In the past couple of years, I've been experimenting with onion seed storage. Alliums are one of the few vegetable seeds that do not store well so it's usually recommended that you purchase fresh seed each and every year. The issue I have is that I enjoy growing a variety of different onions and leeks which means that, in most cases, I only sow a small portion of the seed packet.
|When I spend over $30 for allium seed,|
it irks me that so much of it is going to waste
My usual seed storage method involves placing the seed packets in a zip lock which then goes into one of several Tupperware containers that I keep in the cold cellar. A list of the veg is taped to both the top and the front of each container so that I can easily determine which one to grab. All of the containers also hold several packets of silica gel to keep things nice and dry.
Each seed packet is marked with the year of purchase or collection &
the zip locks note how long the seeds for that particular veg should remain viable.
I often hear that saving seed in the freezer is the absolute best method to extend it's viability so in 2015, I decided to give this a go with some leftover leek seed. Lo and behold, the following spring a good portion of those one year old seeds germinated.
This past year, I used the freezer storage method for the leftover Ailsa Craig and Red Wing seeds: I placed the seed packets in a zip lock bag together with a silica gel packet and then bagged this again for a double layer of protection. Then off to the freezer they went.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I did not pre-germinate the leeks, but sowed them (rather thickly) directly into the plugs. These too were from seed that I purchased last year and stored in the freezer and, as you can see, we had very good germination on those as well:
Year old leek seeds gone wild in the middle plugs
I have left one unthinned plug for each variety in the plug sheet. When the time comes to transplant the seedlings outside, which is only a couple of weeks off, I'll use some of the transplanted seedlings and some seedlings from the plug sheet. Then we wait to see if there is a worthwhile difference between the two at the end of the season.