best way to store seeds

ezzirah011(7a)May 1, 2010

I am developing quite a stash of seeds, it seems whenever I pass a seed rack in the store I cannot help but purchase a pack or two. I think when you buy seeds in some way you are buying hope. I have to figure out the best way to store them. Some say the freezer, some say the fridge. I know a good deal of mine will be used up for the fall garden, and the winter garden, but there is some that will be left for the spring. I have not figured out yet what can grow under low tunnels, so I don't know what all I will store, but I know I will have to store some.

How do you store seeds?

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Depends on the seed species. I store seed all the time, and usually just use cool, low-humidity area such as bottom drawer of refrigerator in an air-tight baggie with *very* little moisture within. I have never had any seed go 'bad', fwiw. The idea is to keep moisture low enough to not rot, but not dry out totally either. Keeping temp below 50(ish) prevents germination (of most species anyways). Some seed will germinate at low temps anyways (like maples/hardwoods, etc) but generally not veggie stuff).

If baggies are used and moisture shows on inner surfaces when chilled, its too wet. A drop or two of water is usually enough for a typical amount of seed (small handful, per se)... It takes a bit of experience to get the knack of it, but it is not rocket science by any means :-)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 7:59AM
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If you're going to use them within a year, then you can keep them in a cool (cool room) temperature, away from direct sunlight and humidity. If you're going to keep them longer, then the fridge or freezer is good, as it slows down their natural decay, extending their shelf life. But to store them this way, they should be packed, dry, into an air tight container, sealed and then stashed. I prefer the freezer over the fridge, just because it makes them last longest, and because we have more freezer space. I've grown out squash seed, stored for 25 years in the freezer, and it germinated as if it had been harvested the previous season.

But beware! When accessing seed in cold or cool storage, one MUST let the entire container warm, completely, to room temperature before opening it. Otherwise there will be condensation on the seed, which can destroy its viability. Leave said seed container out, at room temperature, for four hours before opening it. I once "snuck" a couple of bean seeds out of a cold jar, sealing it immediately and then stashing it at room temperature. The following spring, not a single one was viable, they had all molded.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 8:03AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


You can store them in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge, but let them thaw out for several hours before you open up the airtight container after you remove it from the freezer. This will reduce the chance of condensation harming the seeds.

You can store them in a container like a plastic storage container, box, etc. in a cool, dry location indoors where they will not be exposed to excessive fluctuations in temperature or humidity. So, inside a house is preferable to the interior of a garage or shed or barn.

I leave my seeds inside their original packets, put each packet into a zip lock bag, and store all of the seeds of each type of vegetable in a gallon-size zip-lock bag inside a large (32-quart I think) Rubbermaid storage container. All the small zip-lock bags of herbs are in a separate one-gallon ziplock bag and all the small zip-lock bags of flower seeds are in a couple of one-gallon zip-lock bages. All the zip-lock bags of seeds are then stored in a Rubbermaid-type storage box year-round. That box stays insided the house during the gardening season as I am in and out of it quite a bit as I do succession planting. In the gardening off-season, roughly from October through January, I put the storage box in the tornado shelter, which doubles a a root cellar for us.

If you save your own seeds, be sure they have dried down to the proper moisture level before storing them or they'll lose their viability.

I'd store my seeds in a fridge or freezer if it were a viable option for me. However, due to the large amounts of seeds I have....and the fact that the summer harvest fills up all our refrigerators and freezers, I don't have the space in a refrigerator or freezer for seeds.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 8:06AM
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