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Seed Starting/Saving/storage

Posted by brokenbar Z4 N. Wyoming ( on
Sun, Feb 24, 08 at 14:30

have been meaning to post the one topic about seeds saving and have just kept forgetting. Many of you probably know, but for others, I will tell you about my seed saving.
About 8 years ago, I bought about 300.00 worth of rare, heirloom varities of tomatoes and peppers. I have friends all over the globe so they assisted me in finding rare varieties in the country's they live in. I have a vacuum sealer. I stored all the seed in a vacuum sealer bag, in my refrigerator. I also covered the vacuum bag with a paper bag to keep out light. Long story short...I am still using those seeds 8 years later. Every year, including the very first year, I have averaged 90+% germination rates. I have read up on this topic extensively, and it appears that the seeds will just about store forever. I use my vacuum saver for a bajillion things and have found it to be one of the best investments I ever made (I am on about my 4th sealer in 18 years.)I keep mine on the counter and use it at least 2 or 3 times a week (I remember someone had posted a comment wondering if the sealer was worth the investment.)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Seed Starting/Saving/storage

I have some seeds that I failed to protect this winter (Mallow) the seed pots are of course dry but there are still tiny seedlings inside. My ? will they sprout, and if so what is the best way to do this.

thanks I love seeing things multiply in my blank slate of a yard, and it saves $$

RE: Seed Starting/Saving/storage

I just use a paper envelope. Have wondered if those little packs of moisture dry that come in beef jerkey would be of benefit to keep the seeds dry.

I think I will freeze my tomato seeds this year. One list of how long seeds would last gave tomato seeds six years.

RE: Seed Starting/Saving/storage

I don't see why not. They just dried out like they wojuld in the wild. Plant them and see I couldn't hurt.

RE: Seed Starting/Saving/storage

HELLO There brokenbar, I need to know how long the shelf-life of grass seed is ? I bought a 50 pound sack ... 5 or 6 years ago, and never open it to use. It has been stored in my water proof shed outside here in Michigan.
Please Advise, and provide with stastics for shelf life.
Thank - You, Jim.

RE: Seed Starting/Saving/storage nitrojc

If grass seed is stored so that it does not get wet or damp,is not exposed to freezing temperatures to more than a very small degree and is kept in a bag etc that is sealed from other contaminates possibly getting into it as well as insects and rodents then you can expect it to last for at least several seasons without losing significant amounts of germination.You must follow these guidelines though as any variations will change for success rate.Do not keep grass seed in an outside shed etc or unfinshed or damp basement if at all possible as the likelyhood of problems goes up in these environments.

RE: Seed Starting/Saving/storage

Vacuum bag storage would rival the packing of the best major seed companies ...what a great idea!

I have long used the tight-lidded plastic bottles that originally contained pharmaceuticals or vitamins plus refrigerator storage of these vials in a master jar (tightly sealed PETE plastic) in the refrigerator.

A general rule of thumb on seed storage is that the combined total of the humidity plus the temperature should be under 100.

Translated, humidity in storage is a great enemy of viability in most seeds, as is high heat. Storing seeds in an out building where temps will reach 100+ in summer is far from ideal, as is an area where seeds can draw humidity.

I have found it useful to check references such as Suzanne Ashworth's SEED TO SEED... and to google the internet at large with a request such as XXX SEED VIABILITY STORAGE .

There are some real surprises out there. I found some rich chocolate-brown cotton bolls stored among my craft supplies (dark & dry inside box, & Central Heat & Air house)-- origin unknown, but presumably purchased at a flea market late in the last century. When I googled for viability of cotton seeds, I found a study where cotton seed in Arizona had been stored nearly 30 years in non-specific conditions, then air-tight frozen for preservation in 1957. An attempt to germinate the seed in 1996 produced germination rates as high as 60% on some lots. Yep, I'm going to plant the cotton this summer...

Stories of beans found in Southwest mesas and in Egyptian tombs are legendary... but those would be exceptionally dark and dry conditions.

Viability in storage also varies greatly by species of plant. Parsnips and alliums are notorious for the short viabily of their seeds in paper envelopes, but peppers, tomatoes, spinach, cowpeas, squashes generally last 5 years or more. Research by species should prove helpful, or just test a sample of your seeds.


Arkansas Ozarks

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