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Re: [seedsavers] Some basic questions
Here's something I did for http://groups.yahoo.com/group/A-Squash list.
I saw the seedsaving in Wikipedia and a couple of us added to it.
As of last night it was still rather general. "Our" seeds versus
tropical seeds, even though melons might be slightly tropical (???) is
different. Mimic winter. Winter means cold, and chapped lips, dry
skin. Ever see an old piece of cheesecake in the fridge? <Jokes
aside..> it shrinks. It is literally a slowwww version of freeze
drying. How about a forgotten steak in the freezer, with a broken
seal. Dry as a bone. Seeds want to see 15 % moisture, even down to 7%,
if you were going all out, and were going to do your best to approach
cryogenic multi-decade seed saving.
For us, let your seeds dry on paper, once cleaned. (A few serious
folks use hydrogen peroxide, now, or before they plant to reduce
surface stuff like damp off disease, or just to clean the seeds extra.)
Now, let them dry further in a fridge. In a paper bag is ok. On a
paper is fine if you won't spill, but you could go *so* far as to use
a disinfected paper bag even. (Sterile is a word avoided, when it is
not sincerely meant. 140-150F will deter many fungi. Stay under 160F
And this is for the bag/paper, not the seeds! LOL! And this is
overkill. A clean paper towel is great. Newspaper is actually pretty
clean also, if freshly opened!) Not plastic, natch.
If you leave them in a fridge for a month, they ought to have a low
enough moisture content if they were small seeds to be put into a
freezer. Bigger seeds may take longer. Why risk it. Leave them in the
fridge a couiple months. If there were many seeds, "a cupful" will dry
slower than a 1/4 cupful that is spread over an area. So don't just
have a whole cupful all in one place, if you want faster drying.
Spread them on a paper towel. Roll it up so seeds are 1 layer deep.
Don't roll too many layers. You may also fold. Some might use 6 layers
of pumpkin seeds, in a 6x6 plastic storage container, cutting paper
towel in quarters to fit. Leave the lid off. Don't put them in the
moist veg crisper. leave the lid off. Putting this in a paper bag with
the lid under the container and stapling the bag is one idea. These
seeds will be good to seal and save in a couple months.
For decades of storage, freezing can be considered. It's risky until
you experiment a few times with some cheap seeds for practice. But
freezers these days cycle warm to defrost. Bad stuff for us. So the
seeds must be well insulated so that warmth never gets through to
them. There are many ways to do that, too.
For most folks, just dry in open air... and fridge, unsealed (paper
bag or etc.) when dry, still open to air for a week or so, then seal.
Desi cant is optional. Many desiccants are reusable if you "recharge"
them. This usually means nuking on low for a few minutes, oven, or
"frying" them over v v low heat for an hour. these come with all
manner of shoes, pill, purses, camera gear, etc. Heck, put salt on a
piece of paper towel and tape it shut. Bingo. With desiccant, you can
place dried seeds in a plastic sealed container sooner, in the fridge.
So you've got autumn dryness... Then coolness, very slowly approaching
or sometimes even reaching, freezing. You copy nature. Lots of ways to
do it. Most seeds are somehow protected before freezing though. And if
they are not almost dry, freezing bursts their cells. if they are <7%
moisture, they don't easily survive that either. For most of us, a
fridge, perhaps with desiccant, is the farthest we go. I like an amber
yeast jar, myself. light can be an issue with a few seeds I think I
Now onions, if you are *good,* you might get them to survive a year.
They are just poor sports. but look at them... They want to be fall
planted. They don't *need* to be saved in the same way. I dunno what
other seeds are hard to save, except many tropical seeds are good for
just a very few hours, out of the flesh.
And corn was just brought to my attention. It's moist and takes
longer to dry. Dry on the ear, or waste some and cut slabs off the
sides so the seeds all stick up and you lay it flat to dry.
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