Preserving seedsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Organic Gardening, Sep/Oct 1996.
Having a heat wave? If so, we hope you're keeping your garden seed packets cool! Leftover (or newly ordered) seeds will germinate MUCH better next year if you keep them COOL AND DRY now and throughout the coming winter. In fact, just a tiny 10-degree F drop in storage temerature can DOUBLE the life expectancy of those seeds. For REAL long-term storage, Mary Albrecht, PhD, research floriculturalist at Kansas State University, recommends refrigeration; she explains that dried and refrigerated seeds will last 10 TIMES as long as packages seeds stored at room temperature. Here's Dr. Albrecht's advice. . .
Keep the seeds in airtight, moisture-proof containers (glass jars are best, because thin plastic bags are NOT totally moisture-proof). You can buy moisture-absorbing silica in a reusable canister with a color indicator that tells you when the gel has absorbed so much moisture that it needs to be heated to reactivate the silica. This and other seed-storing supplies are available from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Box 170, Earylsville, VA 22936; catalog $2. (Some people use powdered milk instead of silica but the milk is reportedly only about 10% as effective at absorbing moisture.)
Store your seeds and silica in the refrigerator if you have room, or in a cool closet or basement.
NEVER leave seed packets sitting around in the open! In just 1 HOUR on a humid day, unprotected seeds can absorb enough moisture to cut their storage life IN HALF!
If properly stored, most vegetable seeds will provide you with good germination for up to five years or more. The big exception, it seems, is onion seeed--it will germinate reliably well for only 2 years, even under the very best of storage conditions.
-- Old Git (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 02, 1999