The Q&A Archives: Storing Seeds

Question: Which vegetable seeds keep well and which don't? Rather than throw away seed I've purchased, I keep it in tupperware in a root cellar. After many years I came to the conclusion that some such as tomatoes and cole crops keep and others such as peppers do not. The last few years my rules don't seem to work. Why? How about freezing seed?

Answer: Cook's Garden Seeds is one seed company that lists the storage life of its seed in the catalog. For instance, they say that, properly stored cabbage and broccoli seed will keep three years, pepper and cauliflower four years. According to Suzanne Ashworth, author of "Seed to Seed" (ISBN# 0-9613977-7-2), proper storage means using glass or metal containers with an airtight rubber seal, such as canning jars or babyfood jars. It helps to place the seeds in a zip-loc bag first, then in a jar. Thisensures that moisture won't reach the seed, and moisture is what encourages mold growth. Your root cellar is an ideal storage spot, since temperatures fluctuate little underground. <br><br>If you can reduce moisture content of seeds to 8% or less, you can freeze seeds in airtight containers. They last about 10 times longer this way! Full instructions for the process are included in "Seed to Seed", which you can purchase from Seed Saver's Exchange, 3076 North Winn Rd., Decorah, IA 52101; ph# 319/382-5990. The book is $24 including postage. Hope this helps!

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