• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
stewards:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • John F Dean
  • Carla Burke
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Leigh Tate
  • thomas rubino

Storing Seeds - What do you do?

 
Posts: 42
Location: Vancouver, Washington
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a lot of seeds on hand, some of which I've purchased and are leftover from this spring's planting and some of which I've saved over the summer from my garden to plant later.  I've surfed the net and can't seem to find difinitive guidance on the best way to store them.  What do you do to your seeds to take care of them over the winter?  I figure you guys would know best :)
 
gardener
Posts: 569
Location: Central Texas
211
hugelkultur forest garden trees rabbit greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For individual/small batches I ordered coin envelopes from Amazon. I have the plastic photograph storage boxes that I use to sort and hold all of the envelopes.
 
Posts: 862
25
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
put them in paper envelopes, put envelopes in metal cans and store in cool dry place. putting seeds in plastic bags is good if your absolutely sure theres no moisture. if there happens to be moisture they could rot or mold in plastic. I believe this is why when you get seeds from any of the major suppliers they are in paper packaging.
 
Jen Swanson
Posts: 42
Location: Vancouver, Washington
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So no refrigeration?  Just a cool, dry place?  I see recommendations for putting them in the fridge and some for putting them in the freezer. Seems to me like that's a bit much (unless of course the seeds need stratification).  I like the coin envelope idea.  I was thinking plastic bags per se wouldn't be good as they'd keep in any moisture already in the seed and it's package.
 
steward
Posts: 8923
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2574
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've heard you want to satisfy the "rule of 100".  The temp (in F) plus the % humidity should be under 100.  So dry and cool.  Refrigerators are definitely cool but I'm not sure how dry they are.

Plus dark and safe from bugs and mice.
 
master gardener
Posts: 2154
Location: southern Illinois.
530
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I normally shrink wrap them and toss them in the freezer.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1433
Location: Denmark 57N
407
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Original packaging (which is 90% of the time foil or mylar) or paper envelopes if self saved and then into a airtight plastic box. Which lives in a cool and dark place. Our humidity is very high 80-90% all winter but the temperature is pretty cold seeds seem to do fine.
The perfect way for me would be exactly as above but with some silica gel in there to get the humidity down.
 
pollinator
Posts: 175
38
duck forest garden chicken cooking building
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I vacuum seal, and store in the freezer.

For seeds I want to save just for next year, I put the seed envelopes in mason jars, in a dark cupboard. They'll probably last two or three seasons with diminishing germination rates, but that's just me guessing.

I have also been buying bulk seeds from Johnny Seed:
$3 for a seed packet (meh), or $5 for basically 7-10 year's (!!!) worth of seed. Their bulk pricing is only a buck or two more than the cost of a single packet.
(some custom varieties are much more expensive though - I wait for overstock sales)

So, to store these ten year supplies (mostly to save money), first I separate the bulk packet into many small paper envelopes. Next, I vacuum seal a year's collection (one pack of each variety) in a vacuum seal bag. Then I store them all in the freezer.
(just make sure to let the vacuum sealed bag come to room temperature once removed from the freezer, before you open the vacuum seal bag, or condensation will get the seeds wet).

So far it seems to be working great, but it's only been a single year, and I don't know what the full lifetime will be.
 
gardener & author
Posts: 2010
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
436
trees food preservation solar greening the desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have plastic tupperware type boxes, and I store all my seeds alphabetically in them. Either the original packets, or I fold paper envelopes for seeds I collect, and label them mentioning the year of collection. I keep them in a cool dark place in the house.

Importantly, before storing, I let the collected seeds sit out in a dish for a week or two to make sure they are really fully dry. (Drives my housemates nuts, I think)

I have often had seeds that should be older than the typical lifespan still germinate, so I'd say it's working fine for me.
gift
 
Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6" L-shaped Bench by Ernie and Erica
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic