• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • paul wheaton
  • Devaka Cooray
stewards:
  • Burra Maluca
  • Miles Flansburg
  • Julia Winter
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Anne Miller
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mark Tudor
  • Pearl Sutton

Seed Saving Procedures?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 14
Location: Western WA, Zone 8b
books dog
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello,
Today I was out harvesting seed from my garden. This is my first attempt at seed saving, and I read a source that said that I should give the seeds a 'bath' with a mix of bleach or apple cider vinegar with water. Is this necessary? Additionally, should I store seed in the fridge or just the pantry?
Thanks! All help is appreciated
 
Posts: 11
1
forest garden hugelkultur trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've never heard of this 'bath' method but would be interested to hear more about it.
I would definitely store them in the pantry and not the fridge. The fridge can cause moisture to condense even into sealed containers. Another trick is to save the silica packages that absorb moisture that are often included with shoes and other products if you buy such things, and throw them into your seed vault to negate any moisture from contacting your seeds.
 
Talasi Caslin
Posts: 14
Location: Western WA, Zone 8b
books dog
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks, Tas! I'll try the silica packets because I'm sure I have one somewhere. The seed-bathing source was kinda old and said to put it in w/ a nylon pouch of powdered milk, which was weird. I'd rather use silica, personally!
 
pollinator
Posts: 1214
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
232
books forest garden rabbit solar tiny house woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I normally don't clean my seeds with any solutions, but I take care not to save seed that has insects or mold. I dry them well in an airy location for at least a week, then finish the drying in a sealed jar that has either powdered milk or silica gel in permeable pouch (I use the toe portion of an old women's stocking). A week in the drying jar is sufficient for most seeds, though larger seeds like beans may need longer. The seed should be dry enough to feel quite hard.

Once dry, I store them in sealed Mylar pouches in the refrigerator. I used to use glass jars with a rubber gasket, but the pouches take up a lot less space. The idea is to prevent the seeds from absorbing moisture plus keeping them at a fairly constant cool temperature.
 
gardener
Posts: 5086
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
617
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Any seeds that come in a "jelly" like substance (tomatoes, melons, squash) are best fermented first so the seeds come out clean. Then I lay these on paper towels on a bakers or drying rack until they are dry (about 2 days in our house), from there they are checked for dryness then put either in jars with some desicant (silica gel or laboratory desicant (bigger hunks of silica gel with a color change). sealed, labeled and put on a shelf in the pantry (cool dark place).

Beans and others that come out clean are dried till hard then they are put in jars with desicant, sealed, labeled and put on the pantry shelf.

Hopefully Kola Joseph will chime in with his procedures, he is great at seed saving and creating land race seed, which is what I am currently working towards.

Redhawk
 
gardener
Posts: 3732
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
944
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know if I have much to add to such excellent responses...

I don't treat my seeds with any sorts of chemicals or washes other than plain old water.

Cold, dark, and dry are the preferred storage method for common temperate vegetable seeds. The colder, darker, and drier the better for long term viability.

If I had enough freezer space, I would store all of my seeds in the freezer. As it is, I just cycle them through the freezer for about a week, after they are very dry. Going through the freezer kills seed eating bugs. There are a lot of species of seed eating bugs! I would use desiccants before freezing if they were available to me. It's very dry here. If well dried, many species store for a long time on a shelf in the pantry: corn, squash, beans, brassicas, melons, beets, tomatoes, etc. Seeds for carrots, parsnips, and onions have shorter lifespans.

I typically store large quantities of seeds in glass jars, and smaller quantities in plastic bags inside glass jars.

altar.JPG
[Thumbnail for altar.JPG]
Seed storage
 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 1214
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
232
books forest garden rabbit solar tiny house woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cold, dark, dry. You hit the nail on the head, Joseph. Except for certain tropical seeds, I have found cold, dark, and dry to be the best method. I've never put any of my seeds into the freezer, mainly because I have a difficult time getting things truly dry where I am. My air has naturally extremely high humidity, so seeds begin to absorb water the moment they are out of a drying desiccant jar. Besides, my freezer space is very limited, while on the other hand I have adequate refrigerator room.

I have a chest style frig. The bottom maintains a steady temp just above freezing. So that's where I store seeds. And since I normally only open the frig morning and evening, the seeds aren't subject to fluctuating temperatures.

