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Old 02-23-2017, 08:56 AM
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Default Germinating Decade Old Seeds



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The question is, how long can seeds be stored in a freezer? I set out to answer that question.

I recently made a video about saving seeds. I then posted the video to reddit.com/r/preppers/.

Saving seeds video:


Germinating video:


Planted the seeds:


Squash large enough to harvest.


A lot of people said seeds would not store in the freezer. One person said,

Quote:
I hope OP knows that you can't "stockpile" seeds as they expire like any other grain. In fact, other grains are processed, whereas seeds are not, so seeds have a VERY short lifespan.
Another person said,

Quote:
Since you have no idea how seed saving works, most seeds have a life of 1-5 years.

<snip>

You could easily test this yourself if you've ever done any gardening. Just find a seed packet from 3-5 years ago, even if it contains 50+ seeds, and you'll be lucky if you get even a few sprouts.
Their comments clearly came from people who had no idea what they were talking about. So I set out to germinate decade old seeds that I have had in the deep freezer.

Not only have the seeds germinated, they are germinating at almost 100%.

The exception is the cilantro seeds, they do not seem to be doing anything.

The squash seems to be a little slow, but it is getting there.

Corn and sunflower seeds were the first to germinate.

Check out the attached picture. The dates on the seed packets are clearly visible. The sprouting seeds in the bottom left are sunflower seeds.
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Last edited by kev; 10-20-2017 at 03:49 PM..
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:14 AM
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I guess they never heard of the global seed vault in Svalbard. Seeds can last hundreds of years and even thousands even out of the vault
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:32 AM
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Default storing seeds

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I guess they never heard of the global seed vault in Svalbard. Seeds can last hundreds of years and even thousands even out of the vault
When I brought that up, couple of people said you can not replicate the seed vault in your basement.

The global seed vault is designed to store seeds for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years. All I want to do is store seeds for a few years, maybe a decade or two.
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:55 AM
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Although it's been a while since have been in full garden mode......I would have no problem using older seeds.....
Just personal experience......and as gardener that can't stand to toss a 10 year old $.19 cent package of seeds....

The germination rate goes down as each year passes till you get about 40 percent...that seem to not make a difference.......Plant more....thin if necessary..

The only seed that didn't germinate were dipper gourds...seed still in the gourd.....that were 20 years old.

A true gardener will read, study, plot and plan...never completely believing anyone till they try whatever themselves....

They do what feels right.

My vid players are flaky for some reason....so didn't watch to vid.....I store my seeds in metal candy/cookies tins.

PS...Got the vid to play.....just want to make a couple or comments.....
1) Yup a mess....Some one with ODC...would drive them nuts....LOL

2) Less is more....some times those little packages make more sense as that all you are going to use at a time.

3) Storing bulk seeds is smart....with fresh stock.....use some for this year.... store the rest...dated and frozen

4)To many people buy bulk seeds plant one year....have way to much to take care of...or seed get tossed....waste of money.

5) Plant what you can take care of.......
Everyone is an expert gardener in the spring with a freshly tilled blank slate piece of dirt....only lose it when summer drought and weeds take over.

6) Feed stores that will allow you to fill your own packages...priceless.

My warm and fuzzies are, seeds, ammo, and a big wood pile.

Thanks for the vid.
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Old 02-23-2017, 02:00 PM
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Great video! I am starting my stockpile this year. I plan to mark the year on each package. At the end of the year I will place all seeds from each year in their own large marked bag. I hope it will help me to use the oldest seed up first.

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Old 02-23-2017, 02:06 PM
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2 years ago i grew tomatoes from seed given to me from a 90something year old lady thats been in freezer since early 1980's...most of them sprouted.thats 30some years right there.
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Old 02-23-2017, 02:12 PM
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Coriander "Cilantro" seed (much like luffa seed) takes a long time to germinate. It's not uncommon for it to take three weeks or more to pop out.

We "cool store" seeds for the next season sow, and deep freeze the long term candidates.
When kept in proper condition, long term frozen seeds have very positive germination rates.

