Seeds forum: Seed Storage Containers

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Name: Chris Powell
Glendale, AZ (Zone 9b)
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milkmood
May 28, 2012 11:43 AM CST
I've been working toward building up a seed bank and doing some research on the best containers for storing seed. Found this website about container adequacy. They ran a 3 year study and tested through various types of containers from glass to metal and plastic.

I think it's obvious that glass and metal are ideal according to that study, but what are your experiences with storing seed for 3 years or more?

http://www.seedcontainers.net/the_risk_of_inadequate_contain...

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[Last edited by milkmood - May 28, 2012 11:43 AM (+)]
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Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
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Onewish1
May 28, 2012 5:14 PM CST

Moderator

just read the study now.. thanks... I usually store mine in zip lock bags.. never had a problem
Name: Chris Powell
Glendale, AZ (Zone 9b)
Living a better life; if times get
Permaculture Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Herbs Organic Gardener Dog Lover
Birds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Region: Southwest Gardening
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milkmood
May 28, 2012 9:37 PM CST
Hey Allison...

What do you keep the ziploc bags in?
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
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Onewish1
May 29, 2012 3:50 AM CST

Moderator

usually just a cardboard box.. I am cheap Whistling
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
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kqcrna
May 29, 2012 5:48 AM CST

Moderator

same here- zip lock bags, kept in a plastic bin.

karen
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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woofie
May 29, 2012 12:37 PM CST
Mine are mostly in glassine envelopes in a plastic bin, kept in a cool, dimly lit room. But then I'm not trying to build a seed bank. More like a miser's hoard. Hilarious!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
May 29, 2012 2:55 PM CST
Great link, Chris! Thanks very much.

Probably the reason we can store seeds in effective equilibrium with houwsehold humidity is that most people's houses are relatively dry, and they aren't trying to store delicate seeds for 25-50 years. Storing most crop seeds for 3-5 years, if they aren't moldy, is probably going to result in fairly good germination over a fairly wide range of humidities and temperatures.

But if you are trying to double or quadruple the maximum reliable lifetime of rare seeds, or seeds that might be delicate, you do have to worry about the details.

Note the conditions of the study: "water vapour-saturated atmospheres". In other words, 100% humidity outside the jar.

Also, the study did not try to determine how many years of viability would be lost between optimum dryness and varying 10-80% RH. Only how fast those jars leaked humidity.

I always worried about humidity since I have drizzle many times per week, 8 months per year. I don't keep the house any warmer than I need to, so I worry about humidity.

I also store seeds in 2x3" Ziploks, but then I store those inside big plastic jars (that used to hold 2 pounds of peanuts or peanut butter). I agree with the author of that paper: almost any screw-on lid lets in some humidty over the years. And I paw through my stash, or add and remove Ziplooks, rather often.

I keep 1-2 tablespoonfuls of silica gel in each jar. I staple the gel inside paper coin envelopes. I bought humidity-indicating cards from Drierite (ULINE also sells them, but you have to buy a huge number as the minimum order).

When it indicates the humidty (RH) inside the jar is much above 20%, I replace the silica gel. When I run through my first 1 1/2 pounds, I'll regenrate it.

Now, instead of worrying about excess humidity, and varying humidity, I worry about excessive dryness. Gotta worry about something! I have so mnay more seed varieties than I'll be able to plant in my small yard, I hope I can save them for 10-20 years.


P.S. If you store seeds in the fridge, store them the tightest jar you can find. Let them warm up all the way to room temp before you open the jar, or room air WILL condense inside the jar, and then, when you chill it again, even more will condense, or raise the RH inside the jar significantly. And the vegetable drawer (crisper) is MORE humid than the rest of the fridge, not drier.


There were some great footnote-references in that study, i'm hoping to find some online for free when I have time to hunt.

Ellis, R.H., Hong, T.D., Martin, M.C., Pérez-García, F. and Gómez-Campo, C. (1993). The long-term storage of seeds of seventeen crucifers at very low moisture contents. Plant Varieties and Seeds 6, 75-81.

Buitink, J., Leprince, O., Hemminga, M. A. and Hoekstra, F.A. (2000). Molecular mobility in the cytoplasm: an approach to describe and predict lifespan of dry germplasm. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. USA 97, 2385-2390.

Harrington, J.F. (1972). Seed storage and longevity. pp. 145-245 in Kozlowsli, T.T. (Ed.). Seed biology. Volume 3. New York and London, Academic Press.

Vertucci, C.W. and Roos, E.E. (1990). Theoretical basis of protocols for seed storage. Plant Physiology 94, 1019-23.

Walters, C. and Engels, J. (1998). Effect of storing seeds under extremely dry conditions. Seed Science Research 8, 3-8.




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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
May 29, 2012 3:45 PM CST
I dunno, Rick. Those look like the lids of Costco jars of chocolate coated macadamia nuts to me.... Hilarious!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
May 29, 2012 4:51 PM CST

Moderator

Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
May 29, 2012 7:38 PM CST
BUSTED ... not really. But you might have just talked me into a Cotco membership ... I hope you get a commision!

Sticking tongue out
Drooling
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
May 29, 2012 8:37 PM CST
Did I mention that they also contain salted caramel? Drooling
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
May 30, 2012 4:11 AM CST

Moderator

will have to look next time I go.. love that!!
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
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woofie
May 30, 2012 8:43 AM CST
Just don't read the label where it tells you just how many million calories are in those tasty little morsels! Of course, you could simply dump out all those nasty little calories to get the nice container..... Whistling
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
May 30, 2012 12:27 PM CST
>> Of course, you could simply dump out all those nasty little calories

Great idea! I have wire cloth in many different size meshes. I'll just pick a mesh size that's smaller than Macademia nuts, and larger than calories.

I know that a single calorie is a very small unit of measure, so it shoul.d be easy to separate the big chocolate-covered nuts from the little calories.

Thanks for that idea!!
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
Image
woofie
May 30, 2012 12:36 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Plays in the sandbox Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Gulf Coast Tip Photographer The WITWIT Badge
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gingin
May 30, 2012 12:38 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
I keep my seeds in empty pill bottles...which seem to be all over Shrug! Note to self...check bottle BEFORE pilling the dogs Rolling my eyes.
Each cloud has a silver lineing if only you look for it.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
May 30, 2012 5:18 PM CST
Take two Delphiniums and call me in the morning!
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Plays in the sandbox Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: Gulf Coast Tip Photographer The WITWIT Badge
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds Plumerias Hummingbirder Dog Lover
Image
gingin
Jun 1, 2012 12:54 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing works for me Rolling on the floor laughing
Each cloud has a silver lineing if only you look for it.
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Garden Procrastinator Greenhouse Dragonflies Plays in the sandbox I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
The WITWIT Badge I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Dog Lover Enjoys or suffers cold winters Container Gardener Seed Starter
Image
woofie
Jun 1, 2012 12:59 PM CST
Actually, if you took Rick's advice, there's a good chance you wouldn't be ABLE to call him in the morning! Whistling Can you say "toxic?" Smiling
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jun 1, 2012 4:15 PM CST
merphle burble mmmph mmmph!

My tongue and lips are numb!

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