To remain your seeds’ quality for the next season, you need to preserve them properly. Now, what is the best way to store seed for the long term? Which to consider when storing them? Let’s find out in this article!
If you are going to store seeds of your own garden for the following seasons, only harvest and keep those from well-developed, healthy, high-yielding plants.
Harvest seeds only when they are ripe to ensure quality.
For seed packets, pay attention to the packaging before you buy them. Seeds need to be kept in tightly sealed containers to avoid moisture that might lead to mold and bacteria.
Check if it has enough manufacturer’s information, where they are from, how the seeds were treated – chemically or organically, and instructions.
The most important thing is checking its due date. If using expired seeds, the germination rate is definitely super-low or if they germinate, the growth and development of your plant are severely affected.
Besides, make sure that these seeds best suit the growing conditions, environment, season and usage needs in your garden.
How To Store Seeds For Many Years
Step 1: Completely Dry Seeds
This is a very vital step in the whole seed-preserving process to keep them from moldy and termite.
Never dry seeds directly in the sun, on a concrete ground, or brickyard because it can deform the seeds. The best way you can do this is by using a drying pad.
For a large number of seeds, try the seed drying method. You should set the temperature between 95-104 degrees F and must be stirred evenly during the process. Then, let them cool down before storing, which helps avoid moisture to hence affect their germination rate.
Step 2: Choose The Right Container To Store Seeds
To keep your seeds dry and clean, choose a mason jar or ceramic vase with an airtight lid, or a dedicated container. Make sure that it can prevent moisture excellently.
If you are going to store different seeds, label each container with the seed name, date of storage, and a number of seeds for convenience when you want to check or use them.
Place a layer of desiccant paper or kitchen ash at the bottom of these containers for extra desiccation capabilities, if you like.
Step 3: Keep Seeds In A Refrigerator Or A Freezer
If seeds are stored in a cold environment where the temperature is 55 degrees F, their germination rate is still 95% after 12 months. The color of their shells will also hardly change at this time.
You can store seeds at room temperature in case that you don’t have a fridge or freezer.
Take note that the germination rate of your seeds will decrease over time. In detail, it will be only 89% after 6 months of seed-storing by this way, 76% after 8 months, and 50% after 9 to 12 months.
But you should make sure that seeds are dry before preserving, then stored in an airtight jar.
Try to remain at a consistent cold temperature and then the environment is well-ventilated.
Before use, place the jar at room temperature for 12 hours to prevent condensation. Next, open the jar and leave it alone for a couple of days before starting to plant them.
Extra Tips On Preserving Specific Seeds
For Seeds Of Beans, Veggies, Corns, And Weeds
The basic rule of thumb is to dry them thoroughly to keep the moisture level as low as possible. Then, keep them in cool, ventilated conditions.
For seeds of canola, sunflowers, soybeans, and peanuts
Because of high fat and oil content, they are prone to be oxidized than other types of seeds, meaning that you will have to preserve them more carefully.
Dry seeds thoroughly to keep the moisture content as low as 10% or 11%, then store tightly in a cool place. If the quantity is small, keep them in an airtight mason jar layered with desiccants at the bottom and a layer of dried oval leaves or dried banana leaves on the top.
These two leaves contain antibiotics that can keep mold and bacteria away from your seeds.
For Cassava And Sugarcane
This case is a bit special since they don’t have seeds but just stems to preserve for the next crops.
Dig a shallow hole about 15” to 20”, bury all the roots, cover a layer of soil about 11”-15” thick, then cut off all the remaining leaves to keep the stems moist.
Cover them by using dried banana leaves to prevent direct sunlight from damaging their stems and shoots. By this method, the stems of sugarcane and cassava can last up to 3 - 4 months.
In a nutshell, remember four keywords when storing seeds:
- Airtight: Make sure the container has a tight lid to avoid diseases, mold, and fungi
- Dry: Seeds should be properly dried before storing as well as kept in dry, ventilated conditions
- Cool: The best temperature ranges to preserve seeds are from 95-104 degrees F
- Clean: Make sure to keep both seeds and container clean before starting to preserve them.
Above are a few suggestions on how to store seeds for the long term. Hopefully, they are helpful to enrich your experience in seed preservation for the next crops. If you have any questions, just be free to let us know.
Thanks for reading!