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Storage of soybean (Glycine max) seeds
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Michel Tremblay)
Seed storage

This is the last step, to maintain the viability of the seeds you have collected. Keep them in an airtight container to prevent them from being damaged by any moisture. They must be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. If they have been thoroughly dried, you can keep them in the freezer. When you take them out, wait until they have come to room temperature before opening the container, to avoid any condensation. Labelling is important, too: mark them with the species, cultivar, date and place they were collected, and where you got them from in the first place. Keep records of how well it produced and growing instructions, as well as any special characteristics.

Happy harvesting!

Length of time you can keep seeds from certain vegetables, depending on the type of fertilization

Type of fertilization Common name (Latin name) How long you can store the seeds under proper conditions (years)
Self-pollinating Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) 3
Pea (Pisum sativum) 3
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) 5
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) 3
Pepper (Capsicum annuum) 3
Eggplant (Solanum melongena) 5-7
Cross-pollinating Broccoli (Brassica oleracea (gr. Botrytis)) 4-5
Summer radish (Raphanus sativus) 4-5
Pumpkin and squash (Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita moschata) 6-8
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) 8
Muskmelon and watermelon (Cucumis melo and Citrullus lanatus) 5


Based on an article by Nathalie Leuenberger in Quatre-Temps magazine, Vol. 23, No.4

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