Many growers who are working with smaller indoor spaces still want to save money by buying larger numbers of seeds. There are also commercial growers who need to store their seeds before sending them out or in order to complete a quick crop turn over. In fact, there are lots and lots of different scenarios that may result in needing to store seeds. If we aren’t careful with seeds however, we can ruin them by storing them improperly. How long can we keep seeds happy and healthy for, and what is the best way to store them? Here are the basic facts of seed storage and safety.
The thing that is extremely important to remember is that the seeds are alive. They can’t just be chucked in a drawer until they are needed. While the plants are in seed form they are resting and need somewhere safe to slumber. If we aren’t careful with our sleeping seeds they can definitely die and will no longer be able to germinate and grow. We also need to remember that if we give them the opportunity they will germinate and try to start their lives as plants. If they germinate by accident and aren’t given a place to spread their roots, they will die. We also need to remember that the way the seeds are stored will affect the final plant. Even if they still germinate and take root, they may not produce as much of a yield or as high quality a plant if they are stored badly. This means that one of the most important aspects of seed storage is the environment.
There is a lot to consider when storing seeds, especially when we are talking about where and how to keep them fresh.
One of the vital things to consider with seed storage is the temperature. In order to germinate seeds need to be warm and damp, so we want to avoid that. The ideal temperature for seed storage is around 6 degrees celsius. Most growers and breeders will store their seeds in a refrigerator or chilled unit, but this of course depends on where in the world you are. It may not be necessary, but we need to make sure they don’t get any higher than 8 degrees. It’s perfectly fine to keep seeds in the fridge at home as long as we can be sure that they won’t come into contact with too much moisture.
The seeds also need to stay dry, as we know seeds require moisture to germinate. It is best to keep seeds in a sealed container. Some sources recommend Eppendorf Tubes, a piece of scientific equipment used to store liquid samples. This means they are extremely safe and hermetically sealed, a perfect place to keep seeds. With the seeds, it can be a good idea to pop in a few silica gel balls to ensure no moisture from the air in the tube affects the seeds. Any tightly sealed container will do but it is always a good idea to use silica gel separated from the seeds by some kitchen roll or cotton wool.
The other aspect of seed germination is light, once the seeds have passed the first stages they need light to take root. It’s important that seeds be kept in the dark to avoid any unwanted growth attempts. If they are exposed to too much light in seed form they will also lose a lot of their vigour when it does come time to germinate them. Even if they do manage to grow into a full plant they will be unproductive and unhealthy. It can be a good idea to place your sealed tube into a box to ensure the seeds don’t come into contact with light. Using these boxes will also make sure that the seeds don’t get accidentally squished.
Before germinating and planting the first round of seeds it can be a good idea to inspect the seeds that have been delivered to decide which to plant and which to store. If there are any seeds that have taken damage to the outer shell they should be planted rather than stored. If the protective outer shell is cracked the seeds will not store as well and are more likely to take damage during storage.
Those three points are the main ones but there are other things to consider when storing seeds. Seeds may not need to go in the fridge if they are not being stored for a long period. If they are just being stored for a quick crop turn over they can just be stored in a dark cupboard as long as the temperature around them isn’t too high.
We also need to be careful of a few other potential hazards during storage. If any insects wiggle their way into the container the seeds will be completely useless and will no longer grow into plants. If the seeds are being stored somewhere where beasties might have access it is sometimes recommended to use a kind of sand with a fossilised algae base called diatomaceous earth, or D.E. This stuff should keep all insects at bay and keep the seeds safe from invaders. It is also a good idea to keep containers out of the way of rodents who may work their way in and make a snack of the seeds.
Seeds can usually be stored for a surprisingly long time considering that they are living organisms. If all of these tips are followed and the seeds are stored properly they can last up to 5 years without becoming damaged. It is even possible to freeze seeds in airtight containers if we want to keep stock aside for future years. However, we should only freeze seeds if absolutely necessary as there is a higher chance of seed damage due to potential damp. It could also be a good idea to vacuum pack the seeds to ensure they stay completely dry.
Remember: It is illegal to germinate cannabis seeds in many countries including the UK. It is our duty to inform you of this fact and to urge you to obey all of your local laws to the letter. The Vault only ever sells or sends out seeds for souvenir, collection or novelty purposes.
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