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Re: frozen seeds

  • Subject: [cg] Re: frozen seeds
  • From: Don Boekelheide dboekelheide@yahoo.com
  • Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 20:20:40 -0700 (PDT)

Regarding freezing seed for storage, I'd tend to agree
with Mike that the best strategy for most vegetable
seeds is to dry them well, then store them in the
fridge (not the freezer) in a sealable plastic bag. 

Here's a useful fact sheet -

But, in Atlanta, I suggest you call Bobby Wilson at
Cooperative Extension. He will know, or know who to

The key to storing seed is to induce dormancy and
avoid rotting. Thus,  you want to keep them cool and
dry. If it is for a longer period (months), you might
want to add a packet of desiccant/dehydrating compound
to the storage bag.

Some seeds (cukes) last a longer time, others (sweet
corn) don't, but no seed remains viable forever
(though some have remained viable a very long time, in
places like caves in the Sinai desert). After a
certain period, the dormancy deepens to the point that
the seed never wakes up. 

Freezing is actually necessary for some seeds, such as
some kinds of wildflowers and native woodies (not
veggies, though), to break dormancy. Freezing also
kills bugs. However, if seeds contain moisture,
freezing will cause them to expand, possibly rendering
them useless, and may cause other problems.

I personally store my seeds in plastic baggies either
in the fridge (expensive or rare seed) or in our
basement, which is always cool. I put each species in
a separate sandwich ziploc bag, then group the bags
(ie. lettuce; brassicas; etc) in gallon freezer

Cryogenic storage is another matter, far removed from
everyday community gardening. It calls for special
techniques and materials, and is expensive - it is
used to preserve seed of endangered species etc.

Good gardening!

Don Boekelheide
Urban Ministry Center
Charlotte NC

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