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Sweet corn seed viability

 
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If this would be better in the seeds forum, I can do that, but it is corn specific.  

My question is how to store sweet corn seeds for maximum shelf life viability.  I know they typically have a shelf life of about 2 years, but I'm trying to extend this viability as long as I can to maintain more varieties.  Currently, my plan is to dry the seeds completely & store them in jars with a desiccant pack.  I do have a mini-fridge/freezer in the garage that I can store them in, but I honestly don't know what temp is best fridge or freezer, or in the basement which is pretty stable?  

Also, is my understanding correct in that the seed uses the stored starches to remain viable, as in that's where the seed gets the energy to sprout & push through the soil?  Is there more starch in kernels from certain parts of the ear?  I would imagine that since the kernels from near the tip are generally smaller, I wouldn't really want those for long term storage.  The kernels from the bottom are a bit larger, so may be a better option, but I think I'd want to save the more uniform sized seeds from the middle section for consistency.  

How long have you had sweet corn stored before it wouldn't germinate?  I've had an unopened 4 year old packet of seed stored in a dark drawer, but in wildly fluctuating garage temps that failed to germinate at all.  I'm open to experienced feedback.  Thank you.
 
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Cy Cobb wrote:If this would be better in the seeds forum, I can do that, but it is corn specific.  

My question is how to store sweet corn seeds for maximum shelf life viability.  I know they typically have a shelf life of about 2 years, but I'm trying to extend this viability as long as I can to maintain more varieties.  Currently, my plan is to dry the seeds completely & store them in jars with a desiccant pack.  I do have a mini-fridge/freezer in the garage that I can store them in, but I honestly don't know what temp is best fridge or freezer, or in the basement which is pretty stable?  

Also, is my understanding correct in that the seed uses the stored starches to remain viable, as in that's where the seed gets the energy to sprout & push through the soil?  Is there more starch in kernels from certain parts of the ear?  I would imagine that since the kernels from near the tip are generally smaller, I wouldn't really want those for long term storage.  The kernels from the bottom are a bit larger, so may be a better option, but I think I'd want to save the more uniform sized seeds from the middle section for consistency.  

How long have you had sweet corn stored before it wouldn't germinate?  I've had an unopened 4 year old packet of seed stored in a dark drawer, but in wildly fluctuating garage temps that failed to germinate at all.  I'm open to experienced feedback.  Thank you.



I just planted sweet corn last week from 2019 and it is up and growing.  I just kept it in envelopes in the refrigerator.  For long term storage, I think your idea of a jar with desiccant is the way to go.  I found plans online for using a bicycle air pump to create a vacuum in the container along with desiccant.  I think that, along with keeping them in a dark place is the route I would take.  Looking forward to answers about the best temperature.
 
Cy Cobb
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Trace Oswald-
I need to look into vacuum sealing.  I think that would just help stabilize everything for longer.  What variety of sweet corn did you plant from 2019?  
 
Trace Oswald
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Cy Cobb wrote:Trace Oswald-
What variety of sweet corn did you plant from 2019?  



I planted a couple kinds that my lady just grabbed off the shelf at Walmart, along with Lofthouse 'Astronomy Domine' and "High Carotene"
 
Cy Cobb
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I've not seen high carotine before, but I assume it's a more nutritious orangeish variety?  I will eventually add some color from the multicolored corns to my mix, but I want to play around with what I've currently got for awhile before I do.
 
Trace Oswald
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Cy Cobb wrote:I've not seen high carotine before, but I assume it's a more nutritious orangeish variety?  I will eventually add some color from the multicolored corns to my mix, but I want to play around with what I've currently got for awhile before I do.



That's exactly right.  It was developed by Joseph Lofthouse.  His seeds are still available from some sellers, Experimental Farm Network is one of them.
 
Cy Cobb
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I think I read somewhere on one of the seed sites that Joseph Lofthouse is not offering his seeds for sale right now, but I did notice some of the genes are available through other growers (if not sold out, which most seems to be).  I checked the link, and the high carotine is sold out, but Astronimy Domine is still available.  I hope there will be some more sweet corn types available in a few years, but I may have to swap to get them from other peoples' landrace stock.  Right now, I have a couple strain projects I'm working on that I want to refine over time, but definitely want to add more nutrition that the high carotine & multi-colored varieties bring.  Thanks!
 
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