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storing seed

Posted by jayokie (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 12:39

My mom & SIL like turnips. Bro is planting a small garden this year. I got the smallest amount of turnip seed I could, but it will be enough for two years, I think.

"Somewhere" I've read seed could be stored in the crisper drawer in the frig & kept til the next year - or later in the year in this case for a fall crop.

Have any of you done this? Or heard of it? Appreciate any feedback.

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RE: storing seed

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 13:04

There is a Deed Saving forum here with all sorts of 'how-to-store' FAQs and discussions. Linked it for you below.

Simple answer most all seeds can be stored for several years. Fridge storage is great but it isn't required. Many use shoe boxes in a closet. Cool and dry is all you need.


Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Saving FAQs

RE: storing seed

I have a bit of a seed hoarding tendency, and I keep my stash in a (large) shoebox in the garage. Some seeds are from 2006 & germinated just fine. Hard to pass up buying extras at the end of the season when I find packs of seed for .10 or .20 cents! I keep telling my husband that it's a lot less expensive than collecting shoes!

RE: storing seed

I store my seeds in one of the produce drawers in the fridge. Actually, the drawer is full and so they're also taking up part of the lower shelf too!

Anyway, I've been storing seeds this way for over 25 years. The big seed banks store seeds at freezer temperatures. I've read that the colder temperatures slow the metabolism of the seed embryo and extend the viability of the seed considerably.

This has certainly been true for me, more than once I've germinated seeds that were approx. 20 years old.

RE: storing seed

1. Collect and clean ripe, seed.

2. Dry the seeds: place seeds in uncovered containers in a safe, dry well-ventilated location out of direct sun for about 2 weeks, preferably at room temperature and with a relative humidity of less than 70%. Don't forget to label your containers. Stir occasionally.

3. Package the seeds. Small lots can go into coin envelopes or the like. Label each envelope. Place all your small envelopes into an airtight container, such as a widemouth canning jar. Large lots can go directly into airtight containers. Place an identifying label INSIDE each airtight container, since labels on the outside can deteriorate or be damaged in handling.

4. Place your airtight containers in a cool basement, refrigerator, or freezer. If you will be re-opening the container frequently, I do not recommend freezer storage. The freezer should be used only for undisturbed long-term (6 months or more) storage.

5. Retrieving the stored seed: DO NOT OPEN THE AIRTIGHT CONTAINER UNTIL THE SEED IS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE. This may take 20 minutes to an hour. Cold seed will condense and absorb moisture out of warm room air. If the seed is then returned to an airtight container for storage, serious losses may result. If you accidentally let stored seed get damp, let it dry for 2 days before returning it to storage.

When handled properly, seed may be frozen and defrosted many times without damage.

Some growers use dessicants in their seed storage containers. Dessicants are chemicals like calcium chloride which absorb moisture out of the air. It is known that excessive drying of seeds will result in reduced viability. Therefore, I would recommend caution in the use of dessicants or any other extreme form of drying. Freezer storage gives excellent results without dessicants.

The above procedure cannot be applied indiscriminately to all types of seed. For example, many large, fleshy tropical seeds will be killed if they are frozen. Many seeds, such as maple, oak, and chestnut, are killed if they are frozen or dried.

This post was edited by lilydude on Sun, Apr 20, 14 at 14:23

RE: storing seed

lilydude has it right. I too have heard that "excessive drying" can reduce seed viabiility, but I find that hard to reconcile with the fact that just about everyone recommends using dessicants in storing seeds. I have to assume that maybe such dessicants don't really dry "excessively".

I would add that oxygen isn't good for seed storage. Given that it's hard to purge a storage container with nitrogen or CO2, I understand that it's best to just keep the container as full as possible with seeds. That displaces the air.

RE: storing seed

Honestly, I'm not at all careful with my seed and haven't noticed any decrease in germination rate over the past 3 years. some seed packets even get damp when I'm planting.....they are in a plastic bin in my kitchen. If you are saving for survival, maybe you should be more careful.

RE: storing seed

Mindy, I should ask what kind of seeds you're saving. Different vegetable seeds have very different lifetimes. Cuke and squash seeds tend to last a while, as do seeds for leaf crops. Corn, onion, okra, parsley, and pea seeds, not so long. There has been a lot of work on seed life expectancy when stored under favorable conditions. Long lived ones can be expected to last 4-5 years, while short lived ones maybe 1-2. I have to assume that's when the seed viability will be down to 50% or so.

Your luck may vary, but that's what the research says.

BTW, it occurs to me that vacuum sealed pouches are probably a great way to save seeds in the fridge or freezer. So if you have a vac sealer, use it! Maybe with some dessicant? I've never done that, but it would make for dry, airtight, compact packages.

RE: storing seed

A big thank you to all who responded! I'll check out the FAQ (thanks, also, for that link). Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

RE: storing seed

Not to repeat what others have said, but I keep mine on a shelf in my office in a small box. When I get those silica packets in new purses or shoes, I toss those in my seed box. If you buy quality seeds, they will last many seasons.

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