Storing seed in freezer

bradmm(8b)March 29, 2014

Is that bad? I used to store in frig but have more room in freezer.

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I just bought a 5 cu ft freezer, the frig is basically wifey's domain.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 8:12AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Frozen seed requires very different handling both before and after they are removed from the freezer as freezing and thawing can rupture the cell membranes depending on how they are handled. So if you understand how to handle frozen seed, fine.

Assuming you know that neither refrigeration nor freezing is required, just an option, then be sure to do some research into how it is done and the effects of freezing on seeds.

You can get more details over on the Seed Saving forum here too.


Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Saving & Freezer Storage

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 10:02AM
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Thanks, digdirt, I thought I was extending the germination % by keeping them at least cool. If it's not needed, I won't bother. I can keep them cool and dry without the frig or freezer.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 12:13PM
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Are you planning to store your seed for years? If so, they need to be frozen. Seeds should be thoroughly dry before freezing. They should be packaged in an airtight container. See the link. Click on the file named "seed storage.doc".

Here is a link that might be useful: seed storage

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 6:05PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

I know that for long term storage, freezing is optimal, but I don't think there is any question that seeds stored in the refrigerator will last a lot longer than those that aren't.

Keeping seeds cool and dry will certainly preserve a lot of their germination rate. If I buy a package of thirty or so seeds, and just need half of those for a few transplants, refrigerating them will certainly keep their viability until the next year. I almost never have any such packets left after three years. But if I grow, say, a heritage plant, and harvest lots of seeds that I'd like to have viable many years in the future, freezing is probably the best way to go. So the fridge/freezer decision really depends on what you're trying to do.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 11:11PM
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I've heard different stories about refrigerator storage. For some seeds, they claim that you don't gain anything by storing at 40F. I don't know; I've never experimented with it. Freezer storage is so easy and so effective that I don't need any other options. I'm still sowing seeds from the 1980s and getting good germination.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 12:09AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I have left various seeds out in the shed, and similar places for years and most germinated.

The important thing is to keep them in closed containers, zip bags and COLD. Heat and excess humidity/moisture I think are seed killers. I also keep some in zip bags in the frig. JUST BECAUSE it is cool and constant temperature.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 3:53AM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

CoState extension has a nice fact sheet on this. See link below.

This sheet make the good point that seed storage is greatly aided by making them, and keeping them dry. The latter is where a freezer has an advantage, as the air in the freezer is especially dry. But when I store my seed in the fridge, I do so with seed packages in a plastic zipper bag that has some dessicant envelopes in it. Also (and this is important!) DO NOT open that plastic zipper bag while the contents are cold. Water vapor from the air will immediately condense on the seeds. Only open that bag after the contents have warmed up thoroughly. Then take the seeds, zip it back up, and throw it back in the fridge.

It is important to understand that seeds themselves are hydroscopic. That means they automatically absob water, which is certainly a survival trait. So the dessicant is important. You need something to absorb the water vapor at least as fast as the seeds do. Common DIY dessicants are rice grains and powdered milk, but I suspect silica gel works better.

I'm not sure about this, but I think the main trick for freezing seeds is to make sure that they are first well dried. Freezing a seed that is not dried will damage it.

Just throwing a resealed paper seed package in the fridge is probably not a smart thing to do.

Here is a link that might be useful: Storing Flower and Vegetable Seeds

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 11:09AM
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veggiecanner(Id 5/6)

I have onion seeds I've kept in the freezer for 5 years and they still germinate well.
Onions usually last only one or 2 years.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 6:43PM
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