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What are the Chances of Germination on Discovered Seeds?

Posted by desertdance So CA Zone 19 (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 9:43

Hi! New here sorta. I'm mainly a cutting propagator. Never had enough room for seeds, but now I do.

We recently purchased a neglected, overgrown 1.4 acre property, and each day is a discovery of a new plant (they are starting to know me well on the Name that Plant) forum, and the Weed forum.. :-)

Yesterday, DH found a tupperware container with a ziplock inside containing over 50 types of seed packets. Some opened, some not. Some flowers, some vegetables. These seeds are probably 2-10 years old. What are the chances of germination?

Should I even try? Should I just toss them?

I just purchased 4 Amaranthus varieties and they are in seed starting trays. Along with them came a packet of mixed cutting flowers. I'll definitely sew those and expect some results. With all the weeds on the property, it will be tough to know what is coming up unless I flag the row, which I will do.

So what do you think?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What are the Chances of Germination on Discovered Seeds?

If you're adventurous, put a few seeds from each packet (label and keep track) between some wet paper towels and see if they germinate. Have some fun with it. You might find some gems. I personally love when there is a story to go with a plant.

RE: What are the Chances of Germination on Discovered Seeds?

Thanks Susan! I will do that! How wet should the paper towels be? I just bookmarked all the seed germination databases in that thread so I know how long to wait.

This will be an adventure for sure!


RE: What are the Chances of Germination on Discovered Seeds?

I was just reading about "double dormancy" that some seeds can fall into. To wake them up they might need a soaking. Try 4-5 of each overnight. Regularly I just soak 3 hours for new seeds I buy in fold packages.
I like the paper towel method Suzi mentioned to wake up seeds in a deep sleep.
My method might be different than most people, but I put them in a damp paper towel folded over and place in a plastic sandwich container on top of the frig for 2-3 days. They may not have germinated but it helps break the dormancy.
Some folks use coffee filters also. Guess there are many ways to do most things in the garden.

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