Seed storage

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Sherry Robitson, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. Sherry Robitson

    Sherry Robitson Texas Bluebonnets Premium Member GOLD

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    I have heard conflicting methods for seed storage. Some say freeze and some say refrigerate.
    Any opinions?
     
  2. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    When people refer to freeze, they mean snap deep freeze which is something not available to the average gardener!
    Freezing seed in the household freezer does the same damage as freezing a lettuce.
    However refrigerating seed can expose it to moisture which will kill it in the end anyway.
    If the seed has been properly dried & bagged on a very dry day, then sealed in an airtight darkened plastic container, it should hold in the fridge at the back of the bottom shelf so the temperature remains as close to constant as possible.
    Most seed will hold for one year at cool, constant ambient temperature if properly dried in the first place. Then sealed in an airtight container & stored in a darkened cupboard that has low steady temperature.
    Some seed will only last a few months at best so has to be replanted regularly.
    All seed that you want to hold long term should be refreshed annually by planting just a few & saving the best fruit for new seed.
    Be sure to cause cross pollination of the best specimens so the natural vigour of the plant is maintained.
    Seed saving is not simply a matter of sticking some seeds in a plastic bag & storing somehow for long periods.
    The standard method is to plant 50 of each type & tag the best fruit that represents the vigour & desirable traits of the species to grow out for seed.
    Even then, it can go wrong as I discovered this year. I sowed capsicum that I saved last year but the fruit were not sweet in the least. Rather they were like large capsicum shaped chilies! I obviously & inadvertently saved seed with an undesirable trait, unless I wanted chilies... which I didn't. It means for next season I have to buy seed again from Diggers or Green Harvest.

    A different situation occurs when some seed needs to be chilled before planting to ensure a good germination, flowering & fruiting. Bulbs are routinely chilled at just above freezing for 6wks prior to planting.
     
  3. eggcentric

    eggcentric Active Member Premium Member

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    I refrigerate any leftover seeds in store-bought packages in airtight containers in the fridge, and have had some germinate even after spending more than a year in there. I think it depends on the "freshness" of the seeds when they were packaged / how long they have been sitting on the store shelf prior to purchase, as well as what kind of plants they are.
     
  4. Sherry Robitson

    Sherry Robitson Texas Bluebonnets Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks for the good info!
     
  5. Sherry Robitson

    Sherry Robitson Texas Bluebonnets Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks
     
  6. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    My local volunteer organic seed savers group only save seed that requires no extra care other than storage in paper envelopes & storing at ambient temperature.
    They say anything that requires more treatment is out of their realm & will cost them money to store & possibly loose a fair amount of the donated seed.
    There are groups in most locales across this country & most adhere to the same process & principles.
    They try to keep the seed fresh by not holding seed for sale for more than a few months. It is disposed of if not sold soon enough as it fades very quickly.
    All other seed is handled by the big seed savers companies who have networks & proper storage facilities. That's why buying seed commercially (even if organic, etc) costs far more.
     
  7. letsgo

    letsgo Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I just keep mine sealed up in their existing pkt and keep them in an airtight container in a dark area which is usually a cupboard that isn’t too hot. I don’t have room to keep a whole heap of seeds in my fridge. Rather keep the produce I grow from my seeds in there :)

    I think if things are too much hassle you won’t do them anyway.
     
  8. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Ah, yes letsgo, that's the best thing to do with opened packs of purchased seed, for sure. Its all I do.
     
  9. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I keep ours in a filing cabinet in the study where the temp remains pretty constant and cool. I just tried using up some old-ish corn seed and failed big time so yes refreshing the seed as regularly as possible is a good idea.

     
  10. DarrenP

    DarrenP Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Some seeds will last longer than others, but nearly all seeds should last at least a couple of years if stored correctly.
    I tried to store seeds in an airtight jar in the fridge, each type of seed stored in an envelope and a couple of silica gel packs for moisture absorption. They stored well, but I hadn't allowed for the seeds going into a kind of "hibernation". Apparently you need to let the seeds "come back to life" before using them.
    Now I store all my seeds in envelopes in airtight jars, and store them in a cupboard in the laundry.
     
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