An Overview of Freezing Tomato Seeds for Long-Term Storage: Tips and Guidelines from Professional Gardeners
Freezing tomato seeds is a method of long-term storage that has been used for decades. It allows the preservation of genetic material and can be done in either amateur or professional settings. Seed banks are one example of professional seed freezing, where the internal moisture levels of the seeds are reduced to a very low percentage before being frozen. This prevents the expansion destruction that can occur if too much moisture is present when freezing takes place.
In the amateur world, many people freeze their own seeds at home, but it’s important to make sure the moisture content is low enough beforehand to avoid damaging the germplasm. Room temperature storage in paper or hermetic sealed containers (such as repurposed medicine bottles) is another option for those who don’t want to risk using the freezer.
The University of Wisconsin recently announced plans to re-introduce an old strain of WI55 tomatoes next year, which supposedly has some tolerance to Septoria. The original strain was frozen in the 1960s, proving that freezing seeds can result in successful germination after a long period of time. In fact, some seed banks have managed to store seeds for up to 22 years!
Amy Goldman Fowler, author of several books on melons, squash, and tomatoes, has also contributed significantly to this topic. She hired researchers to do work on certain areas related to her books, but unfortunately they didn't always know what they were doing, leading to errors in her tomato book.
It's clear that there is still more research needed into how best to store tomato seeds over long periods of time. However, with careful preparation and monitoring, freezing may be a viable option for both amateur and professional gardeners looking to preserve their heirloom varieties.The process of freezing tomato seeds is fairly straightforward. First, the seeds should be dried to a moisture content of less than 10%. Then they can be placed in an airtight container and frozen at -18°C or lower for up to two years. After that time period, it’s best to check on them every six months or so and re-freeze if necessary.
When you're ready to plant your frozen tomatoes, make sure you thaw them slowly by placing the sealed container in room temperature water before planting. This will help prevent any damage from sudden changes in temperature during germination. It's also important not to let the seedlings dry out too much while they are growing as this could lead to stunted growth or even death!
Freezing tomato seeds is a great way for gardeners looking for long-term storage solutions without sacrificing genetic material quality over time. With careful preparation and monitoring, amateur gardeners can successfully freeze their own heirloom varieties with ease!
What is the "new" old strain of Wisconsin 55?
The University of Wisconsin worker had frozen seeds of (or close to) the original strain in the 60's, and it had been successfully germinated to be re-introduced next November.
How does long-term freezing of tomato seeds work?
Freezing seeds and then recovering them depends on the moisture content of the seeds when they are frozen. Seed Banks reduce the internal moisture levels to a very low percentage and this prevents the "expansion destruction". Many people put their seeds into the freezers and hope for the best. To freeze tomato seeds, one should put a desiccant in the bottle, dry the seeds down to about 6 to 8 % moisture content, and test for that using paper strips that indicate moisture level.
Is there any seed bank that stores seeds at freezing temps?
Yes, many seed banks store seeds at freezing temps. One example is SSE which keeps some frozen seeds at SSE at minus 20 or so, and also sent backup seeds to Cheyenne, WY where they were kept in large metal cylinders at minus 80F Centigrade.
How long can tomato seeds be stored in a freezer?
It depends on individual preference. For short-term storage, one can put some seeds in a #1 coin envelope and just seal it shut with tape and keep at ambient room temp. For longer-term storage, 22 years is impressive but 10 years is more common.
Who is Cary Fowler?
Cary Fowler is an American agriculturalist who was instrumental in establishing the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. He is now known as Amy Goldman Fowler after he married Amy Goldman who gave huge amounts of money to SSE for various projects.
What books has Amy Goldman Fowler written?
She has written books about melons, squash, and tomatoes.