted a photo at the end of my blog post today.

  9. Hilarious! I actually just “invented” those myself on Saturday when splitting up the seeds from an order that I’m sharing with a friend. I based it on an old gradeschool folding for notes or some such. Wonder where your husband got the idea? Mine are slightly bigger. I think they end up being made from 5.5×5.5″ squares as I was just using sheets of printer paper leftover from making wedding invitations years ago.

    Now I don’t have to post a tutorial – I’ll just use yours. Brilliant!

  10. {{Whimper}}
    A thing of beauty.

  11. Ohhh, those are so small and cuuute!!

  12. envelopigami!

    I must know: what’s on that bandaid? is it the powerpuff girls? hello kitty?

    Also, *love* the image gallery at Foley. Are there other links online to DH’s work?

  13. Just a general comment–this is a very nice, wholesome, well written, intelligent, creative, and all-around great little blog. I really enjoy it, so THANKS. I’ll be moving to my family’s farm in northern Indiana in a few years at retirement (I’m presently city-bound) and hope to emulate you–similar climate, similar interests. I’ll enjoy your day-to-day until my own day comes. Keep up the very good work and continue to enjoy the richness of the life you’ve created.

  14. Brilliant idea – thankyou!

  15. Cool and timely. I was just trying to figure out how I was going to share some seed. thanx for the tutorial

  16. Perfect idea! And even I think beyond the seed saving/sharing, I’ll use it for *after* I’ve opened the seed packet and planted…. When I open a packet of lettuce, I’m not going to use the whole thing at once! But this is a great way to keep things organized for the successive plantings throughout the spring/summer without the seeds scattering all over the kitchen/garden 😉 (I should add, I ended up with some “surprise” turnip greens that just happened to scatter around the edge of the garden as I was walking away from cleaning after planting them)

  17. Kate, hah! Glad you like them. I hate tape and glue myself so this way was pretty easy to do. Most paper would be fine for it too; we just used the bright-white copy paper we had around.

    Kelly I must mention how wonderful it is to step into one of the greenhouses on one of these sunny but really cold days: they smell terrific and I swear that green funk alone helps keep me sane. But thanks! (We’re supposed to have somewhat clear handwriting so contractors can read our drawings. Cursive writing, though: well, I can read it, not sure about the rest of the world…) I think you will be a lot more organized about green growing things now that you’ll be home more. It’s a great distraction from work.

    Deborah you are welcome. Tom thought I was nuts for taking so many pics of the process. He obviously isn’t visually challenged…

    Mr. H: you are welcome. Glad you like the blog. And yeah I drag the kid out to harvest in all kinds of weather the poor thing. Luckily she still likes to come along.

    Sylvie, glad you can use them! I wouldn’t say these are “forever” envelopes but if I chose to use grocery bags or something like that they certainly would be lots more sturdy. This gets the job done though.

    Laura, hah, great minds. He just picked up a piece of paper and started folding it, frankly. I came up with the final size (2×2) so we doubled it to get the size of the paper. SO yeah you certainly can size the square up to make bigger envelopes. Glad you could use up the extra wedding invite paper!

    Mrs. Chiot: wow, your seed packets are quite lovely! Wow. Mine are kind of homely in comparison. Hmm. Your stuff is giving me ideas though…

    Ms Envelope: you would be in the business to know! 🙂

    CC: Simple, eh?

    Firefly: Hello Kitty of course! What was gross was he was still bleeding from whatever farm accident he had had. You can see more images of Tom’s work at MNArtists.org (he’s still a Minnesotan in good standing because he has a gallery there) and he gets around. He’ll have about 4 pieces in the March issue of Harper’s. And then some folks blog about him; this guy mentioned him yesterday.

    Aw Don thanks!! (blushing) Retiring to a farm? Well that will keep you in shape! N. Indiana has a lot going for it, all kinds of different farming besides just plain old corn. Lots of old-ways Amish too to learn from…

    Em! glad you like them; hope you can use them!

    Susan, you are welcome. 🙂

    MC, seeds do want to sprout, don’t they? It’s not always a bad thing! Hope you can use the envelopes; they’re pretty fun.

  18. Pingback: Pages tagged "seed"

  19. Thank you! That would be fun to do. I usually use those small plastic baggies but it is far less elegant.

  20. Love, love, LOVE the envelopes! Very cool!

  21. Making your own envelopes. What a cute idea.

  22. Wowza! That’s neat! I was just compelled to make one in my office out of a sticky note.

    I’ve been using coin envelopes. You can buy a boxes of 250 to 500 for fairly cheap per envelope. They’re the perfect size and they can be reused.

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