Tips on Storing Seeds
Is it the time for you to pick fruits and get vegetables from your garden that you enjoy eating? Or do you like to smell the fragrance of beautiful flowers in your yard? Definitely it is, but have you ever thought of saving seeds for the next year? If there is enough for the next planting, then save some. Often, there is seed left over after a crop is planted as well. The success of your garden in part depends on the quality of the planted seeds. Surely you can purchase good quality seeds from a reputable company, but why not try to save and store them?
Many questions may come to mind, like where should you store the seeds after they have completely dried? Is a closet where you store them cool enough? How long should the seeds be stored before they can be sowed?
You do not have to be an expert and you can grow a lot of good crops over the years. The key is to know how to properly store the seeds.
Cleaning and Drying Seed
How you prepare and store your seeds can be as important to their eventual viability as how they were grown. Seeds must be carefully dried and then stored under the proper conditions in order to give them the best chance of germinating and producing healthy plants when they are planted.
Cleaning wet seeds requires washing and separating them from the surrounding pulp. In addition, in some cases wet seeds (such as tomato seeds) are best fermented for several days to remove germination-inhibiting substances from the seed coats. Fermenting can also help the seeds of veg like members of Squash family by killing molds, mildew and other disease organisms that may be present on the seeds after growing. You can spread the seeds out in direct sunlight. However, because sunlight is harsh and easily can exceed optimal temperature, drying in the shade is better.
Harvest dry seeds from their plants when their pods or husks have dried. Some seeds can be picked before they are fully dried on the plants if rains threaten. Other plants, however, will not finish ripening once they have been removed from the plant. Leaving seeds on the parent plant to full maturity and dryness is always preferable.
Storing in Jars
To be sure that the seeds wake up refreshed after a long winter nap, take your time to tuck them in properly. Moisture, heat, and fluctuating temperatures are seed’s worst enemy, so don’t simply abandon your leftover packets to the elements by leaving them in a garden shed. Place packet in an airtight container, such as a canning jar with a new lid. Put the jar in a cool, dark place, after you close it tightly. Good seed storage results when seeds are kept dry (below 8 percent moisture) and the temperature is kept low (below 40 degrees).
Things to Remember
- The drier seeds are, the longer they will store.
- Storage may be extended to 5 or more years under proper conditions.
- Seed moisture and storage conditions are the most important factors in determining how long seeds can be stored.
- Vegetable and flower seeds may be kept for one year without appreciable decrease in germination.