Some seeds like peppers and onion tend to be less forgiving over time.
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Old 02-23-2017, 03:48 PM
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Great videos.......seeing is believing.

I have some seeds I am wanting to store. How did you package them before putting in the freezer?
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Old 02-23-2017, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kev View Post
When I brought that up, couple of people said you can not replicate the seed vault in your basement.[...]
I did a LOT of research on this. Yes, I think you can replicate it very closely. About the only thing that you can't replicate exactly is the extremely stable temps they have. And maybe not as low of a temp -- don't remember their temps exactly.

The trick is to get the seeds very dry so that the expanding water while freezing doesn't bust them up. This is essentially what the seed vaults do. They get them very dry, seal them completely from moisture, and keep them at very low, stable temps. Lots of studies done on this.

One of these places uses test tubes. They fill a test tube about 1/3 full of seeds, then stuff 1/2" or so of cotton ball in there, then fill it about 1/3 full of desiccant beads, then melt seal the open end of the tube with a bunsen burner so that the contents are completely sealed in glass. Then they let the seed sit for a while to desiccate before putting them in the freezer. Or on the shelf in their glacial ice cave in Antarctica or whatever.

You can do this too, but it's easier to use little mylar pouches and small paper envelopes (coin envelopes). Put your seeds in the paper envelope, pour some desiccant in the mylar pouch, put your seed filled envelope in the pouch and seal the pouch with a heat sealer. Let it sit on the shelf for a couple of weeks before putting in the freezer. Approximately the same as the test tubes, but easier. Mylar is like the glass -- the moisture barrier. The envelope is like the cotton wad -- separates seed from desiccant and also allows moisture to move from seeds to desiccant. Sure, glass is a better barrier, but thick mylar is still very good (especially if you cram all the mylar pouches inside a mason jar and/or an ammo can -- a 50 cal ammo can will hold 6 quart jars tightly).

A frost free freezer is better because the temps are more stable (no defrost cycle). Even better if the freezer is full of stuff (if nothing else but frozen jugs of water).

Hope that helps.


--- Lobanz
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Old 02-23-2017, 05:31 PM
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Keep in mind if going the freezer method......SHTF....power goes down. thaws out....all at once.

Cover your butt....and have alternatives........
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Old 02-23-2017, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol View Post
Keep in mind if going the freezer method......SHTF....power goes down. thaws out....all at once.

Cover your butt....and have alternatives........
That is one reason why I stockpile so many seeds.

Let's say the power goes out today, I plant a pound of seeds for my spring garden. This leaves me with 3 or so pounds left.

Let's say next summer I plant part of the remaining seed. Next year I plant more than one pound, maybe a pound and a half. Plus I save part of the seeds from this year.

I need to take inventory, but I like to keep enough seeds to plant several years for a small family.
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Old 02-23-2017, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol View Post
Keep in mind if going the freezer method......SHTF....power goes down. thaws out....all at once.

Cover your butt....and have alternatives........
agree they would thaw out all at once ,,but unless they got damp/wet from it they are still stored the best way up to that point [freezer quits] than any other way [for best long term germination rates]

and as long as you stored then in something water tight then simple setting on a shelf in a cool dark place would keep them till you stood a chance of getting them planted and some as long as several years after the freezer quit

the post above yours ,that I quoted,, way of saving seeds could probable be submerged in water and still keep the seeds as good as they possible could be kept
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kev View Post
That is one reason why I stockpile so many seeds.

Let's say the power goes out today, I plant a pound of seeds for my spring garden. This leaves me with 3 or so pounds left.

Let's say next summer I plant part of the remaining seed. Next year I plant more than one pound, maybe a pound and a half. Plus I save part of the seeds from this year.

