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Question about Chile seed shelf life

10 years ago

First, I'd like to say that Heather's seed exhange is awesome. I sent in 21 packets and got back 39 packets of seed, all really nice cultivars which I'm very excited to grow out. Thanks also to folks out there who were kind enough to trade seed with me.

Now, there's no way that I'll be able to take care of some 50-odd plants next year. I am wondering how long the seed will remain viable for. If I don't plant them next season, will the seed still germinate the following season? What about in five years? Also, what are the optimal storage conditions? I've read that chile "germ plasm" (i.e. seeds) are best stored frozen for best longevity. On the other hand, some folks tell me that they try to prevent their seed from freezing and prefer storage at room temperature. How should I be storing seeds that I plan to germinate in a couple months or a couple years?

With a nice collection of seeds starting, it would be nice if I could keep them around for years on end, each year selecting those varieties I'd like to grow and carrying the rest over indefinitely...could it work like that or is the loss of viability too quick? Or is it more like the other extreme...for varieties I want to keep in my collection, do I need to grow them out each year to produce new viable seed? And how is this done commercially - how long would a large scale vendor keep their seed around for?

Lots of questions here, and I understand there may be no simple answers. I guess I'm looking for a general idea of what to expect. Thanks!

This post was edited by maple_grove on Sat, Dec 15, 12 at 13:12

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