What is The Best Way to Store Seeds for Long Times?
You must know how to store seeds properly before you buy seeds so that they remain viable for years. Saving seeds is a great way to preserve the genetic diversity of your crops, save money on buying new seeds every season, and enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own food from seed.
However, storing seeds is not as simple as throwing them in a drawer or a plastic bag. Seeds are living organisms that need certain conditions to stay alive and healthy. If you expose them to too much heat, moisture, light, or oxygen, they can lose their germination ability or become damaged by pests and diseases.
In this blog post, we will share some of the best tips on how to preserve and store seeds for long-term use in Indian agriculture practices and weather conditions after buying them online.
We will cover the following primary concerns:
- How to prepare seeds for storage?
- How to choose the right containers for seed storage?
- How to control the temperature and humidity levels for seed storage?
How to prepare seeds for storage?
The top agriculture marketplace in India, in most cases, uses high-quality seed containers to store and ship to buyers. But if you want to store them at your place separately, you need to make sure they are clean and dry. This will prevent mold, bacteria, and insects from spoiling them.
To clean your seeds, remove any pulp, husk, or chaff that might be attached to them. You can do this by rubbing them gently between your fingers or using a sieve or a colander. For some seeds with a gel-like coating, you can soak them in water for a few days until the gel dissolves.
To dry your seeds, spread them out on a paper towel or a piece of parchment paper in a thin layer. Place them in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Stir them occasionally to ensure even drying. Depending on the size and type of seed, it may take anywhere from a few days to several weeks for them to dry completely.
How to choose the right containers for seed storage?
Once your seeds are dry, you need to store them in containers that will keep them safe from moisture, air, light, and pests.
The best containers for seed storage are those that are:
Airtight: This will prevent oxygen from entering and causing oxidation, which can damage the seed cells.
Moisture-proof: This will prevent water vapor from condensing inside and causing mold growth.
Dark: This will block out light rays that can degrade some of the nutrients and pigments in the seeds.
Durable: This will protect the seeds from physical damage such as crushing or puncturing.
Some examples of suitable containers for seed storage are:
Glass jars: These are ideal because they are transparent (so you can see what’s inside), easy to seal with metal lids (that have rubber gaskets), and are resistant to corrosion. However, they are also heavy, fragile, and bulky, so handle them with care.
Metal cans: These are also good because they are sturdy, lightweight, and rust-proof. However, they may be hard to open without a can opener, and some may have sharp edges that can cut you.
Plastic bags: These are convenient because they are available at affordable prices, flexible, and disposable. Zip bags in this category are better.
Whatever container you choose, make sure it is clean, dry, and large enough to hold all your seeds without overcrowding them. You should also leave some space at the top for air expansion when freezing.
How to control the temperature and humidity levels for seed storage?
If you want to save seeds for future planting, you might wonder how to store them properly. Seeds are living organisms that need certain conditions to remain viable and healthy. One of the most important factors that affect seed longevity is the temperature and humidity levels of the storage environment.
Why do temperature and humidity matter?
Temperature and humidity are closely related to each other. High temperature increases the metabolic rate of seeds, which means they use up their stored energy faster and lose their ability to germinate. High humidity also promotes fungal growth and insect damage, which can reduce seed quality and viability.
How to control temperature and humidity levels?
The ideal storage temperature for seeds is 35-40°F with a relative humidity of less than 40%. This can be achieved by using seed storing methods such as in a refrigerator or a freezer. However, it is important to use containers that have a good seal to keep out moisture and air.
Some examples of suitable containers are glass jars with screw-top lids, metal cans with tight-fitting lids, cost-effective plastic bags with zip-lock closures, or envelopes made of foil-lined paper. Before placing seeds in these containers, make sure they are dry and clean. You can use a desiccant such as silica gel packets or dried milk powder to absorb excess moisture inside the container.
When retrieving seeds from storage, allow them to attain room temperature before taking them out. This prevents condensation from forming on them and inside the container. If you have pelleted or primed seeds (pre-treated seeds to enhance germination), use them within a year because you can’t store them well.
How long can seeds last in storage?
The average storage life of seeds varies depending on their type and quality. Some seeds can last for several years under favorable conditions if they are stored using proper preservation methods, while others may lose their viability after one year or less. It is advisable that when you buy seeds online on an eCommerce marketplace for agriculture products in India, check the quality and details about the seeds.
Store and Preserve!
You should plan to store your seeds before you buy seeds online from an eCommerce agriculture store. Storing seeds properly can help you save money and preserve genetic diversity for future generations. By controlling the temperature and humidity levels of your seed storage environment, you can extend their shelf life and ensure their quality.