Storing seeds

The longer a seed is stored the more food is used in its survival; thus less food is available for the embryo at germination, and so germination becomes progressively less vigorous. Storage conditions should keep activity to a minimum.

Seeds should be stored dry in linen bags, paper bags or packets, or cellophane envelopes; plastics such as polythene are not advisable for flower and vegetable seeds as they tend to conserve dampness if it is present. For storage of seeds from trees and shrubs see page 32.

Always keep seeds dry and store them in a cool place such as a loft, cellar or possibly a refrigerator. If there is a danger of dampness from the environment, place the packets in a polythene bag for protection.

If properly dried, most flower and vegetable seeds can be stored for two or three years at least, because they store their foods as carbohydrates. Fleshy seeds, however, store their foods as oils or fats and are, therefore, short-lived even under the best conditions: do not expect them to survive for more than twelve months. It is probably best to store these seeds at the moisture content at which they are dispersed, so place them in a polythene bag in a refrigerator.

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