Make a seed vault! It's a great way to keep your garden alive. Materials needed: glass jars, lids, labels and a container.
- Get all materials and seeds before you start.
- Collect the seeds you want to store.
- Get ready for your project!
Select a container
When selecting a container for seed storage, ensure it is air and water tight. Pick food grade material and consider the type of seed. Preserving seeds in many smaller containers or glass jars minimizes the risk of mould. Label each container with the variety and harvest date.
For larger quantities, choose heavy polyethylene plastic or stainless steel with two lids or hinges that meet in the center. Opt for opaque plastic to avoid light which reduces viability. Metal containers last 100 years if sealed. Plastic degrades quickly, even without light. Retain desiccant packets, replace after each opening to remove moisture and preserve seeds.
Select a desiccant
Desiccants can be used for the best protection from moisture. These substances absorb and remove moisture from the air. Most people pick silica gel beads as their choice. Clay and activated carbon are other options. Silica gel beads absorb 40%, but the other forms can absorb up to 60%.
Silica gel beads don't need any preparation. They are easy to use and dispose of after they do their job. Before you select your desiccant, check that it is safe for long-term contact with seeds. Some materials may release harmful compounds when heated or exposed to other environmental factors.
Select a sealant
When choosing a sealant for your seed vault, take your climate and storage environment into account. The best sealant should keep moisture and bugs away, while also providing light filtration to maintain germination.
Common sealants are:
- Polyethylene (PE): widely available, cost-effective, and long-lasting in various thicknesses.
- Mylar: flexible and tear-resistant, best with a PE backing.
- Aluminum Foil: reflection and waterproof, but weak on its own. Use with foam insulation or Tyvek fabric.
For all sealants, ensure all seams are tightly sealed. This will stop moisture from reaching your seeds!
Prepare Your Seeds
Want to make a seed vault that preserves your seeds? Preparing them is key! Clean & dry them. Remove dirt, debris, and contaminants. Prevent mold too. This article will help you understand how to prepare your seeds for long-term storage in a seed vault.
Here are the steps to follow:
- Clean & dry the seeds.
- Remove dirt, debris, and contaminants.
- Prevent mold.
Clean and dry your seeds
Before you start preserving your seeds, they must be dry and clean. Clean them well for the seed vault!
- For smaller seeds, put a few tablespoons on a paper towel. Then, use a tiny, soft brush (for art or silk screen printing) or an old toothbrush. Be gentle so you don't damage the seed coatings.
- For bigger seeds like corn or beans, put them in a kitchen sieve. Rinse in cool tap water and dry. Place them on a paper towel near a window, avoiding direct sunlight. This might take several days, depending on how wet they were.
- When they're totally dry, store them in an airtight container. You can add an oxygen absorber, if you want. Now they are prepared for storage in the seed vault!
Sort your seeds into categories
Sort your seeds first. Categorize them by type. Use paper & pen to label, or a more elaborate system like metal tins. Document the number of seeds in each packet. Storage and rotation will be easier.
- Store in plastic baggies or airtight containers.
- Label correctly.
- Easily identified when needed.
- Planting time made simple!
Package the seeds
Gather your seeds then it's time to package them! Store them for five years or longer and make sure they're dry, sealed and not hotter than 10°C (50°F). Put them in waterproof glass or plastic containers. Seal them with rubber gaskets, locks or zip ties – to keep air and moisture out. If the seeds are absorbent, double-seal in heavy plastic like Tupperware or mylar bags.
Use lids to help preserve seed viability for a long time.
Label each variety of seed clearly in your vault storage system. Jot down info like time-frame of viability and source of collection. Mark packagings inside the vault so anyone can know what's in there without opening the packagings and risking rapid degradation.
Create Your Seed Vault
Creating a seed vault is a breeze! It's a simple way to store your seeds for future use. This vault will keep your seeds safe from bugs, weather, and any other environmental factors.
Here's a guide to creating your own seed vault. We'll cover what materials you'll need, the steps, and some extra tips to ensure your vault is a success!
- What materials you'll need
- The steps
- Extra tips
Line the container with the desiccant
Pick a container. To keep moisture away, line it with a desiccant. These are granular or powdered things like silica gel packets, calcium oxide, calcium sulfate, and edible grains. Buy in bulk or at health food stores.
