Bulk wheat seed - will it still sprout after being stored for a few
years in an oxygen-free container?
That's a question that was posed to me recently, and one that's
important as many people are now storing food to be prepared for any
kind of emergency that might come our way.
To understand why you can store seeds in an oxygen-free container - as well as in oxygen or nitrogen, you have to understand a bit about the seeds themselves.
Every seed carries within it enough nutrients to keep the tiny plant growing inside alive long enough to develop sufficient roots to absorb moisture, nutrients and oxygen from outside sources.
As soon as seeds are exposed to warmth and moisture, they start to germinate, using up their innate food source. Expose your seeds to warm temperatures too long, they won't have enough of their own sugars to germinate a young seedling.
That's why it's so crucial to keep your seeds in a cool place and to make sure they remain dry.
The way to make sure seeds remain viable - in other words, to keep those
stored nutrients stored - you need to make certain they don't sprout.
You do that by drying your seeds long enough so they have less than 8
Most seeds, including bulk wheat seed as well as other grains or beans, will remain viable for several years as long as they are sufficiently dried. That doesn't change whether they are exposed to oxygen or deprived of it.
With seeds and especially with bulk wheat seed, the two most crucial
factors in retaining viability - in other words keeping the seeds
dormant so they won't sprout before you are ready to plant them - are
moisture and fungi.
The higher the amount of moisture and fungi a wheat seed is exposed to, the less likely that wheat will sprout later on, so the key to keeping your seeds viable is to keep these two crucial factors down.
For that reason, it is far better to store your wheat indoors where it won't be exposed to extreme heat. Fungi grow much more quickly when temps reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, so store your wheat in a closet or pantry indoors.
Vacuum sealing your wheat is a great way to keep the moisture out and will also keep the insects from hatching - another threat to your stored wheat supply.