How to Freeze Vegetable Seeds for Storage

H/t reader squodgy:

I’m wondering, since the seed vault initiative at Svalbard, whether the “Never store seeds in a freezer’ brigade are disinformation trolls?”

How to Freeze Vegetable Seeds for Storage:

Saving seed is a gardening tradition dating back to the days when seed was expensive and difficult to come by. Even in these days of relatively inexpensive seeds, some people prefer to save seeds from their best garden plants to replant the following year. Horticulturalist Gary Hickman, of the University of California Cooperative Extension, emphasizes that the most important considerations when storing seed is protecting seeds from moisture and from high temperature. He says seed that is dry and is protected from moisture can be safely stored in the deep freeze.

Choose to save the seed from your best, most healthy plants. Harvest vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, corn, peppers or squash when ripe. Allow greens such as lettuce to flower and go to seed.

Cut open the vegetable and remove the seeds. Beans and peas can be allowed to dry in the pod, and corn can be dried on the ear. Remove the shuck from the corn. The University of Illinois recommends allowing the seed and pulp vegetables such as squash, tomatoes and other moist vegetables to sit in a jar and ferment for a few days to kill harmful viruses before draining and rinsing the pulp from the seeds.

Spread the seeds on newspaper or a cookie sheet in a cool area out of direct sunlight. Allow to dry for at least a week.

Separate any remaining dried pulp or other plant material from the seed by brushing it away with your hand. Shell the corn and remove beans or peas from the pods.

Place each seed in a sealable plastic bag or envelope. Label the envelope with the date collected and type of seed.

Place the envelopes in a clean, dry canning jar and screw on the jar lid. Store in the freezer in a spot where it won’t be disturbed.

Remove the seed from the freezer the day before you plan to plant. This will allow plenty of time for the seed to come to room temperature before planting.

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1 thought on “How to Freeze Vegetable Seeds for Storage”

  1. How To Double Your Harvest with a Late Summer Planting.
    To determine which plants you want to grow, think of the ones that will preserve well, are fast-growing, and prefer growing in warmer weather. Check your plant hardiness zone to determine if a starting a second crop will grow in your area. These are some of our favorites:

    Tomatoes
    Peppers
    Summer Squash
    Bush Beans
    Cucumbers

    Tips for Growing a Late Harvest

    Make sure you have some space for your bumper crop with ample sun. We normally set aside two 4×4 plots for ours. This is a great size too because you can reach the middle from every side!
    Give your soil a boost by adding a few extra layers of compost to provide added nutrients in the soil.
    As a general rule, seeds planted outdoors in late summer should be sown twice as deep as in the spring.
    Consider starting some sun-loving herbs like basil, parsley, and dill.
    When planting in the heat of summer, it’s important to keep the soil surface consistently moist. If it dries out, newly sprouted seeds may die and you will need to start over.
    Don’t forget to mulch! Mulching will help keep the soil moist and warm, which create perfect growing conditions.

    There’s still some time left for growing summer favorites, so make good use of the time and get growing!

    This year I got a shock. After years of following the rules & sowing in Spring for maincrop onions & cabbage, last year I left my unplanted seeds in the trays & they grew into onion sets and small hardened cabbage plants.
    So I planted them out in the fall last year (sept) and this year I’ve had a bumper crop of large onions and good Spring Cabbages. Worth trying.

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