Seed Packaging: what aspects to look out for to tell if the company is looking out for you the grower

Seed companies who are serious about selling good quality seeds that pass all the tests for storage and longevity in shelf life do not expose the seeds to sunlight. In other words seeds that are stored in unbreakable vessels within humidity controls, out of direct sunlight and sealed in temperature controlled material will be far likely to have better germination levels and seed vigour. The companies who expose their seeds to direct sunlight or allow the seeds to be seen in packets will be more prone to lower germination levels even when the seed is produced fresh and stored well before being packed.

Generally seed should have a 2-5 year shelf life from the time of production if all goes accordingly and if stored in cool shaded areas. It is important to be able to see this date the seed is made or packed as it is a prerequisite for all other industries to show a use by date for products. If Cannabis seed is to follow the rules set by the seed industry it must comply with certain basic requirements for a grower to know before purchasing.

Seed can be stored in a freezer and in an air tight contained to disallow humidity to infiltrate it…but it is advisable to only store seed in a freezer one time then in a fridge after that if the seed is still unused.

So buyer beware of any companies who have seed visible and hanging in shops without a batch number(that can be checked for a date) or a date packed printed on the back…especially in hotter climate countries. It is possible you are buying old seed stock (if no date is printed on it) as well as the possibility of buying dead seed since it may have been exposed to sunlight and heat inside the shop while it awaits the buyer. Seed packets should be kept in a cool environment with low humidity and it is advisable to keep sealed in a fridge if not in use. Sealed or resealable packaging is idea if you intend to use half a packet and store the other half.

Seed needs to be kept in sealed packets to avoid contamination from air borne pathogens. It is difficult to argue with a company if the seed is sold in sealed units and vacuum sealed in an aluminium foil zip lock just as the vegetable seed is sold in supermarkets. To claim a company made an error in seed storage and packaging can only be justified if the company does not vacuum seal the seed and keep it out of visibility to the sun.

Other important aspects of seed packaging to consider are indirect sunlight, heat extremities, temperatures, relative humidity, chemicals, X-rays, irradiation exposure, rollers in post office sorting points, time in transit, length of time held in stock, age at the time of planting. Many take for granted that seed will germinate no matter what, but all these facets will cause disturbing influences on the percentage germination and type of plant that will grow from compromised seed.

There are so many aspects to take into consideration in the seed industry and behind the scenes. A fancy and colourful seed packet may be a perfect distraction to the real point of purchase. But in the end `the proof is in the seed’ and once the grower decides to germinate the seed the answers will follow. It is therefore a big responsibility for a seed company to do testing and hygienic seed production and packaging to maintain the integrity of their product, and the time it can be used with success. The onus for the grower is to do their best to educate themselves on what constitutes a good seed company who will support their own products all the way through to harvest!

By: Shantibaba

From: Dolce Vita Magazine 39