How to store seeds long term?

Hi Fellow Wrigglers!

Another week has past and it's time for another Wriggley Article. In this article, we intend to walk you through our personal seed storage method to ensure that seeds are stored in optimal conditions so that their lifespan is maximized.

Ensuring that they are stored in optimal conditions is an economical and excellent way to continue the propagation of a hard-to-find plant; think exotic chilli seeds haha (promise we're not biased)!

In general, seeds stored in a cool and dry environment will survive longer than those stored in a warm and wet environment. In fact, the viability of seeds decreases by half for every 1% increase in moisture or for every 5 degrees (Celsius) increase in temperature.

Now that we are familiar with the optimal conditions required for seed storage, how do we process our newly harvested fruit so that we replicate a similar environment for our very own seeds.

Before we proceed further, this article would be more meaningful if you have a basic understanding of the seed harvesting process. We have previously explored how to harvest our very own seeds in an earlier article. Do check it out as there is valuable information that is highly relatable to this article.

Biquinho seeds being harvested

The seeds obtained from our harvest would have to go through the following process:

  1. Drying (to reduce the moisture content)

  2. Storage (dim, cool and dry environment)

There are two approaches to drying your seeds. We have tried both methods in Singapore they both work fine.

Firstly, you can wrap them in paper bags or paper towel and place them in a dim, cool and dry location for approximately 4 - 7 days to allow for the seeds to dry out and attain its optimal moisture content; dry. One way to test if the seeds have dried out sufficiently is to perform the "snap test":

  1. Hold the seed between your index finger and your thumb with both hands

  2. Bend and snap the seed!

Example of successful and failed snap tests

Seeds that have been sufficiently dried would snap into two whereas those that still have significant moisture within would only bend and not break.

Biquinho seeds after 7 days of drying

Alternatively, you can also expedite the drying process by drying the seeds in a food dehydrator. If this is the preferred approach, it is important to ensure that the temperature in the dehydrator does not go above 38 degrees Celsius as this may kill the seeds. Anecdotally, it worked extremely well for us when we performed the drying process in a dehydrator at a temperature of 35 degrees for approximately 3 - 5 hours.

Seeds patiently awaiting their spa treatment

Once the seeds have been dried out, it is important to ensure that it stays dry. As Singapore is an extremely humid country, the moisture content in our poor seeds is guaranteed to rise if left exposed to the ambient environment. To combat this, we store our seeds in an airtight container. To further eliminate the chance of moisture ingression, we always have a pack of silica gel accompany our seeds to ensure their safety.

Fun fact: Silica gel's high specific surface area allows it to adsorb water readily, making it a useful desiccant (Protector of Seeds!)

If you have purchased seeds from us and have been wondering about the little balls in the tube, this is the exact reason why we pack our seeds in little tubes accompanied by cute desiccant gels - to prolong their lifespan!

Now that we have addressed the issue regarding moisture, we are left to deal with the warm Singapore weather. At the Wriggley Farm, we store them in a fridge that is fully dedicated to seed storage. The fridge is calibrated to have an equilibrium temperature of 5 degrees and the dark environment keeps our seeds fully at ease whilst waiting to be shared with you guys.

However, not to worry! We previously stored our seeds at the back of our kitchen fridge and it worked perfectly fine too; except for when our family members complain regarding the lack of fridge space haha!

So there you have it, a short and sweet article showing our simple yet effective approach to storing seeds. And through this, we hope that you would be able to harvest and store your very own seeds and live the urban gardening dream.

If you have a separate approach of harvesting or storing your seeds, do share with us! We are always excited to learn new things and sharing would only benefit the wriggley community.

Peace and Love

The Wriggley Farm

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