I need to take inventory, but I like to keep enough seeds to plant several years for a small family.
it doesnt take much to restock your seed supply. i do this myself. i also keep my seeds from various years labeled. i even take a couple seeds from each year and grow plants so they can pollinate each other to keep genes correct...besides keeping items away from other plants they can cross with. i do this and save seed again for storage. i try and do one item per year to save seed from. some items i just let go to seed and it falls to ground and use it like that...like summer heat bolting lettuce..just let it bolt and produce seed and shake pods a bit after matured out then till it all under...come fall rains you will get a nice stand of volnteer leaf lettuce..i do black seeded simpson and butter crunch this way.

also keeping seeds can be done in various ways that many dont realize.my grandfather was a seed collector.growing up in depression made him a collector of everything.i grew up seeing seeds all over the place..in barn,in the house,in work buildings etc.he collected seeds and filled old JFG coffee jars...lol..he died in 09 and i still find seed he collected.i have a jar of seed looks like miniature teeth...i know what it is in my minds eye but cant recall name.

i been breeding a particular tomato over 20 years and all i do to seed is dry on paper towel and once dry i fold up and either put in an envelope or a baggie and stick in kitchen cabinet..thats it...never had a seed failure and also i have never,ever done this thing where people show fermenting tomato seed then drying.also if you want to seed come up fast stick them in a egg incubator..i have had seed sprout in as little as 24 hours.

my biggest seed failure as far as age goes has been lettuce.thats why i do the planting directly from pod instead of collecting it.its not worth it since lettuce seems to not 'keep ' very long or well...at least for me in the ways i do it.

i love seed collecting...lol..cant ya tell !
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:47 PM
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the easy way to get huge stockpiles of seeds is to grow them as plants,,beans corn peas squash tomatoes radishes ect produce hundreds of times their own seed and for the most part are easy to save ,, take corn one ear has how many seeds on it ,,,or a single bean plant puts out how many seeds,,

what I am trying to say is it don't take much area to make a huge seed harvest,,and as far as I know [might be wrong ] but most can be eaten so not only do you have seed ,,,but if needed they are food as well [given they are grown or not treated seed ]
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:49 PM
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I'm sure y'all do have options and back up plans........
So tried to add something to the conversation.

Just didn't want someone read the freezing part and put all their eggs (seeds).

Thought I had posted earlier , but I store my seeds both in a freezer containers and metal cook/candy tins.

Have them in a plastic tote....mice ate a hole in it and cleaned it out.
Also a bushel of sweet corn ...still on the cob.
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:56 PM
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heres radish seed collecting...bundled and hung to dry.





hung to dry


i do burgundy okra too...i let it go and produce as many pods and mature out.around end of november they are ready...just a few plants produced about half gallon bag of seed...enough for years of okra gardening...lol
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:57 PM
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I save my tomato seeds the same way elkhound mentioned, I think the fermentation process just keeps them viable longer but I usually use all my seeds saved from the previous years.

I'd love to know how to collect and save seeds from other plants if you have some tips though.
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Old 02-23-2017, 07:03 PM
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seed drift talking here..i cant help it...lol

heres burgundy okra..i think its a beautiful plant with a beautiful flower.it takes a long time for me to get okra mature enough to flower for whatever reason.so okra is always item harvested towards end of garden season for me.



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Old 02-23-2017, 07:13 PM
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folks seed saving,harvesting and collecting and storage is not rocket science...simple peasant farmers have done it for 1,000's of years and ALL of us can do it to some sucess if we just try and stop listening to nay sayers and 'the pros'.

they stored seeds in clay pots,gourd pots and in their grainery where wheat and corns and other various items were stored from protection from pests and the weather.

items like potatoes,garlic and sweet taters come from the tubers so you need themselves to carry over each year to replant.many people over look that fact.i.e. last fall i planted over 450 garlic...just for that planting it took about a 100 stalks or a bit under 100.i was getting 4 and 5 cloves to a head....so one thing you need to keep in mind is amount of each item you want to plant back each year.
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Old 02-23-2017, 07:22 PM
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We freeze the ones we value the most but I have thawed up sweet corn seed, planted what I needed and then re freezed.......... never seemed to hurt. The moisture is what I think we are trying to avoid. Find a nice dry place.
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