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Storing Vegetable Seeds

Most vegetable seeds can be stored for many years without extra ordinary means and they will germinate.  The percentage and vigor of the germination will vary according to how old the seed is and how it was kept.  Generally speaking, the cooler and drier they are the better off the seeds will be.  Many people want to freeze their seeds, but that's not something we recommend as the seeds can be severely damaged if not done properly. 

We also get asked frequently if vegetable seeds can be vacuum packed.  Remember - seeds are alive!  They need to breathe just like you - but like you, when you're sleeping, you use less oxegyn - so if kept cool and dry, the seeds won't need much oxygen.  We sell kits that you can store your seeds in using mylar, which is a good barrier for air and moisture.  But we don't seal the bags without air in them - the vegetable seeds need the O2. 

Most seeds will store naturally for at least 2-3 years if kept in a cool basement in a dry, sealed container.  However, if you would like to store them for longer, reducing their moisture to less than 10% will allw you to extend their lifespan up to 10+ years.  But remember - seeds are alive, so in order to reduce their moisture, you must not let them get hotter than 96*F.  Putting them into a controlled environment where you can hold it at 95* for up to 10 hours will reduce most seeds moilsture levels safely. 

See the chart below for the natural (i.e. just left in a cool dry shelf in their paper packets) seed life expectancy:

Seed Crop Life span in years Seed Crop Life span in years
Asparagus 3 Leek 2
Beans 3 Lettuce 1
Beets 4 Muskmelon 5
Broccoli 3 Okra 2
Brussels sprouts 4 Onion 1
Cabbage 4 Parsley 1
Cabbage, Chinese 3 Parsnip 1
Carrot 3 Pea 3
Cauliflower 4 Pepper 2
Celeriac 3 Pumpkin 4
Celery 3 Radish 4
Chard, Swiss 4 Rutabaga 4
Chicory 4 Salsify 1
Corn, sweet 2 Spinach 3
Cucumber 5 Spinach, New Zealand 3
Eggplant 4 Squash 4
Endive 5 Tomato 4
Kale 4 Turnip 4
Kohlrabi 3 Watermelon 4

 


Comments on Storing Vegetable Seeds



sandra 07-22-2014 10:22 PM
Is it ok to put the seeds in small jars with a small dessicant?
Ryan 01-24-2013 07:40 AM
I too would like to know more about seed storage. How do I store the seeds properly in a fridge or freezer. Like the above poster I've seen many conflicting reports. Seed vaults store the seeds frozen so it must be possible if done correctly. Please help if you know how they do it.
Thanks
Candy Godbee 10-18-2012 07:58 PM
I just received my order and am delighted with the service and prices. I would like to find ACCURATE information on storing the seeds, especially the few packages that were marked for this past season. I have read conflicting reports on storing in the freezer, moisture, etc. I was wondering about storing in a vacuum sealed jar in the refrigerator. Any help would be appreciated.


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