Storage and germinationEven though there are just a few seeds in some bags, it often happens that you get seeds left over after sowing. If the seeds haven't been exposed to either heat or moisture, you can save most varieties for a year or two (see table).
Seeds are alive during storage, but the life-process is on the 'backburner'. In order to bring them out of their sleep, both warmth and humidity are needed, therefore the key to successful storage of seeds, is in preventing them access to both those conditions.
Seeds that are to be stored must be thoroughly dry (below 13% moisture) and located in a cool place, 0-10 ° C. Most varieties can withstand several degrees below zero.
An easy way, if you don't have too big quantities, is to put the seeds in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge, or if prefered in the freeze box, or in any other cool place. Preferably with a little powdered milk in the bottom to soak up any remaining moisture. If unsure about how dry the peas, beans and seeds are, they are better stored in non-airtight bags in an airy and cool place. Check the seeds every now and then. If they are attacked by mould, throw them away.
It's not only that the seed germination starts, but mould, bacteria and some insects can also destroy the seeds when temperature and/or humidity is too high.
To find out how the seeds have survived the storage, you can test the germination rate before sowing. Spread 20, 50 or 100 seeds on a damp paper towel. Fold it lightly to enclose the seeds and put it in a plastic bag. The seeds germinate quickly if left at room temperature. Count the ones that have germinated within the normal allotted time and calculate an approximate percentage (eg. 40 seeds of 50 = 80% germination). One usually does not sow seeds with lower rate than 50%.
|Germination-temp. ºC||Germination time||Durability||Approx. Harvest|
|Onion, Yellow, Red||4||12-22||35||10-22||1-3||10|
|Radish, Black Radish||5||16-26||35||4-9||3-5||10|