I'm using Mylar bags at the moment because of two reasons. First, the glass jars take up too much space in the frig. Second, I was seeing moisture reabsorption when I was using simple plastic baggies. Some day I hope to have a frig dedicated just to seed storage. When that happens, I'll probably go back to using glass mason jars. There's just something nice about being able to see my seeds.
 
pollinator
Posts: 449
Location: Western Kenya
55
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Seed saving procedures will vary a bit depending on what you are saving.  most seeds just need to be cleaned with regular water and thoroughly dried.   Tomatoes for example, as someone else mentioned, usually go through a fermenting process to break down the protective gel around the seed.  (That gel keeps the seed from germinating inside the moist fruit.). I am trying to figure out the best process for saving black nightshade seeds.  Seed to Seed just said to wash them clean and dry them... but as they are somewhat related to tomatoes, and they appear to have that gel surrounding the seeds... what to do?  I gave them a couple days soak, but did not let them sit long enough to get the mold film on top... neither one method nor the other... probably just ruined that batch.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 5086
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
617
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hau Maureen, Almost all of the nightshade family respond well to the fermenting method used for tomato seeds. Just dump the seed containing gel in a jar add water to cover and let it sit till the seeds are on the bottom of the jar.
I usually cap my jars just out of habit more than any purpose.

Redhawk
 
Maureen Atsali
pollinator
Posts: 449
Location: Western Kenya
55
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Redhawk, that's pretty much what I did.  Time will tell if the seeds are viable or not.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
gardener
Posts: 3732
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
944
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Maureen Atsali wrote:I gave them a couple days soak, but did not let them sit long enough to get the mold film on top... neither one method nor the other... probably just ruined that batch.



Life lives... In my experience, seeds don't care much about methods. They tend to grow in spite of anything that I do to try to "help". Life lives.

 
Maureen Atsali
pollinator
Posts: 449
Location: Western Kenya
55
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Joseph - I agree.  Somebody I heard recently (probably on YouTube )- maybe Mark Shephard - said if you are working really hard to keep something alive, you are growing the wrong thing.

Black nightshade has actually naturalized and is found growing wild here.  Its one of my favorite edible "weeds".  Normally we just squash the seeds and toss them out with the compost.  When I spread the compost, volunteers appear.

Now I want to try some purposeful cultivation.  I can buy seed on the market, but why buy seeds if I can use my own adapted variety?  I have tossed a bunch into my nursery bed, so we'll see.  Stuff is sprouting but I am not actually sure what's up yet... as I also tossed in tomatoes, eggplants, onions....  Haha, obviously I am not well organized.
 
master steward
Posts: 11971
Location: Left Coast Canada
2201
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Everything but tomatoes, I just dry the seeds.  Make sure they are really dry, then put them in glass jars in a cool place, or on the table where everyone can see how pretty these glass jars full of seeds are.  If I'm worried about bugs like pea weevils, then I freeze the jars for a week, thaw them for a week, freeze them again until a week before planting time.  

For tomatoes, I squeeze out the seeds and the pulp from the skin, add some water and ferment until the first bit of white mold appears on top (2 to 4 days).  Remove the mold and the floaty bits, wash the seeds in a fine mesh strainer, then dry.  The only time I've experienced some problems with seeds is when I planted some unfermented tomato seeds from the local seed exchange.  It's taken a bit of effort to remove the illness from the garden because some of the volunteer tomatoes still have it.  But by fermenting, none of my planted tomatoes have it.  

To add the extra work of a bleach bath or other chemical treatments, I think there needs to be a really good reason for it.  To me, seeds are a living thing.  They evolve to have a friendly relationship with the bacteria that naturally inhabit it.  Removing that bacteria without good reason might weaken the plants.  It certainly adds more work for the human.

I worry that all concern about saving seeds the proper way is too much.  People have been saving seeds simply without worrying about purity or bleach baths for over 6 thousand years.  Why in the last 10 years, has this suddenly become so important?  

For a wonderful introduction to seed saving check out Saving Seeds  As If Our Lives Depended on It by Dan Jason.
 
Posts: 239
Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't have a dehydrator {\it per se}.

