should I freeze pea/bean seed?

cousinfloydJanuary 15, 2014

I've read several suggestions that on a home scale, keeping things simple, it's better not to freeze pea/bean seed, but how else do I kill the eggs of insects that might damage the seed if I don't freeze it? I've had seed get buggy before leaving it out in the (un-air-conditioned) house. Garden pea seed is especially challenging in my relatively long season, humid climate, because I harvest it June, when there's still lots of heat and humidity ahead. I'm concerned about damaging the seed by freezing it with too high moisture, but I'm afraid I'll over-dry it if I try to use desiccant packs/silica gel and hurt the germ that way instead. What do you all do for pea/bean storage? I'm especially interested in what those of you do that harvest seed with long, humid summers still ahead.

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dlsm(Z9b Titusville Fl)

cousinfloyd, during the summer months I put the seed under the air conditioner and it will take all the moisture out in a few days. Then I freeze all my seed until they are needed. They will keep for years in the freezer. I have been doing this for years with good results. Some folks just put their seed in a refrigerator. It depends on your space.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 10:39AM
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Thanks, Luther. I don't have/use an air conditioner, and I have limited fridge space -- freezer space is less limited for me -- but I could make some space in the fridge if there isn't another good option for me. At some point the seed is going to come out of the fridge, though, and if it hasn't ever been frozen, will insects not get started at that point? Or will they get started in the fridge even?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 10:55AM
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dlsm(Z9b Titusville Fl)

cousinfloyd, the refrigerator will also take the moisture out of the seed. Put the seed in the freezer long enough to kill any insect eggs and then store most anywhere if you are going to use them the following season.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 11:28AM
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Luther, thanks for helping me think this through and understand things better. What about over-drying, though? My understanding from what I've read is that if pea/bean seeds get too dry they go into a kind of irreversible dormancy or in any case won't germinate any more. Is there not a danger of over-drying pea/bean seed by letting it dry out in the fridge? I generally put dehydrated silica gel packs in sealed containers with my seed to try to make sure me seeds are plenty dry that way, but I've always avoided doing so with pea/bean seed because of what I read about the risk of over-drying peas/beans.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 1:04PM
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dlsm(Z9b Titusville Fl)

cousinfloyd, if you are going to leave them in a refrigerator over an extended period of time I would vacuum pack them. If you are going to use them the following season put them in a sealed container.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 2:24PM
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I recently asked Bill Best's colleague Frank Bennett about long term storage of bean seeds in a freezer. He said that they triple bag them in 4 mil plastic bags. Then they let them come to room temperature before opening the bags. - Dick

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 10:17AM
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