Seed Storage Experiment

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by Mountainman, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    After reading conflicting ideas on seed storage temperatures I decided to try a quick experiment to see if there was anything to it. What I was worried about was some of the things I read said that if you store your seeds in a freezer that they would be ruined when the moisture content in them froze. I want to store my seeds as cold as possible, without ruining them, so they will last longer.

    I used 10 ea. heirloom seeds from 7 different plants that I saved from last year's crop. The seeds are almost a year old and have been stored in airtight bags in the fridge at 38F (3C). I then put the same quantity in the freezer at -10F (-23C) and left them there for 12 days. I know that's not very long term, but if the cold was going to ruin them I figured that would be long enough. After the 12 days I proceeded to see what would germinate and below are the percentage results:

    Seed Type Fridge Freezer
    Corn 80% 100%
    Melon 80% 70%
    Tomato (1) 100% 90%
    Cucumber 50% 40%
    Tomato (2) 70% 60%
    Pea 100% 100%
    Bean 40% 10%
  2. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    try it for 3 months next and see what happens :D
  3. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    Why, did you have your seeds go bad freezing them?
  4. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    the longer something is frozen the more damage occurs
    some seeds, from foods native to northern climates, like being frozen
    some do not
    if all seeds did survive being frozen your garden would be covered in
    volunteer crops, as you notice, not much comes up the second year
    melons and pickles definitely dont like freezing,this i learned the hard way
    Mountainman likes this.
  5. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    Thank you for the info, think I'll just keep mine in the fridge until the electricity goes off to be safe.
  6. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    i keep mine on a shelf in the storage closet
    in a closed metal container, nice cool and dry there
    all but my corn, that stays on the ears and decorates my walls til spring :)
    Motomom34 likes this.
  7. dragonfly

    dragonfly Monkey+++

    You are right about the conflicting ways to store seeds...
    Some say this some say another, everyone has a better way it seems...
    I have read that the "cans" of "survival seeds" are as dead a a door knob most of the time....Some say they need to be dried, some say frozen, and some say to "treat" them with diatomaceous earth. It is confusing on a good day. I really don't know what is the BEST way to preserve them personally.
    It's become a "crap shoot" at times.
    I suppose the BEST WAY is to run tests such as you have mentioned, then you will KNOW for certain what does work!
    Keep us posted!
  8. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I just ignore what most say about seed storage and apply the same rule of thumb as my food storage. Cool, dark and dry. That being said I keep my seeds in packets, organized by plant in an accordion style folder.
    In the front of the folder are some notes from previous seasons of plantings. Things like germ rate, transplant rate, harvest, notes about quality of food produced, etc. What I have found is that my heirloom tomatoes don't like this hot summer we've had, only getting small fruit from them, if at all. Oh well, fall planting time :)
  9. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    mother earth has not been at all friendly to her green growing parts lately
    and we humans have only made it worse (pollution, GM foods, pesticides)
    like ive said before, it looks like its time to garden indoors (greenhouse)
    where everything can be controlled
    it will also give much more of a growing season to us northerners
    fresh homegrown 'maters in january? :)
    Kingfish likes this.
  10. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    We are building a greenhouse next spring. I am hoping it will be in time. Saving heirloom seeds in mylar packs and small ziplocs in our cool room(pantry) . I just planted some two year old seeds and they germinated fine. My soil however ruined the plants as it was too acidic. My greenbeans did not take at all so two year old beans dont cut it when just kept cool and dry for two years. Snow peas and Melons germinated but the snow peas withered away in the acidic soil. Cucumbers did great as did several heirloom tomato plants. KF
  11. fedorthedog

    fedorthedog Monkey+++

    I haven't done this in a scientific manner but I buy the end of year cheap seed and put it in the freezer in a ziplock bag. I am using some seed that is three years old and getting at least 50% germination. It is kept in a top freezer on a refrigerator so the temp is around 30.
  12. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    the ashes from your wood burner will sweeten your soil kingfish
    test the acid levels tho before you add too much
    and mix it in a little, i know it will wash away that way
    but putting too much on in layers will burn stuff or become like concrete
  13. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    Are you buying regular seeds or heirlooms? Sounds like you are getting the ones that you don't want for SHTF
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