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A Very Cool Addition to the Center for Historic Plants at Monticello


CHP's new CoolBot refrigerator; image by GDZ Photo

Inside the CoolBot; image by GDZ PhotoLast fall, our staff installed a new CoolBot walk-in refrigerator at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants (CHP). Previously, all seeds grown, harvested, cleaned, and packaged at Monticello were stored in one of two places: an ordinary household fridge, or an unglamorous shed with a window mounted A/C unit. The upgrade to a commercial, walk-in cooler affords us more space for seed storage and allows for better seed control under a constant temperature and humidity threshold (cold and dry conditions are preferred for most of the CHP and Monticello seed lines). The unit also allows us to maintain a neat and orderly system for fulfilling orders! Coupled with improved germination testing protocols and enhanced record-keeping efforts, we continue to offer top-quality products for our many customers and fans.

Packages of CHP harvested seeds in neat order on shelves in the CoolBot; image by GDZ Photo

The CoolBot is a farmer-invented device that promises enhanced system performance for years to come. More information on the CoolBot at:

Don’t own this ‘cool’ system at home? Stay chill – here are some easy-to-follow tips for seed storage, using your kitchen or secondary fridge:

  • Save silica gel packs to store with seeds to keep them dry.
  • Keep your seeds in an airtight container.
  • No need to freeze, the refrigerator is cool enough!
  • When collecting seeds from your garden, wait until the seed heads have dried completely on the plant to ensure the seed is fully developed before gathering.

Special thanks to John and Anita O’Connell for their generous gift of support for the Center for Historic Plants.


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