How To Dry And Store Seeds Using Silica Gel?
Storing seeds for long term use like for 2 to 6 years can be challenging, and you need to take care that they are not exposed to varying moisture or humidity conditions, else they can easily lose their texture and crispness. If there is a lot of moisture or humidity in the air, it also leads to the growth of microorganisms, mold, bacteria, and other damage causing elements.
Seed drying and storing seeds is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure your seeds stay usable & operational, and to help them germinate properly when you plant them. This step is essential to safeguard their potency and effectiveness. Even if you are storing the seeds for edible use, you need to store them in a cool, dry, place, away from direct sunlight and moisture, so they can be stored properly and efficiently for longer periods of time.
Too much moisture can cause the seeds to rot or mold, while too little moisture can prevent them from germinating at all when planted. Silica gel is a type of powerful desiccant material that can absorb a lot of moisture from seeds and help them dry faster and more evenly. Silica gel beads are non-toxic in nature, and are a suitable, sustainable solution for drying and storing your seeds.
To dry vegetable seeds using silica gel, simply place the seeds in a paper bag and then you can place them in an airtight container with a packet of silica gel beads of proper size and quantity as per the seeds used. Seal the container tightly/using vaccum and store it in a cool, dark place. The silica gel will absorb moisture from the seeds, drying them out quickly and evenly.
How to dry and store seeds using silica gel?
To help understand the process of drying and storing seeds using silica gel, and some of the precautions that you need to keep in mind when using silica gel for this to be effective, you need to make sure to follow some guidelines so as to make sure the process is smooth and effective. Also find some tips that may come in handy to help you store them for longer, and retain their effectiveness and texture.
Procedure to dry and store seeds using Silica gel
You can gather and collect the clean seeds samples in a clean container, and make sure they are fully developed and are free of any defect or ailment. Also, handle the seeds with care to avoid damaging them during the collection or gathering process.
Make sure the chosen vegetable seeds such as sunflower seeds are free of any debris, contamination, and excess moisture before adding silica gel to the packaging. You can also clean the seeds by using a thin sieve/strainer to separate the seeds from the remaining debris material.
Choose a silica gel variety that is good for your selection of seeds. The variety of silica gel chosen should be of food grade quality and should be safe to use with flowers and seeds. It is also advised to not use any colored silica gel because it might contain components that could harm the seeds.
Place the activated silica gel packets or silica gel beads in the storage container that you are using for seed drying or store the seed types efficiently. You can place the silica gel at the bottom of an airtight container, as the tight seal will prevent moisture from getting in. The silica gel will absorb excess moisture from the seeds, effectively drying them.
Once the sunflower seeds have been dried thoroughly, if you have used silica gel beads for seed drying, you can sieve them out to separate the beads from the dried seeds. You can store the dried seeds in an airtight container away from sunlight, moisture, or humidity to keep them fresh and potent for a very long time before they are used or consumed.
Precautions to be taken when using silica gel for drying seeds and storing them effectively
- It is important to ensure that the seeds/flower seeds are not over-dried, or else they will not be as efficient and potent when you want to use or consume them, and may impede the germination process.
- Check and replace the saturated silica gel periodically, as the quality and efficiency of the gel needs to be maintained during packaging, storage, and transit for the seeds to stay effective and in potent form.
- The silica gel should be stored in an air-tight container when not in use in order to avoid moisture absorption from the environment and to maintain its efficacy for when you're drying and storing seeds in the future.
- Keep silica gel away from children/pets, as it is not safe for consumption.
Tips for better storage of seeds with silica gel
?One of the useful tips to effectively store dry seeds or while seed drying is to always store different seed varieties in separate containers to prevent cross-contamination.
?You need to label/mark the seeds or their packaging carefully to keep track of when they were collected, stored and packaged, what type/variety of seed they are, and how long they can be stored effectively before use.
?If you are storing a large quantity of flower seeds, you need to store them in well-packed, airtight, vacuum sealed bags or containers, to hep retain their freshness and potency and protect them from harmful organisms or diseases.
?You can use additional devices like a hygrometer to check the moisture or humidity levels during packaging, drying or storing the dry seeds to understand the environment better.
?You also need to conduct regular inspections and checks on the seeds while storage, and transit to make sure they are in their best form, and remove any faulty or spoiled seeds so that they do not damage the other seeds or packaged seeds.