My son is doing a science research project at school, and he's chosen to research what happens when seeds are refrigerated before planting.

I cannot provide any information in regards to background research (I couldn't find any), but I want to know if refrigerating seeds before planting them will have any effect at all on the seed (so that my son's experiment can be interesting).


  • $\begingroup$ What kind of seeds? Some seeds require cold in order to germinate (search for "cold stratification"). $\endgroup$ – kmm Apr 9 '14 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ @kmm Sorry - silverbeet seeds, but it would be best if a generalised answer would work. $\endgroup$ – Lucas Apr 9 '14 at 21:47

That might be a good experiment.

I know that before planting bulbs you want to put them in the refrigerator or even the freezer sometimes.

In fact this process of cold treating seeds has a name: Stratification.

To paraphrase: some seeds become inactivated at higher temperatures like lettuce and delphinium. You can place the seeds in medium and put them in the fridge or freezer for a day or two.

You can see how this makes sense. The seeds have adapted to start growing when they are freezing because the timing results in the plants breaking ground as early as possible when the temperature is warm enough in the spring.

A quick search doesn't seem to imply that silverbeet needs to be stratified before planting. The result might be negative, but there is definitely some good expectation that it makes a difference to some plants.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ That's the main idea, apparently - that the silverbeet seeds do not need stratification - so my son's testing the results. $\endgroup$ – Lucas Apr 10 '14 at 0:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ i think that's awesome. nice project really. Every year I judge science fairs and that one sounds pretty good! $\endgroup$ – shigeta Apr 10 '14 at 3:15

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.