Frozen seeds - still viable?

sconnielillMarch 31, 2011

I got a mini greenhouse for xmas and set it up, put it in a full sun south facing spot.

From the information I've read about using cold frames, I was more concerned about the interior getting too hot for my seeds/seedlings than too cold at night.

So, several days ago I started my tomato & pepper seeds in their starter pots and put the trays on teh top two levels of my greenhouse.

When I checked on them in the morning, I found that the soil had frozen a bit. I've brought the trays inside to wait for warmer weather or a chance to figure out how to keep the greenhouse warmer during the night.

So, do you think the seeds may still sprout? I have more seeds and I don't want to wait another week unless I'm sure that what got frozen did not survive.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
keriann_lakegeneva(5B WI/IL border)

They should be ok.

Those seed like to be warm though. I don't think they would germinate outside in a greenhouse unless the soil temps stayed above 65/70*

You are right though.. you dont want to cook them either!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 10:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
eaglesgarden(6b - se PA)

Tomatoes are notorious at self-seeding from rotten tomatoes from the year before. I always have some volunteer tomatoes that pop up from where I missed some rotten ones from the year before. The tomatoes should be fine, without any concern. The peppers I'm not as sure about. In general, peppers are warm weather plants that grow primarily in areas that don't see freezing temps. I'm not sure if they are going to be good or not. Either way, peppers are very slow in germinating, usually.

This past year I used a method I've seen a lot for peppers, but never tried. I put some pepper seeds inside a neatly folded paper towel, then I sprayed the paper towel with a fine mist to thoroughly moisten it (and the seeds), but not to the point of dripping. Then I placed that folded paper towel into a ziploc bag (but did not close it), and placed it on top of my florescent fixtures (just above the ballast - where it gets the warmest). My jalapenos took less than 4 days to germinate, and the bells took a little over 5 days. I think gently moved the peppers (handling only the outer shell of the seed, rather than the gentle root) and gently put them into their cells. These plants are only about 1 week behind the jalapenos I started more traditionally in cells (4 weeks earlier).

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 12:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I too left my seeds out all winter. Just wondering what you guys think. I read an article that said to check for seed viability you can place 5-10 seeds in a moist paper towel. Wrap it up, enclose them in a plastic bag and leave in a warm place for a few days or so and see if they germinate. Well, they are doing really well after four days and most of the basil seeds have germinated. The others are a little behind. I just was wondering how to plant these seeds that have germinated. I geuss I just place the seed in the soil like I would normally do and make sure the root is sticking out above the soil right? Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 3:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the info on the rotten tomatoes eagle. I was wondering why I had a couple of new tomato plants last year. I wanted to ask you guys......have you ever used those garden seeder tools. My fingers are kind of fat and some of those tiny seeds are hard to manipulate. Just wondering. I am looking at one for like 8 bucks from Amazon. With tax and shipping around 15. Think its worth it? The people who reviewed it liked it.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 4:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
eaglesgarden(6b - se PA)


First, the first part of the plant to come out of the seed is the ROOT, that needs to be BELOW the surface when you plant them, preferably facing down. The entire thing CAN be put under the surface. In my case, with the peppers I mentioned, lightly put some seed starting mix over the top after making a little notch in the soil for the root. Then I sprayed the top with a fine mist of water to help settle the soil. The plants popped out of the soil in a couple of days (2 or 3).

Second, I too have large fingers, but I do not use the seeder tools. I personally am not a fan of buying many things that are only good for doing one thing, and a seeding tool isn't worth doing anything else. Now, one thing that I do to help with smaller seeds is: Fold the seed packet and slowly tap so that I can control the flow of the seeds. I let a few small seeds like lettuce or basil fall into the place I want them. (It is normally recommended to plant a few seeds into a cell anyway.) Then I thin them as needed when they germinate. I give them a little while to all grow and the one that sets true leaves soonest, or shows the most promise by that time is the one that stays, the rest are casualties. I trim them away with scissors - this causes no stress to the remaining plant. (I came across this method by accident. I had my son helping me one year - 3 year old - and he seeded the same cell about 12 times, unbeknownst to me. Well, next thing I know, I have about 30 cabbage all coming up in the same cell. What else could I do? So, I figure I overseed a little, but it pretty well ensures that I get at least one plant to germinate in each and every cell. Nothing is as sad as an empty cell. I don't have enough space under my lights to leave cells empty!

If you have an extra $15 laying around that you can't find a better use for, go for it. For me though, using popsicle sticks, etc. and the occasional tweezer, if necessary.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Good news, my first cherry tomato seedlings are starting to come out. All is well with the world.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 6:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It;s been a while since I came back to this site. Just busy doing other stuff. Actually just cane back from a cruise to the Bahamas. Great time except for the first night when the 16 foot seas made it a little uncomfortable to say the least. Besides that the weather was perfect. Anyway, thanx Eagle for the thorough explanation on the best was to plant germinated seeds. Most of the seeds i germinated are doing fine especially the cilantro and parsley. Ther are 2-4 inches already. Oh yea, I was you ever join two small plants together and just let them grow like that? I tried it last year and, for the most part, they seemed to do fine. My feeling is if you try to plant 5-6 plants together that might actually inhibit the growth of the plant. The other plants I germinted were basil and they are doing fine. There are 3 empty cells where the purple basil should be growing but are empty. Not sure why. I have other purple in different trays.

I am glad I never bought the SEEDER for $15. Don't need it. I do what you do and tap the seeds and put them in a very small plastic bowl. I then just grab some strong reading glasses, a good pair of tweezers and I am good to go. I will definitely try your method of "clearing out the casualties" though. I figured it would be better to take out the defective plants root and all. This is my third year of gardening and I have learned to separate the seeds in each cell. I put 3 in each one and separate them. I could just take the roots out ...probably without disturbing the main plant. Not sure though. As for labeling the plants I am using some fluorescent green plastic silverware that was left over from some outdoor barbeque we had last year. Works great. How are you doing in PA with your gardening?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:34AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
mail order seeds
I purchased from Gurney Seed and Territorial Seed Co...
What size cell to pot up?
Hello, longtime lurker here. I am growing vegetables...
desert rose seedling care
I have planted some desert rose seeds 2 weeks ago,...
Dusty Miller Silver Lace seeds wanted
I am looking for Dusty Miller Silver Lace seeds. The...
Petunia seedlings' leaves curling
My petunia seedlings are tiny and have curled up leaves,...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™