To test the seed, I sprinkle some out on a damp paper towel. Then I count them and write this number, the variety name, and the year of the seed packet on the front of a plastic ziplock ("26 seeds Ruby Red Chard 2013" for example). Don't forget to record the day you start the test, so you know how long it took the chard to sprout, if it ever does! Then, I roll up the paper towel like a taquito and pop it in the ziploc. Check daily for sprouting (even for stuff that normally takes a week to sprout, because you need to let some oxygen into the bag).
|Put the seed somewhere warm.|
At Garden Dreams, we store our seeds in airtight Cambro food storage containers from the restaurant supply store. In with the seed packets we pop a packet of desiccant (those little white silica gel packets that come in new show boxes and are labeled "DO NOT EAT") to keep out moisture and keep the Cambro containers in a spare fridge. I pull the seed out of the fridge once a week, let it come to room temperature for an hour before opening, seed my flats, and then put the containers back in the fridge. The rest of the year, they just stay in the fridge.
At home, I don't use the fridge (except for wildflower or paw paw seeds which need a period of cold). I just use a cool room and old tins for seed packet storage.