Seeds forum: seeds

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Name: Joe
Germantown, Tennessee (Zone 7b)
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exfed
Jan 8, 2015 10:30 AM CST
Even though I purchase many new seeds this time of year, I also have saved seeds from last year or longer, and will probably have to save the seeds I don't plant this year. I have tried many different methods of saving seed and now freeze unused new and leftovers. I try to keep them in their original packets, due to the information on these. I group them according to type, place them in sealable baggies and pop those into a mason- type food jar, with tight fitting lids. Then into the back of my frost- free freezer. I try to keep this container as airtight as possible in the frost- free unit. Using this method, I have kept seeds viable for many years. Let us know your various methods for storage of these increasingly expensive treasures.
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
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kqcrna
Jan 9, 2015 4:22 AM CST

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I just keep them in a plastic bin in my basement. It's cooler there than in the rest of the house.

Karen
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Jan 9, 2015 7:25 PM CST

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I store mine in glycine envelopes that are in a plastic bin, also in my very dry basement. So far, I've had good success with this. I can see why the jars can also be a great storage vessel. I wish I had enough storage space in my freezer to try this method, but that just won't happen for me.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Jan 21, 2015 7:16 PM CST
I usually divide up any big batch of seed, into 2"x3" ZIPlocs, with printed labels, so they are ready to trade or give away.

Usually I store those in tightly sealed plastic tubs with some desiccant in a paper packet.

Cool and DRY are the biggest factors. From what I read, they don;t varying temperatures or humidity either. After cool and DRY, darkness is supposed to help.

If you can keep them dry in the freezer, no condensation but not dessicated by the defroster either, they might last even longer than when kept cool.

Here's a few links and quotes to the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens' Millennium Seed Bank information about collecting and storing seeds.

Kew Royal Botanic Gardens Technical Information Sheets about collecting and storing seeds, written by Millennium Seed Bank staff.
http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/research-data/resour...

post-harvest handling for seed collection:
http://www.kew.org/sites/default/files/04-Post%20harvest%20h...

"Seed life span approximately doubles for every 10% reduction in seed eRH."
("eRH" is equilibrium Relative Humidity.)

" Once transferred to the seed bank, collections can then be dried to around 15% eRH (4-7% mc depending on seed oil content), the recommended moisture level for long-term conservation of orthodox seeds.
("mc" is moisture content , % water by weight.)

collecting seed in the field:
http://www.kew.org/sites/default/files/03-Collecting%20techn...




Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 22, 2015 8:53 AM CST
I will have a separate freezer-refrigerator in my garage for seeds and bulbs for the first time this year. I hope to be able to make good use of it. I am thinking of doing like Rick and start buying seeds by the oz. instead of the small packets, then dividing them up into smaller portions. Previously, they did not store well in my metal shed.
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
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RickCorey
Jan 22, 2015 12:56 PM CST
Larry, you probably know all this already, but I'd like to say it again in this thread.

Glass or plastic jars (or maybe gallon freezer bags) will prevent condensation from reaching the frozen contents IF, every time you take a jar out, you let it warm all the way up to room temperature before opening it. I found that to be a royal pain in the butt!

The change from, say. 15% RH to 30% RH in the trapped air is a tiny amount of water, but even a drop or fog of liquid condensation is a relatively huge amount. Without a desiccant, allowing any room air to condense inside a jar and then putting it back into a fridge probably assures 100% humidity. That's my opinion, anyway. If I were freezing seeds or using cold storage, I would only do it with containers I knew I wouldn't open more often than yearly, AND I would use a desiccant in each container.

I like having a "humidity card" in each tub so I can see when the silica gel is exhausted. My room-temperature tubs don't seal perfectly, and I keep having to replace the desiccant.

Modern no-frost freezers have some strong drying mechanism that prevents frost build-up, and causes freezer burn, a.k.a. severe dehydration. Apparently 15% RH is the ideal humidity for long-term storage, but at some point below that, some or most seeds can be harmed by TOO dry storage.

http://garden.org/ideas/view/RickCorey/649/Silica-Gel-for-Dr...

pink/blue Humidity cards:

Drierite Relative Humidity cards at 40 cents each:
https://secure.drierite.com/catalog3/page15b.cfm

ULINE humidity cards, $50/250 3-spot cards or $70 / 400 6-spot cards
http://www.uline.com/BL_1002/Humidity-Indicator
http://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-8028/Damage-Indicators...

Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Region: Alabama Composter Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Seedfork
Jan 22, 2015 1:18 PM CST
Rick,
All that is great information, but I will probably just stick my seeds in the freezer and refrigerator, take them out when I need a few plunk them back in and they will have to fend for themselves.
I figure that will be a lot better than trying to survive another season in a hot metal shed.
I got zero germination out of several packs of seed that spent one summer in my shed, still...three years is really the max I am shooting for and I think the frig. can help me accomplish that.
I went to Tractor Supply yesterday and priced some Burpee radish seed, wow over three dollars a pack. Headed to the farmers co-op and that is when I realized that buying by the oz. was really the way to go. At first I saw the $6.00 price Sad ...that was for a pound! Thumbs up
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
Jan 22, 2015 3:12 PM CST
Seedfork said:...
I went to Tractor Supply yesterday and priced some Burpee radish seed, wow over three dollars a pack. Headed to the farmers co-op and that is when I realized that buying by the oz. was really the way to go. At first I saw the $6.00 price Sad ...that was for a pound! Thumbs up


Yup! Pay a lot for one tiny pinch ... or a pay a little more for a lifetime supply.

I agree that you can get much longer shelf life out of seeds sealed up and kept cool or cold, over a shed with varying heat and humidity - including high heat and humidity!

Three years is a realistic goal and should be easy to accomplish without jumping through a bunch of fussy hoops. Maybe ZIPlocing them into annual batches, would protect Year Two and Year Three seeds from condensation each time you dig into the Year One seeds.

Or my concern about condensation may be exaggerated.

Silica gel is only a few dollars per pound at craft store flower-drying isles.

Seed swaps let you trade one ounce of one seed type for small packets of ten different seed types, if you can find what you want.

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