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Does seed storage method really matter?

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Does seed storage method really matter?

Post  Aussie Girl on 7/13/2010, 7:44 pm

I have quite a few packets of off the shelf from the supermarket seeds that haven't germinated. Not all of them are duds but maybe 4 out of 10 seeds will grow.

Is this strike rate normal or could it be because I keep my seeds in a ice cream container on my desk?

I have read on here that quite a few people keep their seeds in a jar in the fridge - why?

It gets quite hot & humid in summer where I live, does this damage the seeds?

Wouldn't the seeds get damaged by the cold in the fridge?

I love watching for the tiny sprouts of green working their way up through the soil, but it's very disapointing when they never grow, so any advice to help the sucess rate would be welcome. Thanks.
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Aussie Girl

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Re: Does seed storage method really matter?

Post  martha on 7/13/2010, 10:26 pm

Some seeds are more able to handle abuse than others. I'm not saying that you abuse your seeds, but I definitely abuse mine, and many of them are still viable!

When you say an ice cream container, what exactly is that?

By the way - I thought I had a 100% FAILURE rate on my Blondekopchen tomatoes germinating, but turns out I was merely being impatient. They took a long time, but I have 6 beautiful plants just loaded with not-yet-ripe tomatoes!
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Re: Does seed storage method really matter?

Post  Chopper on 7/13/2010, 11:05 pm

If you can keep them dry, I believe that is enough. I am a little wary about seeds in the fridge but not for any specific reason. Humidity is something you want to avoid. I have old (up to 4 years) seed that I used this summer for everything I didn't buy as plants and they germinated fine. I keep them in a zip lock just in a plastic bin. It tends to be pretty dry here, but the ziplock should keep them that way anyway. FWIW.

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Re: Does seed storage method really matter?

Post  quiltbea on 7/13/2010, 11:43 pm

They say keeping seeds in the freezer will keep them viable up to 10 years.
I keep mine in the crisper in the fridge in a jar or sealed plastic bag.
To avoid dampness, put a small packet of dry milk in the container.
I haven't done that myself yet but I've had seed given me in the fall of 2007 that had a 90%-100% germination rate this spring so they are just fine.
When I save my own seeds this fall I'll be keeping better care of them so they can last several years. I think I'll try the dry milk packet addition. You just put a teaspoon of the dry milk in a tiny paper envelope and seal it.
Even leaving a packet of seed out in the sunshine while you are sowing them in the garden can shorten the life of the seeds so they should be kept in the shade. You'll have a higher germination rate.
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Re: Does seed storage method really matter?

Post  nancy on 7/14/2010, 10:14 am

Many kinds of milkweed require cold stratification before they will germinate. As a result, all of my seeds are kept in the refrigerator in a plastic container. Perhaps this year I will have to move to a larger container and will probably choose glass. In addition to the powdered milk, I've heard to put silicone gel packs (like that come in a shoe box or pill bottle) in with your seeds for moisture control.
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Re: Does seed storage method really matter?

Post  Aussie Girl on 7/14/2010, 5:48 pm

Thanks everyone.

Martha - here an ice cream container is just a small square plastic bucket with a press on lid.

I googled seed storage and read a few things and it turns out 'they' recommend seed storage in the fridge because you need to store your seeds in the opposite conditions to what they germinate in. Most seeds need warm & wet so it's best to store them in cool & dry. Makes sense, but I don't have room in my fridge.

I will get a better air tight container & pop in one of those silicone packets and store them under my desk out of the light, hopefully that will help.

I also had a good look at my seed packets and some of them said to plant before 2007 , so I guess the fact that some grew at all is pretty good.
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