Seed logistics… storing and shipping your magic beans

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Strainly‘s goal is to foster the preservation of cannabis phenotypes, which indeed means, under the form of seeds (or “beans”). Seeds are essential to genetic preservation, and keeping your seeds safe and viable is material to preservation success. When it comes to making seeds travel, risks of destruction increase dramatically. In this article, we’ll give you basic guidance about storing and… shipping seeds so that they make it safe to destination

There surely are more methods available to you than the ones we’ll be covering in this article, and you may decide to combine different techniques to create your own methodology.

Storage

Keep your cannabis seeds dry

Damp or wet seeds will start to germinate. Even small amounts of humidity inside the container can cause rot and mould.

Keep your seeds in a fresh space

Warmth will encourage germination. High temperatures can damage your seeds (by kinda ‘cooking’ them like “a boiled egg”).

Make sure to keep your seeds in the dark

Darkness keeps your seeds dormant. Sustained exposure to light can damage and degrade the health of the seeds, reducing their germination rate.

Ensure they can’t be squashed

This may seem silly, but not all seeds come in a hard case. The shells of your seeds should remain intact. The shell is a natural protection against outside elements, if cracked the germination rate drops dramatically. We’ll come back to this in the Shipping section.

Label your beans

Cannabis seeds usually look very similar, regardless of the strain. It’s best practice to avoid mixing them up while making sure they stay identifiable in the long run. A simple label on the container should do the trick.

freezer or not?

Storing your seeds at -18C (0F) can -in theory- allow you to keep your seeds for decades. However, average freezers rarely keep fully stable temperatures. These fluctuations will increase condensation and reduce germination rate as a consequence. Putting your seeds in the freezer is a risky approach, which should be taken only if your seeds are in a dry, fully hermetic container, and your freezer is extremely reliable and performant… though electricity outages would still create fluctuations! A less risky approach is the door of a fridge. Keeping your seeds at fridge temperature (5C) is enough to preserve them for years. If you put them in the fridge though, make sure they don’t get wet!

Keep them clean

It doesn’t mean you should clean them with windex or bleach! But generally, you should make sure your hands, working area and any equipment or container that will touch your seeds, are clean and dry. Mould and fungus can spread on seeds even when they are kept in a cold area. This also includes keeping them away from pest and rodents. Again, provided that your container is dry and sealed, your fridge is a good place to store them.

DGBags
In case you don’t have any appropriate container, dedicated storage bags can be found online.
Following  this guidance for storing cannabis seeds should maintain the original germination rate unchanged for at least a couple of years, and possibly up to 5! Thereafter, the germination rate will gradually decrease. However, cannabis is a quite resistant plant (it’s called “weed”), and there is no formal deadline regarding germination of your seeds. Some reports of cannabis seeds that were over 20-year old when germinated and still produced a 60% germination rate can be found on different forums. With appropriate storage, preservation is a lot more successful!

Shipping

Some Strainly users prefer starting from seeds only, which, if you don’t breed your own, likely implies getting them shipped to you at some point. It goes without saying that dumping your seeds into a paper envelope, sticking a stamp and dropping it in the mailbox is… worst practice! Postage services use sorting machines that usually squash seeds before they reach their destination.

Envelope crossed

The safest option is to ship your seeds in a hard container (avoid glass if possible) that can resist shocks and squashes. If your seeds come in a sealed bag and you don’t have any hard container (e.g. DVD or CD case) handy, you should ship them using a padded envelope or a flat cardboard box.

You should now be able to safely store and ship seeds and contribute to the preservation of a strain you like.  However, reading and acquiring more in-depth knowledge about germination and growing in general, will significantly increase your success rate.

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