seeds and ziplock baggies

greenthumbs2000May 3, 2007

I have never posted on the seed board before. i did a search and could not find any discussion on this topic.

the question has come up in another of my garden groups, should you store seeds in plastic baggies? apparently one of the members read an ebay sellers page that claimed plastic baggies kill/sterilize the seeds so they will not germinate. something along the lines of 'commercial seed NEVER comes in a baggie now, does it?' he also claimed to be a master gardener and therefore was speaking with authority.

I personally am a seed snatcher, i never leave home without a few baggies tucked in a pocket somewhere and i have never noticed any problems with germination.

i mentioned to my friend that i would ask the experts at the gardenweb, they would surely know!

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Nurmey(5 Omaha, NE)

Your friend apparently does not buy from the same commercial seed companies that I do but they do use zip lock bags for seeds. I'm also a seed snatcher and have stored many seeds in plastic bags that grew up to be very nice plants. You want to make sure that the seed are good and dry but after that they are good to go.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 1:20AM
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ara133(central PA)

I've had good luck saving seeds for sev. yrs. in ziplocks; I sometimes put silicone packets (from shoes, pocketbooks, etc!) in the baggie, but not always. Some people do say paper is the way to go, but personally I've found that very dry seeds (as nurmey mentioned) store really well in ziplocks.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 7:14PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

I'll add my voice to those above. Zip lock bags do not kill seed. This is a very persistent rumor, caused in most cases by improper drying & storage techniques. Many seed companies mail seed in air-tight foil or plastic; and I have successfully stored a broad selection of seed in zip locks for many years, with great germination rates.

If seed is dried properly - the big "if" - sealing in airtight containers is not harmful. The problem is that for most home seed savers, proper drying is hit-or-miss. There are several methods that can work; I use a natural method, which I posted in this forum under the "Where do you dry your seeds" thread. Others use a dehydrator, or desiccant, to dry seeds down to the proper moisture level. Any of these methods might work, but the environmental conditions in your area could influence your choices. What works for me in the North may not work in the hot & humid South.

Once the seed is properly dried, it still must be properly stored to remain viable. If zip lock bags have one drawback, it is that they act as mini greenhouses, retaining heat & moisture... so if exposed to strong light (including infra-red), the temperature inside can rise rapidly. For example, if the bag of seed were placed in the sun during planting, this could very quickly weaken or destroy the remaining seed. And for some seeds, any light penetration can increase seed metabolism, which causes the seed to use up its energy stores, reducing storage life. Zip lock bags should be stored in the dark, and seed to be planted in the current year should be transfered to other envelopes.

And of course, seeds should be stored in cool temperatures wherever possible. Each degree of temperature reduction increases seed longevity. At the very least, seeds should be stored in an area where the temperature is fairly constant.

Given the proper drying & storage mentioned above, zip locks are a safe, economical way to store seeds.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2007 at 5:31PM
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I have used zip lock baggies to store seed but I always put a piece of paper towel or plain paper in the bag with the seed, it won't have moisture build up this way. Store them in a cool dry place.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 8:06PM
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