Proper Winter Storage Of Seeds. How To Store Seeds? Terms, Conditions

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Proper Winter Storage Of Seeds. How To Store Seeds? Terms, Conditions
Proper Winter Storage Of Seeds. How To Store Seeds? Terms, Conditions
Video: Proper Winter Storage Of Seeds. How To Store Seeds? Terms, Conditions
Video: 3 Steps to Store and Keep Seeds Fresh for Up to 5 Years 2023, February

Completed autumn work. The vegetable garden is ready for the next season. It's time to prepare for spring work, growing seedlings, sowing early crops in open ground, hotbeds and greenhouses. On winter evenings, with the rustle of rain in the south or snowfall in the middle and northern regions, you can take seeds.

Vegetable seeds
Vegetable seeds

Usually, already in late autumn, at the end of all harvesting work, summer residents and gardeners draw up a list of crops, look at the proposed varietal seeds or hybrids on the appropriate sites and select for purchase and sowing, planting material that they liked according to the description or stories of a neighbor.

Remember! Only with proper storage, seed material will give friendly shoots of healthy seedlings. Therefore, it is necessary to familiarize yourself in advance with the change in biochemical processes in seeds during storage, the terms and conditions of storage, economic longevity (germination) of seeds of various crops. Violation of storage rules will lead to a sharp decrease in germination, damage to various diseases and, as a result, to obtaining a low-quality low yield with high material and labor costs.


  • Biochemical processes in seeds during storage
  • Seed storage methods
  • Where to store seeds at home?
  • Terms of preserving seed germination
  • A few rules to note

Biochemical processes in seeds during storage

Seeds distinguish between biological and economic longevity of germination ability. Biological longevity is the main interest of biologists, but economic longevity is constantly of interest to practitioners. It is the economic longevity that determines the conditional germination of seeds, which sharply decreases when storage requirements are violated.

Reasons for loss of germination

The main reasons for the loss of seed germination are considered to be an increased moisture content in seeds and air, as well as elevated temperatures in the room where the seeds are stored.

The seeds are very hygroscopic. They are able to absorb water vapor from the air and release vaporous moisture into the environment. Under optimal conditions, a healthy equilibrium "respiration" of seeds occurs (how much you give - and take as much). The level of such balanced respiration depends on the biological characteristics of the seeds and is determined by the content of starch and crude fat in the composition, the size and density of the seed covers.

When the moisture content of the seeds is within 6-12%, their respiration is insignificant. An increase in humidity by 1-2% sharply increases the respiration rate of seeds and their temperature. Biochemical processes begin, which lead to the loss of dry matter by them. As a result, the germination rate is sharply reduced, the seeds become moldy, they can rot and die, or significantly reduce the germination rate.

For example, in cabbage, an increase in seed moisture by 2% of the optimal one speeds up respiration by 27 times, and by 4% - 80 times. In practice, the seeds begin to germinate out of time and, of course, die. The optimal storage temperature for most cruciferous, pumpkin, and nightshade crops is 10-12 ºС with a relative humidity of no more than 60% in the room.

For representatives of the family of umbrella, celery, lily, pumpkin, some cruciferous and solanaceous, during storage, without changing the temperature, the air humidity is lowered to 50%. Well-dried seeds do not lose their germination and are well preserved at home at temperatures from +1 ºС to -5 ºС.

Seed storage methods

The seeds are stored in an open and closed way.

With the open method, the seeds are stored for the entire shelf life in a container that easily lets air and moisture to the seeds. Such containers are containers made of natural fabrics - linen or jute, sewn in 1-2 layers (sacks, sacks, sacks, etc.).

With a closed storage method (less common), the seeds are placed in a moisture-proof container. The soft container has 2 layers. The upper is usually made of fabric and the inner liner is polyethylene. The moisture content of seeds in polyethylene inserts does not exceed 6-9%. The polyethylene liner with seeds is tightly tied to protect against moisture penetration, and the upper fabric liner is simply tightened or tied with side ears.

Antique Seed Storage Box
Antique Seed Storage Box

Where to store seeds at home?

At home, seeds are best stored in heavy paper bags placed in plastic containers or small bottles. Incompletely used seeds are left in purchased bags, carefully rolled up and protected from moisture. To store them, it is best to sprinkle a little dried flour, cornstarch or other moisture-absorbing material on the bottom of a glass jar. Place the packed bags on top and close the lid tightly.

It is best to store seeds on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator or in a separate cool room. Some well-dried seeds (dill, fennel, carrots, parsley, lettuce) are conveniently stored in glass jars. In dense foil bags, the seeds suffocate after 1-2 years and lose their germination or die altogether.

Terms of preserving seed germination

The timing of the preservation of seed germination is indicated on the label along with the name, year of collection, class. These data are necessary to obtain full-fledged seedlings, since when stored longer than the prescribed period, germination sharply decreases, and seedlings have a very low immunity to diseases and pests.

The class indicated on the label characterizes the percentage of seed germination. Seeds of the first class have the highest germination rate, which is 60-95% for different crops. Seeds of the second class - 40-85%. The germination rate will help the gardener more accurately determine the planting density of the crop.

With proper storage, vegetable seeds retain high germination in the following periods:

  • 1-2 years: celery, chives, parsnips, corn, onions, leeks
  • 2-3 years: lovage, parsley, dill, spinach, sorrel, leeks, coriander,
  • 3-4 years: lettuce, carrots, sweet peppers, black onions, fennel, peas,
  • 3-5 years old: kohlrabi, turnips, beets, cauliflower, eggplant,
  • 4-5 years: tomatoes, radishes, radishes, rutabagas, white cabbage, broccoli,
  • 4-6 years old: beans, beans,
  • 6-8 years: cucumbers, squash, zucchini, melons, watermelons.

The indicated periods of preservation of germination of spicy-flavoring (green) and vegetable crops are not limiting. For well-dried seeds, temperature changes are not terrible, but if the moisture content of the seeds is higher than the critical one, then at low temperatures the seeds will become moldy due to a violation of the rhythm of respiration (they get more than they can give) and then the duration of germination will decrease sharply. Under optimal conditions, seeds over the indicated periods can remain germinating for another 3-5, and some (tomatoes) for 10 years.

A few rules to note

Seeds purchased from the counter in winter must be immediately put in the refrigerator or left in a cold place. In a warm room, cold bags collect condensation, which can affect seed moisture levels.

In the northern regions, it is better to buy seeds from the previous year's harvest. This is due to the fact that, due to the short summer, the seeds are harvested unripe and ripened indoors. Therefore, freshly harvested seeds have a lower germination and germination energy (germination).

In the south, the difference in germination of 1-2 year old seeds is practically indistinguishable. But the purchased fresh seeds must be warmed up at home at a temperature not higher than 30-35 ºС before laying them for storage.

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