Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Drying seed

Great article I found on drying seed. Haven't tried this yet myself - but think it is definitely on the trial list for this year.

 In the past, I have just gathered seed and let it dry naturally on a windowsill and then put it into envelopes for storage which has worked with a reasonably high percentage of seeds germinating the following year.


http://www.realseeds.co.uk/Drying.html

Home Seed Drying & Storage

This is a really important bit. You need to dry your seed out, or it will not keep.
Seed that is air-dry is not really properly dormant - its just napping;
so it is still burning through its stored reserves of energy and will soon run flat - like a mobile phone left on.
Also, you can't put it in a sealed container as it is still breathing - it would suffocate. And without a sealed container, it will soon reabsorb water from the air on the first humid day, and start getting ready to germinate.
How can we dry the seed at home?
We'll use dry rice to suck the water out of the seed & get it really dry. Then it will hibernate completely.

You need to get:
  • a big jam-jar with a good lid,
  • an old pair of tights,
  • a rubber band,
  • and some rice
You need to use at least twice as much rice as you have seed. It doesn't matter if you have too much rice, but too little won't work.
plant pictureBake the rice on a tray in the oven for 45 minutes until it is bone dry. While it is still hot, put it in the jam-jar , about half full, and screw the lid on .
Wait patiently until the rice is cool. (If you rush this you'll cook your seeds.) So you now have a jam jar 1/2 full of very dry, cool rice.
Put your seed in a bag made by cutting off the foot of the tights, and tie it in with a rubber band. Put it in with the cool dry rice. Put the lid on tightly, so damp air can't get in.
Leave your seed sealed in the jar with the dry rice for a fortnight, and the dampness in the seed will be drawn out into the rice.
You now have bone-dry seed that you can safely seal in a plastic bag, and it will keep for several years.