The Q&A Archives: Seed Storage

Question: What is the best way to storge sprouting and garden seeds? Can they be frozen? What type of containers? For how long?

Answer: The best way to store seeds is to keep them cool and dry at an even temperature. Many folks find that a closed container (such as a jar) kept in the refrigerator is a good place for this. Some seeds can be frozen successfully, but for others the extreme cold is a detriment. The length of time depends on a number of factors such as condition of the seed when it was harvested and handling as well as temperature and humidity levels in storage. Properly stored, most seeds will last at least an extra year or two (notable exceptions are corn and onions which tend not to keep well). If in doubt you can try pregerminating a few to check the overall viability of a batch of seeds. To do this, place seeds on a damp paper towel and place that in a plastic bag to maintain humidity. Keep in a warm spot out of direct sun and watch for germination. Some seeds normally have a higher or lower averall viability factor and you will also find that seed viability decreases over time, so eventually the germination rate falls low enough that you need to replace the seed.

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