always store seeds in fridge?

Lynn NevinsApril 29, 2012

should you always keep seeds in the fridge or does it depend?

I have some flower seeds and some veggie seeds (tomato, kale, arugula, green bean and peas).

Also, so long as seeds are kept in the proper environment, can they be used a year or two later or do seeds have a certain shelf-life, even when kept in optimum settings?

Tx.

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calistoga_al

It is not possible to lump all seeds together. Norman Deno did a lot of experiments over many years and concluded most seed does not benefit from being refrigerated. However keeping seed in airtight containers at room temperature that does not vary is recommended. Keeping the same seed in the same containers in the refrigerator had little effect in prolonging the seed life. This does not apply to ALL seeds just to most. Al

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 9:57AM
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gardenweed_z6a

I store my harvested tomato & perennial flower seeds at room temperature in plastic salad dressing cups with snap-on lids after they've had a few weeks to dry on paper plates inside my garage. The seeds have varying lifespans but in my experience generally are viable for a year or two. Some seed types (aquilegia/columbine is one) are best sowed when fresh but many retain their viability for years.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:49AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Check out the Seed Saving forum here for storage and use guidelines. It is linked on the front page of this forum and provides detailed FAQs on your question.

As Al said air tight, steady temp, no light exposure, avoid exposure to heat and humidity, etc. works best. But fridge storage is convenient for many and poses no problems for the seeds. Most, not all, seeds are usable for many, many years when properly stored.

Dave

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 10:49AM
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zen_man

Hi Yippee,

"...so long as seeds are kept in the proper environment, can they be used a year or two later or do seeds have a certain shelf-life, even when kept in optimum settings?"

Seeds do have a "shelf life". The longevity of seeds in ideal storage varies greatly with the variety of the seed. As you can see from that table, some seeds are lucky to last for a year, while others are good for many years. My hobby is growing zinnias, and fortunately their seeds are fairly long lasting. I store my zinnia seeds in Ziploc bags on a shelf in my basement. I hope to improve on that in the future. While a refrigerator might not be necessary, it would be insurance against the seeds getting too hot in a room environment. And it would keep the seeds away from exposure to harmful levels of light. When my budget allows, I think I will get a small refrigerator for seed storage.

I also recommend you read the article Giving Seeds What They Need In Storage that is also linked on the Hill Gardens of Maine website. I think the tip about keeping stored seeds away from exposure to light is something that many people overlook.

ZM

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 11:49AM
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