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Step 5: Seed Storage

Farm Radio International also provides tips for storing seeds. If you follow their tips, you can be sure to have the best seeds to produce the best crops for your farm:

  • Talk to local farmers (men and women) about the best methods to store seeds and keep them clean and dry. Remember to take care when storing seed. Seeds that are wet, too hot or too cold, or ones that get infected with insects will probably not produce good plants.
  • Keeping seed in clean dry containers like clay pots, plastic pails, or large jars, will increase your chances of producing good plants.
  • Prevent moisture from collecting in your seed containers by adding powder to draw the moisture away from the seeds.
  • Silica gel is helpful in drawing away moisture. Place the silica gel in a small cloth bag and place it at the bottom of the container. Then put the seeds on top of the cloth bag. If silica gel is too expensive or not available, put a small cloth bag of dry powdered milk or brown sugar at the bottom of the container. When the silica gel, milk, or sugar becomes flat and moist, put in a fresh cloth bag filled with new powder. If you store the seed in clay pots, you may need to dry your seeds every two days by spreading them in indirect sunlight.
  • Use cloth bags to store seeds. Fill the bags loosely so that seeds have room to breathe. Make sure that these bags do not get wet, or the seed inside will mould or rot.
  • Remember to mix the seeds with ashes, chili peppers or vegetable oil and shake the bags often to prevent insects from infecting the bags and place the bags inside another container such as a clay pot or basket.
  • Store seed in a dark, cool, dry place such as a rock cave, or cold cellar. Too much heat or cold will kill the seeds. Put the containers of seed in a small hole in the mud floor of a hut, where the soil is cool and dry. Only when the seeds are drying should they be in indirect sunlight. After drying, return the seeds to the clay pot. In the rainy season, dry the seeds every day.

Source: Farm Radio International, "Starting a Community Seed Bank," Package 33, Script 5, July 1994.

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