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Storing seeds in the refrigerator

 
Posts: 17
Location: western Central Texas Zone 8a/8b
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I was able to save a lot of seeds last year. I'm thinking about putting them in zip lock bags in the refrigerator.  Should I include an oxygen absorber?
 
steward
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Seeds are living, breathing beings. They need oxygen to survive. Skip any sort of oxygen absorber.

Water absorbers, or desiccants, are great for adding to seeds before storage.

 
Charlotte Boord
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Thank you. I could add a little cloth bag with rice, correct?
 
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I've always heard that fresh fruit should not be kept in the fridge with seeds, because fresh fruit emits ethylene gas which is a sprout inhibitor. Just in case, I'd make sure the seeds were in an airtight container.

Has anyone else heard the info about ethylene gas? I've always just kept my seeds in a dark, cool closet because I was afraid I'd ruin them in the fridge.
 
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I'm interested to see answers to this. My daughter saved seeds from NY when we moved to TN in 2019 & we haven't been able to plant them yet. She has stored them in zipper bags in a closed plastic container in a dark closet. We hope that they will be OK when we get a house of our own!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Charlotte Boord wrote:Thank you. I could add a little cloth bag with rice, correct?



Yes. You could also dry the rice in the oven at 200F for an hour before cooling and using as a desiccant for the seeds.
 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Seeds are living, breathing beings. They need oxygen to survive. Skip any sort of oxygen absorber.


Okay, this answers my question about vacuum packing seeds. I won't try that route!
 
pollinator
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I have always kept my seeds in a spare refrigerator. I pour them into mailing envelopes and do a filing cabinet style in a chill tray.
I get very good germination rates except for peas.  I never could get more than 50% rates for peas.
The refrigerator has a setting for outside humidity and I set it to very humid.  Envelopes stay dry and have never gotten molds...  
I try to use all saved seeds withing a couple years though.
 
pollinator
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Has anybody tried biochar as a desiccant? This came up today in the pdc I am taking. Thanks
 
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All of my seeds are in the freezer.  I bought a batch of 'survival seeds' about 10 years ago and it said to keep them in the freezer and they will last for decades.  LOL.  I had better try to sprout some of them and see for myself I guess.  Good questions and answers, thank you!
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The physical chemistry of freezing favors decades long viability for frozen seeds. I've had great germination on seeds frozen for 40 to 50 years.
 
pollinator
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I often freeze seeds after they are good and dry but I just do it to kill any possible bugs. I don't have room to actually store seeds in a fridge or freezer so I just leave each batch in there for a week or two.  

I use pop bottles for large seeds like beans and corn, they seal really well, are far lighter than glass and don't break. Even just in thick zip lock bags I have not had problems with seeds going bad, even after several years of storage.

I have a small underground seed vault for special and irreplaceable seeds. It's about three feet deep, seeds there are sealed in stainless steel canisters sealed with rubber o rings and wax or similarly in Pyrex test tubes with rubber stoppers.

I've found even small seeds like tomatoes and brassica have little loss of germination after five or more years. Something like onions or carrots are supposed to be less storable but I have never tried to keep them that long so I don't know.  

Generally though I try to produce new seeds every year. I don't see a lot of need to worry over pushing the limits of how long a seed will stay good. Those in the seed vault are there more for insurance, no matter what, rather than long term storage. Two or three years is really more than plenty for me even though from what I've seen most stay good far longer just sealed up good in a dark cool place.
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