Ever since I started growing weed I imminently saw the importance of the genetics. With time I noticed that genetics change and develop and most importantly disappear. As a result with time I started to store and collect cannabis seeds. One of the most common questions that people ask me is in what conditions and how do I keep my seeds? The answer is simple as there are only Three factors that you have to keep an eye on. Temperature, humidity and light exposure.
Lets start this article with the last one. The shell of the seed gives it protection from light and low temperatures, but you have to remember that in nature the seeds are never exposed to high levels of light exposure. It is important to keep your seeds in the dark no matter how long you intend to store them. This is usually made easy by breeders and producers who make special forms of packaging that completely eliminate light penetration.
The second factor to take into consideration is temperature. There is a general perception that the lower you keep the tempa the longer the seeds will stay viable and the germination rate does not drop significantly. What is the best, optimal temperature you ask? I will share with you my approach to this subject. First thing it depends on how long you plan to keep your seeds. If I plan on keeping my seeds up to 5 years I keep them at a steady 4 degrees Celsius. If I plan to store them longer I put them in the freezer. Does long term storage in the freezer damage the seeds? Well I it depends on how you define “long term”. From my own experience I can say that I have not seen any signs of that. I have one time takes seeds out of my freezer after 9 years and the germination rate was above 95%. Of course the temp is not the only element that decided about this. A very important thing to remember is to keep the temperature as steady (on the same level at all times) as possible. Temperature fluctuation can have a big impact on the germination rate (depending on how big and how often they occur).
The last (but not least) factor is humidity. The reason why I mention this one last is because it is the one that is hardest to control and keep optimal for longer periods of time. I have seen different classifications of the humidity levels online and in books. I will just mention two levels of the most importance. 75% and above is definitely a level you want to avoid. High levels of moisture can affect the shell of the seed and there for its longevity. 25% and below is another level you do not want to see. When the air is to dry it is natural for the seeds to dry out and lose their ability to germinate. So you can say that the is a big level between these two, that you can keep your seeds relatively safe and in good humidity. If you store seeds in unopened packaging you actually don’t know the humidity level inside the pack that also complicates things.
I personally have two methods of keeping my seeds. Long Term and Short Term. As I mentioned before up to five years is Short Term, and above is long term. For the first I keep the seeds in plastic food containers and I have two special, locked drawers in my fridge. Both these drawers have separate temperature and humidity control. I have the temp set at 4 degrees and humidity at 55%. These conditions do not change. For long term storage is put the seeds in special containers with the air sucked out of them and I put them in the bottom draw in my freezer at a temperature of -17 degrees. You could say that these are optimal conditions and I would agree. I collect as much seeds as possible, so I want them to have the best conditions possible. Understandably, not everyone has this possibility. My advice would be to try to make then as good as possible. One very important this about storing seeds in the fridge is to remember to give them some time to come to room temp after taking them out and before starting the germination process. I usually give them 24 hours out of the refrigerator before putting them on water, but 12 hours should also be OK.
When you store your seeds in the proper way you can be sure that long or short term they will germinate and give you a great plant. It is an amazing feeling to grow and smoke a strain that you know is no longer available commercially. Sure new strains come out but every smoker has a strain that reminds him of “the good old days” and that’s one of the reasons why it’s worth to preserve cannabis genetics.
Bros Mr Herbiński