What I have is a sauna.  I think I can set the temperature as low as 95F (which is measured about 4 feet off the floor, probably too close to the heater).  I collected my pea and pole bean pods (we are expecting frost this week).  I should dry them in the pod, or shell them and then dry them?  There is no air flow in the sauna, but it is very dry.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 5086
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
617
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It is easier to dry them in the pod then remove them and let them dry some more prior to putting them away for the winter.
 
pollinator
Posts: 924
Location: Longbranch, WA
71
chicken goat rabbit solar tiny house wofati
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Talasi Caslin wrote:Thanks, Tas! I'll try the silica packets because I'm sure I have one somewhere. The seed-bathing source was kinda old and said to put it in w/ a nylon pouch of powdered milk, which was weird. I'd rather use silica, personally!


A good source of the silica packets and containers at the same time is supplement pill bottles.  I peal off the label of the old bottle and put the desiccant pack and cotton padding from the new bottle in it then it is ready for seeds that are dry and be labeled and stored with my jarred goods.
 
pollinator
Posts: 543
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
70
bee chicken food preservation forest garden hugelkultur hunting
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I bought silica packets from the evil empire, they are quite cheap (like a penny per) and come dry. I have some strips that read moisture as well, and they came with one of the silica packet orders.

I was using old silica and trying to dry it in the oven but that is pretty unsafe unless they are in mylar.

Love that everyone is getting into seed saving!
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 5086
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
617
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You can get loose silica gel at hobby stores usually, it is used for drying flowers. These places usually have desicant jars with their glass bottles and rubber ring snap seal containers too. Look for these, they are pretty large mouthed with a lid that either has a ground glass rim or not, the rim will be rather wide surfaced.
Vaseline does a good job of making the traditional seal, just smear on the rim of the jar and set the lid on giving it a short twist.

Redhawk
 
Gordon Haverland
Posts: 239
Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
14
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
While I started at 95F (on the dial, but this is uncalibrated and likely not possible to calibrate).  I mean not possible in the sense that while the temperature at the probe may be 95F, where the sample (seeds) is could be quite different (but likely reproducible).  What I eventually ended up doing, was to use a setting of about 125F, and to turn the sauna on a couple of times in the daytime for maybe 1-1.5 hours, and then at night to open the door to allow water vapour to diffuse out.

Some of the pea pods split and ejected seeds quite a distance (2 feet or so) in this process.  I didn't see any bean pods do this.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 5086
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
617
books chicken dog duck fish forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur hunting pig
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Gordon, to keep seed from being ejected so far you might try putting a towel or piece of cloth over the drying pods, that way if they are ejected they will hit the cloth and not travel vast distances.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
Posts: 1223
Location: northern northern california
88
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
as mentioned above - it really depends on what you are saving seed from.
theres a lot of details to seed saving, and different plants need different things.
some can be stored for decades and still be good, others are only good for about a year, no matter what you do to them.

for most common veggies and herbs, as dry as possible is good. that takes me a couple of weeks to completely dry them.
for most seeds it's ok to go in the freezer, for some it's not good for them to freeze.
for most that go in the freezer, they must be completely dry.

there are degrees of dryness, even something that looks dry still has some moisture inside. for other types of seeds the freezer is the best, and they benefit from the freezing.
the fridge is good for just about anything, but the shelf is ok too.

but for many trees, fruits, and a lot of things that are tropical, these seeds do best stored sort of dry, almost dry i will call it. also stored in the fridge, as many need cold stratification.

then one must plant them very quickly, the seeds that like to never completely dry out usually need to be used within a year.
paw paw and citrus are 2 quick examples. most fruit tree seeds do best when stored almost dry, slightly moist inside but quickly dried out on the surface...
or best - planted immediately and never dried or stored.

i would never use bleach or vinegar on the seeds, i dont know anyone who recommends that either.

fermenting, which seems like the complete opposite, actually cleans the seeds really well. thats good for any kind of fruit, maters, squash, melons, berries.
 
Posts: 156
Location: 54 North BC Canada
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This site has both general and plant-specific information on seed-saving:

http://howtosaveseeds.com/index.php
 
yeah, but ... what would PIE do? Especially concerning this tiny ad:
Self-Sufficiency in MO -- 10 acres of Eden, looking for a renter who can utilize and appreciate it.
https://permies.com/t/95939/Sufficiency-MO-acres-Eden-renter
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!