Long Term Seed Storage

Care for Your Precious Genetics
Care for Your Precious Genetics

Greetings all of you out there here with me today in SKUNK-Land. I’m going to share several aspects regarding storing your seeds longer term, like for decades, and still getting 75% and better, germination rates (viability). It doesn’t matter if you are storing 10 seeds or 10,000 seeds, both are easy to do right, so they will last and last.

Anytime in the first 10 years of storage you can expect the same germination rates you would have gotten germinating them immediately. But if you want to, I’ll show you how to save them for 3 decades and beyond, and still have decent germination rates. Let’s do it…

Storing Commercial vs. Personal Seeds

Just Use Smaller Plastic Containers for Storing Smaller Numbers of Seeds
Just Use Smaller Plastic Containers for Storing Smaller Numbers of Seeds

Here’s a stone-cold fact I know to be true: cannabis grown using synthetic nutrients produces inferior seeds for long term storage, and their shelf-life is considerably shorter, regarding viability compared to organic or all-naturally grown cannabis; no matter how well they are stored. My advice, if you plan to make some personal seeds, is to do it growing your cannabis organically/all-naturally.

Likewise, if purchasing seeds, verify the breeder uses all-natural or organic growing methods. Most of the seed buyers out there (who are at least semi-serious) normally get enough seeds of any given variety so they can grow some now, and put some away for the future; and it’s nice to know your seeds will still be wicked viable whenever that future date arrives. So, your number one mission when selecting seeds for long term storage is to make sure those seeds were made using organic/all-natural methods.

Storage Environments

The better storage environments are dark or dim, plus cool and dry—like a root-cellar or a basement. Places like these are cool and insulated so the ambient temperatures only change a couple of degrees in any 24-hour period. This is a very important aspect, temperature swings cannot be tolerated here for true long-term storage; basically, the temps should always stay consistently cool. Warming and cooling will result in a faster loss of viability in the stored seeds by a large percentage.

Single Variety Bulk Seeds Stored Frozen
Single Variety Bulk Seeds Stored Frozen

The best choice for long term storage is refrigeration, and for super long storage, freezing. Frozen seeds stored correctly, are normally still over 50% viable after 30 years—yowza! Refrigerated seeds stored correctly are normally still at least 70% viable after 15-20 years. Your number two mission is locking down a good environment for your seeds to be stored in.

 

Storage Container Choices

Some of My Container Choices for Seed Storage
Some of My Container Choices for Seed Storage

I always prefer to keep my stored seeds from being able to bounce around inside of their containers, and this is especially important when dealing with frozen seeds, as they can take damage easier from impacts while frozen. When using the hard containers for storage, I like using cotton balls on top of the seeds so that when the container is sealed the cotton keeps the seeds from moving around. Label and date all containers clearly. I also like to use a piece of good quality electrical tape over the seam of the containers just for an extra air-tight protection layer.

Plastic Coffee Containers are Great for Another Protection Layer
Plastic Coffee Containers are Great for Another Protection Layer

Your goal for the storage containers is always the same, you want them light-tight, and air-tight, with the seeds immobilized so they cannot bounce around. If you are storing a lot of the containers together, using something like the plastic coffee containers in the photo works awesome, as these are fairly light-tight and air-tight themselves.

Try and avoid labeling your containers on the outsides, over time these labels can wear off. Choosing translucent containers allows you to label them on the inside; placing these containers within the plastic coffee containers makes it light tight enough for like a refrigerator light, easily.

Vacuum Sealed Bags for Larger Seed Storage Containers
Vacuum Sealed Bags for Larger Seed Storage Containers

When storing larger numbers of seeds, I really like using vacuum sealed bags. This method keeps them immobile, and when placed inside of plastic coffee type containers, this will give you you’re your needed level of light-tight. I normally seal up bulk seeds this way and store them in the freezer, keeping some of the seeds in smaller containers refrigerated for easier access. Your number three mission is to source your containers, per your needs.

Tips

Pretty easy to find little containers that are fairly air-tight at craft type stores, or even at places like “Wallyworld” in the craft section. Get some high-quality electrical tape here, don’t go cheap. The good electrical tape can handle being cold or frozen for long periods and still keep its tape-qualities. Cheaper versions will tend to peel off after a few months often times. Always secure the seams of these types of little containers with electrical tape for added air-tight protection.

My Workhorse Vacuum Sealer
My Workhorse Vacuum Sealer

As far as the vacuum sealed bags, I have been using a good old Food Saver brand now for like the last 7 or 8 years and it works reliably well. I just use the roll type bags so I can make them any size I want, plus it’s much more economical that way. You can source the plastic coffee cans from pubs or restaurants easily for free, or you can simply buy the appropriate type containers for your storage needs.

If you make your own seeds, I recommend putting them all into a bowl, in a warm and dry location so they are exposed to the air. Just kind of swirl them around a bit once a day for about a week, before placing them into storage containers. Also remove most of the plant matter from the seeds before storing as well. Adios amigos, catch ya all next week, hope you dug this article—REvski out!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rev
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.