As we get ready for another gardening season here is a couple tips on how to make your leftover seed last till next year. when selecting a storage place keep the following in mind and although you may have the ideal storage conditions try to find a place that is as close to the ideal as possible.
To store seed you need to have:
1. A cool storage place. The ideal temperature is below 50 degrees, but we like to store our seed closer to 35 degrees.
2. Another very important thing to consider is moisture. Moisture is a very good thing when you want your seed to germinate (sprout), but it is a very bad thing when you do not want your seed to germinate. keep humidity to a minimum and avoid any direct contact with water or water vapor.
3. Light. keep your seed in a dark place. The darker the better.
4. This one should be obvious: do not allow your seed to make contact with soil. although sometimes seed may last when in contact with soil it is a bad idea.
5. You need at least some air in your storage area. Seeds do breath, even though it is a very tiny amount of air that they require.
There you go combine all the above and your seed should last for years. After all, they have grown seed taken from the Pyramids. How did those seeds last all those centuries? Because of all the above.
Now for a brief description on why seed likes to be stored in the above conditions:
Every seed contains a small quantity of water. if that seed is in a hot place it "sweats" and if it runs out of water you got a dead seed. if a seed is exposed to enough moisture it will begin to germinate (sprout) and as that seed sprouts it will not have the necessities of life and it will quickly die. It is the same thing with light. Light helps the seed to germinate and it also causes the seed to "sweat." Soil has the ability to contain moisture and transport that moisture to the seed. just place a peace of paper on some soil and come back and check on it in the morning and chances are that the paper will be moist. especially if it is not in a container.
If you follow all of the above you will greatly increase your chances that your old seed will be as good as new for several seasons. I have witnessed seed that is almost 30 years old have a germination percentage of 90% or more. It was stored properly and it paid off.