Pour an even layer of desiccant on the bottom of the container. If it is not water-soluble, mix it with wax paper. Put any seed vault label cards on top. This seals seeds from moisture and light.
Place the seeds in the container
Choose a sealable, moisture-proof container for your seeds. Glass jars, metal cans, or plastic buckets & bags with zip closures are suitable. Opt for a sealed container to prevent insects from getting in. Preferably one with a hermetic seal or desiccant packet.
To keep seed moisture content at 8-10%, put an oxygen absorber in the sealed container before adding the seeds. This will prevent mold or mildew. This storage method will keep your seed vault dry, safe & viable for years.
Seal the container
Your container is ready! Now, seal the vault. Use a strong tape like duct tape to keep the contents airtight. Check that all edges are well-sealed.
If your seeds will be in a place with high humidity, use a sealant or coat the container with an airtight, waterproof material. This will protect them from spoiling and damage due to moisture.
Store Your Seed Vault
Make your garden seeds last! A seed vault is the key. It'll keep your seeds viable for years to come. To ensure their quality, store them right. Protect them from moisture, pests, and contaminants.
Here's how to store your seed vault properly:
Store the seed vault in a cool, dry place
Store your seed vault in a cool, dry place. This will stop the seeds becoming spoiled or moldy. Keep them in a temperature range between 32-40°F (0-4°C). It is also important to make sure the area where the seed vault is stored has minimal humidity and no sudden temperature changes.
Factors like light exposure and air circulation should be kept in mind when choosing storage space. Make sure there is enough space around the box for airflow. Monitor conditions inside the seed vault with an embedded sensor or visually. This will ensure all conditions are appropriate for the longevity of stored seeds.
Label the seed vault
Labeling your seed vault properly is key to keeping your seeds organized and easily accessible. Each label should include:
- The type of seed
- The collection date
- Specific details about where and how they were collected.
This info can help you decide if a certain variety is fit for your garden. Also, labelling your seed vault with this info will aid with future planting projects, since you’ll know what types of seeds you still have. Additionally, it’s helpful to note the species and variety of each seed. That way you’ll remember what each type looks like in bloom, so you can make informed choices.
Lastly, it’s best to label each section of the seed vault with the types of seeds, dates collected, and other related data. This avoids any confusion when organizing and accessing your collection.
Monitor the temperature and humidity of the seed vault
When setting up a seed vault, there are two factors to consider: temperature and humidity. To keep the seeds viable, keep a steady temp of 60-70°F (15-21°C). Make sure the room is ventilated, or install a dehumidifier. Monitor the temp and humidity with a digital thermometer/hygrometer. Place it at the entrance for easy checks. Or, use an online monitoring system connected to thermostats throughout the storage room. This will help keep your seeds viable year-round!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a seed vault?
A: A seed vault is a facility used for the long-term storage of seeds from a variety of crop plants. The aim is to preserve the genetic diversity of these plants for future generations.
Q: Why is a seed vault important?
A: A seed vault is important because it will help to protect biodiversity in the face of climate change or other disasters, such as natural calamities or human-made disasters.
Q: What is the process for creating a seed vault?
A: Steps for creating a seed vault include selecting the appropriate location, design and construction of the vault, ensuring proper storage conditions, and developing strategies for seed conservation, including seed selection and regeneration.
Q: What are the basic requirements for a seed vault?
A: The basic requirements for a seed vault include a stable temperature, low humidity levels, and good ventilation. The seed vault should be located in a dry area, in a stable and secure facility. Also, a backup generator and security measures should be put in place to ensure safety and protect against power outages.
Q: How much does it cost to make a seed vault?
A: The cost of building a seed vault can vary depending on the scale and location of the project. On average, the cost can range between $3-5 million for a seed vault that can store millions of seeds.
Q: What kinds of seeds can be stored in a seed vault?
A: The seed vault can store seeds from traditional crops, such as wheat, rice, and maize, as well as many other types of plants, including trees, herbs, and wildflowers. Generally, any seed that needs to be conserved for future use can be stored in a seed vault.