Refrigerating seeds.

rustico_2009August 23, 2012

I have seen articles that cover storing seeds in the fridge or even freezer, but one missing detail bugs me. Can the seeds be removed from the fridge and put back frequently after being out for say a half hour at room temperature or more? Should they be divided and taken out carefully only when ready to be used?

What about having them in the fridge for a while and then going back to box in the closet for and extended time later?

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Why would you, except for lettuce seeds which need a cooling period to germinate?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 5:34PM
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I am just wondering if they would keep better? It's very frequently 90F..or more in the house during the summer, as we only use AC sparingly.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 5:45PM
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i keep my seeds in the frig. i remove them when i need the room for something else. then i put them back. they do fine that way. i think it helps to keep the seeds dry. but i have no proof that there is any benefit. i haven't bought basil seed or arugula seed in many years, just use whats in the frig.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 6:35PM
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I keep all of my seeds in my frig,as soon as I get new ones or save my own they go in,I label and keep in separate plastic containers.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 11:37PM
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Here in the Midwest, it gets hot, especially in a old trailer without AC. I've never put seeds in refrigerators or freezers to keep them. I regularly use seed that is older than 'brand-new'.

It's not so much the heat, but light, that deteriorates the life of the seed. Some seeds just don't have a long life.

What I use is the blue/green Mason jars with lids. I have several of them (80-100), and I don't want to preserve with them. The color of the glass helps with the light. I put them on a book shelf in a room that I don't use alot. It does have a window, so the room is light.

Maybe if I was in AZ/NM, I'd need to frig them, but not here. We are regularly in the 90s each summer for a days, but not year round. I don't let the seeds freeze, unless they need it to germinate.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 9:53AM
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I saved seeds from my cukes this year and want to plant them next spring. After harvesting them cleaning and drying, I waited afew weeks and then tried to sprout some. Nothing happend at all. I now have them stored out in the shed in air tight containers for the last month. The temps outside are 30-50 degrees fer. do you think they'll be ok after they go through this cold spell?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 12:41PM
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shouldn't hurt. Mine freeze without any problems, as long as they are totally dry.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 5:28PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

I have a dedicated refrigerator for seeds only on the basement and it does improve germination on many kinds of seeds and greatly extends life on many others. We're still getting good germination on Rutgers tomato seed purchased in 2004 and I can keep pepper seed five years or longer. That enables me to grow out many heirlooms on a rotation instead of so frequently and keep a better variety of seeds. It seems the less varience in the temps of seeds the better. If you take out only the kind you're planting, in the number you think you need that's best. You can also pull them out to the greenhouse in a cooler for a few hours if you use a cold pack with a towel wrapped around it to soak up moisture. Then I place the seeds in a plastic shoebox. The seeds I've found it doesn't help so far are okra and hibiscus, same family. They only last about a year period. Cucumbers and zukes last 5 yrs.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 6:30PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I keep short lived seeds in the fridge; Onion, carrot, parsnip, leek. The others just stay in a box in a cool, dry place in the house.
The freezer I only use to kill off bugs on freshly harvested seed, mainly aphids on lettuce seed.

On a farm I once worked at I came upon a mason jar in the freezer filled with bean seed that was 15 years old. It germinated excellent and 17 years later I'm still growing the same seed stock (hutterite soup bean).

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:52PM
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I love keeping my seeds in the old blue jars. Don't like to use them for canning, so it gives me a purpose for them.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 6:26PM
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