Older seeds germinating

drippy(7bAL)March 21, 2013

I always plant plenty of current and recent vintage seeds, but having overtraded and overbought throughout the last several years (no one else has this problem, right?), I always have to plant some old seeds, too. Here's some results, so far from this year's 2006 and 2007 trades that have germinated:

Celosia, Glowing Spears (06)
Linaria, Northern Lights (06)
Poppy, light purple peony (06)
Thermopsis caroliniana (06)
Monarda x hybrida lambada (07)
Salpiglossis, mixed (07)
Tomato, Hawaiian Pineapple (07)
Verbena, Imagination (07)

It will be interesting to watch the health of these. I had some red peony poppies, collected from my own garden in 2008, that came up like gangbusters, but died off right away. The black ones, which also germinated well, are very healthy. Interesting stuff to watch!

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pghgardengirl(6b SW PA)

I also planted some 08 seeds this year...figured wht have I got to lose, right? Mine were Marigolds & several varietiesof peppers & tomatoes. I am thinking the tomatoes will be fine....

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 5:00PM
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ladyrose65

Drippy, that is very interesting, I'm always worried about keeping seeds longer than 2 -summers. Now, I'll think twice before trading off.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 8:30PM
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ishareflowers

Drippy, how do you store your seeds? I have heard that it can make a big difference in shelf life. I know they say the best is to refrigerate BUT I have so many that I now store them in Rubbermaid containers. I keep them in the coldest room of my house.

I'm glad to hear your results though because I have way over bought commercials the last few years.

Lisa

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 7:24AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Glad to hear your seeds are doing well. I routinely germinate old seeds. The basil and parsley seeds I've been using for the past 5 years were packed in the 1990s - 1991 and 1998 respectively, and they still germinate well. And herb seeds are supposed to have a short shelf life!

I think storage is the key. If you store seeds at room temp, they supposedly last about 3-5 years. I store all my seeds in a produce drawer in the refrigerator. They are generally in paper packets, in ziploc bags (not zipped closed) and organized by category (perennial, biennial, herbs, etc). I throw dessicants from packaging, vitamins, etc in the drawer and bags. I've been storing seeds this way for 25 years.

The freezer is supposedly even better. The big seed banks store seeds at very cold temps, and they dry them out really well. Refrigerators and freezers are dessicating anyway, which is probably good for the seeds.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 9:51AM
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drippy(7bAL)

Lisa, I don't store my seeds in the refrigerator - never have. I use plastic containers (Rubbermaid or some other brand, not sure) and every one of the little silica gel packets I get in other things (shoeboxes, for example) get thrown in with them. They are at room temperature. Terrene may get even better results than I do storing them in the frig, but there is no way I could do that - LOL, I'd need a whole frig just for my seeds.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 8:12PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

I've routinely used seeds four, five and six years old and haven't noticed a real dropoff in germination in most varieties, although I have heard that aster seeds don't last more than a season. Maybe that's why I had trouble a few years back with some I got in trade -- they were one of my failure containers. Last year I bought some new aster seed and got plants.

I store mine in envelopes alphabetized in a plastic bin in the bottom half of a hutch -- dark and probably not too warm, but then my house doesn't feel all that warm most of the time since the hubby thinks 65 is a fine temp for winter. I usually turn it up a few degrees when he's not around. :)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 7:20AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

I've routinely used seeds four, five and six years old and haven't noticed a real dropoff in germination in most varieties, although I have heard that aster seeds don't last more than a season. Maybe that's why I had trouble a few years back with some I got in trade -- they were one of my failure containers. Last year I bought some new aster seed and got plants.

I store mine in envelopes alphabetized in a plastic bin in the bottom half of a hutch -- dark and probably not too warm, but then my house doesn't feel all that warm most of the time since the hubby thinks 65 is a fine temp for winter. I usually turn it up a few degrees when he's not around. :)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 7:21AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Sorry for the double post. Didn't realize I'd hit submit then hit it again.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 7:22AM
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pdsavage(5/6)

I just droped 9 seed packets into container with soil 1997-2000 seeds.
nothing will come up im sure,i had the space in the window ad some extra dirt so figured why not.

last year I got one seed to sprout from realy old seeds.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 5:11PM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Yet again, my mother - 85 year old - gave me seeds she 'found'. I'm only going to tell you how old they were if they germinate. :O)

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 8:49PM
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