How long do seeds last and what is the optimal way to store them? I ordered about 8 varieties this year and I only have room for about 20 plants, so I'll need to save some of the seeds for next year.
I keep mine in a cookie tin in the refrigerator. Been doing that for a decade or more.
They should keep for at least 5 years with no problems. My oldest to date has been 13 years and those were not given any special treatment. I think Carolyn kept them in film canisters under the bed 6 years for I kept them for another 7 in plastic pill bottles in the office. I still got 75% germinatiion after soaking overnight.Jim
How long do seed potatoes last?
How Long Do Vegetable Seeds Last?
How long do seeds last?
Nope, Carolyn didn't keep her tomato seeds in film cannisters under her bed for 6 Years. LOL Rather, she initially kept her saved seeds in plastic screw cap vials in 100 place boxes with no special storage at all, just ambient temps.
When she'd filled 5 of those boxes in the mid-90's she started saving her seeds just in regular so called invitation envelopes and still does.
Switching to first person now. I find that with the ambient temps and humidity where I grow my tomatoes does not require special storage conditions. With seeds 5 yo I expect at least 50% germination and often much more. For seeds about 5-10 yo I'd double sow. For over about 10 yo there are a few tricks to use to try to wake them up.
My best effort to date has been waking up 22 yo seed but the documented record is waking up 50 yo seed.
Being an SSE member I never bought much seed and have built up a huge seed collection without doing that. But the question is about purchased seed in packets.
Just seal them tightly when you're through sowing your seed, put the sealed packets in a sealed container in the fridge and that will be fine.
For longer term storage you can freeze the seeds but before you do that you need to get the moisture level of the seeds down to about 5-8 % and you can do that with silica gel.
Carolyn, who has never thrown out ONE saved seed since 1989 and darn good thing b'c some varieties disappear and some varieties due to improper seed saving morph into something that doesn't represent the variety as the original one. To date I've grown about 2500 different varieties but didn't save seed from all of them, but still, I've got one heck of a lot of saved seed out there in the back room. LOL
Okay Carolyn, I'm reviving an old thread on seed storage.
I'd still like to ask you about using a Food Saver; sucking the air out and vacuum-sealing them and then freezing them.
Is an oxygen-free environment healthy, and will they survive better in a non-frost-free freezer, rather than in the back of my fridge?
If the seeds are frozen they can't take up any oxygen anyway, so I don't see it as an issue.
Seeds need to be viable and able to respire, that is not frozen, before being able to take up oxygen.
Does that make sense?
Only if the seeds are to be kept for long term, maybe 10 plus years would I think that freezing them after lowering the moisture levels to 6-8%.