Recently, the head engineer at Harvest Right wondered what would happen if he freeze-dried seeds. Would they germinate?
He freeze dried 10 different types of vegetable seeds, started them under grow lights inside his home, then transplanted them in a Garden Right geodesic dome greenhouse. It worked! Every single one of the seeds germinated – but you might be wondering what the practical applications would be. On a micro level, gardeners sometimes struggle to preserve heirloom seeds from one growing season to the next. If you don’t get your seeds absolutely dry or you don’t store them properly, they’ll mold and become unusable. On a macro level, it gets interesting.
There are thousands of seed banks around the world. They’re usually built in cold, remote places – like Svalbard. The problem is many of these cold, remote places are also politically or geologically unstable. Svalbard’s seed bank is a pretty safe bet. Even if the ice caps melt, the bank will be above sea level, there’s little chance of an earthquake, and it’s always frozen. Seeds can remain viable in the Svalbard seed bank for hundreds or thousands of years. So, in case there’s a major event and you need to grow some food from scratch, just put on your mittens and hike to Svalbard, right?
Or…you could just build your own seed bank. Granted we haven’t had 25 years to test our seeds to see if they’re still viable after a quarter of a century, but we have no reason to believe they wouldn’t be. With your own seed bank, you could establish or maintain a diverse garden for your family in case of emergency. Or, in case you just want to have your own, healthy, organic seeds. For example, a neighbor mentioned that she’d like to use her freeze dryer to preserve seeds from her flower garden for her granddaughters, who are still small. Imagine as an adult receiving heirloom seeds from your grandmother’s garden that were preserved while you were still a child. What a touching wedding, bridal or housewarming gift.
Freeze-dried seeds are easy to store, and easy to share and transport. They take up almost no room in the pantry. We recommend that you store them in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, just as you would your long-term freeze-dried foods. If you freeze dry seeds, let us know how it goes by sharing with the community on our Facebook page.