Your Guide to Storing Alfalfa Seeds
Are you growing a lot of alfalfa this year and plan on storing a large number of seeds? Then you need to make sure to follow these storage guidelines for alfalfa seed. Many of these tips are similar to storing other seeds, but others are specific for alfalfa. So read on to find out more about this process.
Expectancy of Alfalfa Seed Storage
When you store any type of seed, you can only do so for a specific period. The storage time varies between species. Some can only last for a year or so before they go bad. Others can last up to 10 years and even longer. Therefore, you need to make sure you know how long your alfalfa seed storage is going to last before you start. Usually, they can last 2-5 years before they aren’t worth growing.
This particular time frame varies according to how you store your seeds. Typically, you need to store them in the most favorable conditions. These include a minimum amount of moisture and protection from the sunlight. If you don’t control the temperature accurately, either, your seeds are going to end up growing on you or losing their potency faster than expected while in storage.
Thankfully, this process isn’t too tricky. You can usually use an air-tight plastic container to store your seeds. Place them in a dark area with a temperature-controlled environment. If necessary, you may want to check the temperature and moisture levels from time to time to ensure that they are protected. Doing so will give you the best seeds possible for your needs.
Appropriate Alfalfa Seed Storage Temperature
When you store alfalfa seed, you should try to establish a temperature that is at least around room temperature or 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Any warmer might cause excess moisture that could help the seeds sprout. This warmer temperature may also trigger growth or even damage the seed. Therefore, you must create an environment that doesn’t go too high for your seeds.
Just as importantly, you need to make sure that your temperature is no lower than 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower than that and your seeds will take damage. Typically, you want to err on the side of a little too much warmth instead of cold. Higher temperatures do less damage to seeds than lower ones. Critically, you also need to make sure that the relative humidity is at a reasonable level.
Typically, you want to make sure that your humidity and temperature, when added up, are under 100. So if you store your seeds at 65 degrees Fahrenheit, you should have a relative humidity of no more than 30 percent. Typically, you want an even lower level to protect your seeds even further. Achieving these levels requires heaters and dehydration devices to keep the air moisture balanced.
Adding a Desiccant
When storing any kind of seeds, you need to make sure to use a desiccant. These items are those small little bags you find in many different products, such as various types of sealed beef jerky and suitcases. What exactly does a desiccant do? They help to absorb moisture from the air inside the container. This benefit is significant because it keeps moisture from otherwise impacting the items that you are trying to store appropriately.
When it comes to alfalfa seed storage, you’re going to need some desiccant to keep them dry. You typically don’t want too much moisture to get on your seeds or they may start to grow. At the same time, your seeds must not dry out thoroughly. As a result, you need to strike a delicate balance here. Typically, you can get a desiccant at a seed store or online from various vendors who focus on products such as these for seeds and other items.
What is inside of these small bags? Typically, they contain Montmorillonite Clay or Silica Gel. These items are not harmful, per se, but shouldn’t be opened or exposed to the environment. Try to keep them sealed in the bag to avoid any contamination. And if you plan on storing your seeds for years at a time, you may want to consider changing out your desiccant. Failure to do so could cause it to get too soaked with water and make it not as useful for your purposes.
Testing Your Seed Growth
Lastly, you need to make sure that you don’t store your alfalfa seed collection so long that it no longer grows. This problem occurs if you wait longer than five years to use your seeds. Don’t forget, though, that all seeds gradually lose their potency if you don’t use them right away. Every year, they are going to have less capability to grow. The loss may be incremental, but it will be apparent after some time.
As a result, you need to test your seeds before you try to grow them. The easiest way to do this is to take out a handful and place them between two pieces of damp paper towel. Once you have positioned them between these towels, put everything in a Ziploc bag. Now, store the bag in a temperature-controlled area that has access to the sun and suitable growing temperatures.
After a few days, you should start to see the seeds sprouting a little. Track how long it takes for the seed to start growing. You may notice that it struggles to break out of the seed case and that it grows slower than anticipated. However, you may also see it growing faster than expected. Whatever the case, make sure to plan your alfalfa planting on the appropriate timetable when using these seeds.
Reach Out to Us to Learn More
If you want the best alfalfa seed in the area, please contact us at Online Seed Sales to learn more. Our experts can help you find the high-quality seeds that you need at a price that you can afford. Call now to learn more about any deals that we may be running or to learn more about proper storage options for your high-quality seeds.