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Using Old Seeds Toplef10Using Old Seeds 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Using Old Seeds I22gcj10Using Old Seeds 14dhcg10

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Using Old Seeds

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Post  countrynaturals 2/11/2017, 6:22 pm

Last month Katie found some old seeds that came from Amanda's pre-school. (Amanda is our granddaughter -- Katie's daughter -- former pre-school teacher.) The seeds were from 2011, so I didn't have much hope for them. I had already started some sugar snap peas from seed, to plant in the sfg. When it came time to set them out, I dumped the old seeds in front of them, just to see what would happen. Here's what I found, today. Can you believe it? Cool Now I don't know what to do with them. I know they don't like to be transplanted. Should I just leave them there and let them turn into a tangle?
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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt 2/11/2017, 7:38 pm

Do you have some branched/twiggy sticks that you can stick into the ground between the seedlings? That will give them some support besides each other and help them stay more upright -- with all the water you've had, you'll probably want them growing upwards so they get more ventilation/less ground contact.

Edited to add: Looks like sugar snap peas get to be 5-6ft tall, so go for taller sticks if you can. I was originally assuming these were shorter 2-3ft pea


Last edited by BeetlesPerSqFt on 2/11/2017, 7:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : jumped the gun and hit send before looking up relevant variety specific info)
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Post  donnainzone5 2/11/2017, 9:11 pm

The spacing looks good!  Why not get or use some cages or stakes and see what happens?

I recently did a seed inventory and discovered quite a few seed packets that were ancient.  Probably, I'll try the wet paper towel method to test germination on some of them.  If at least one of three or four don't sprout, out with them!
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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/11/2017, 10:11 pm

Agree!  Shove a support in there, trellis, or tall sticks.  Yum!
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Post  countrynaturals 2/12/2017, 12:11 pm

donnainzone5 wrote:The spacing looks good!  Why not get or use some cages or stakes and see what happens?

I recently did a seed inventory and discovered quite a few seed packets that were ancient.  Probably, I'll try the wet paper towel method to test germination on some of them.  If at least one of three or four don't sprout, out with them!
Give them plenty of time on that paper towel. These babies took at least 3 weeks to sprout. The seeds kept swelling and popping out of the dirt. I kept shoving them back down and covering them back up. I never thought they would actually do anything.  Shocked

I just went back and checked. Those seeds were planted on January 17.
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Post  countrynaturals 2/12/2017, 5:35 pm

Today I went through my old radish seeds. I found some from 2007. They are now planted with others from 2011, 2013, and last year, just to make sure I get something. I'll let you know what happens. Rolling Eyes
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Post  CapeCoddess 4/8/2017, 3:40 pm

I have some pak choi seeds from 2012 that have had a downward spiraling germination rate over the years when I start them inside in the cell packs. So this year I decided to find out which ones were viable and not bother with the bad ones. I used the wet paper towel method last weekend and it looks like just about every one of them sprouted. Using Old Seeds Img_2103

Hands down, this is the way I'll be handling old seeds from now on.
I'll allow some of these plants to bolt so I can collect more seed.
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Post  sanderson 4/9/2017, 1:43 pm

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Post  sanderson 6/4/2017, 2:57 am

Husband added a second story to my garden industrial shelving in my computer room.  He set this box of seeds on the shelf while moving things around.  Seeds that I forgot I bought in 2012 from Baker Creek. Embarassed  Most have never been opened! Using Old Seeds Seeds_12

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Post  countrynaturals 6/4/2017, 9:41 am

sanderson wrote:Husband added a second story to my garden industrial shelving in my computer room.  He set this box of seeds on the shelf while moving things around.  Seeds that I forgot I bought in 2012 from Baker Creek. Embarassed  Most have never been opened! Using Old Seeds Seeds_12
Time for a Zombie Garden? tongue
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Post  sanderson 6/4/2017, 11:20 am

Razz Many of them are flowers.

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Post  countrynaturals 6/4/2017, 11:48 am

sanderson wrote:Razz  Many of them are flowers.
Give them a chance. My 2012s have germinated quite well. Older than that -- not so much. Rolling Eyes
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Post  SwampTroll 6/5/2017, 10:11 am

I had old corn and bean seeds from 2014 and 2013.

I soaked them overnight and EVERY single corn kernel planted sprouted and as did 4 of 6 beans.

Reminds me I should probably have started my tomatoes already, but I'll probably end up buying plants - if I can find the ones that I want.

Still old seeds can still germinate, just at a much lower rate than their fresher counterparts.

I'm sooo looking forward to my corn harvest.
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Post  trolleydriver 6/5/2017, 11:03 am

SwampTroll wrote:I had old corn and bean seeds from 2014 and 2013.

I soaked them overnight and EVERY single corn kernel planted sprouted and as did 4 of 6 beans.

Reminds me I should probably have started my tomatoes already, but I'll probably end up buying plants - if I can find the ones that I want.

Still old seeds can still germinate, just at a much lower rate than their fresher counterparts.

I'm sooo looking forward to my corn harvest.
ST ... I think you are too late to start tomatoes from seed in your location. I wish you all the best with your corn, beans and the garden as a whole.
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Post  llama momma 6/5/2017, 1:11 pm

Just a heads up from tons of reading -- in general, seed germination is typically the last thing that deteriorates with older seeds.  What you may want to do is take notes and see how vigorous the plant grows and produces for you since growth and production tend to falter before germination viability. Then you can decide if the seeds are worth planting next time.   Or you can look up seed vigor and viability to gain much more insight.
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Post  trolleydriver 6/5/2017, 1:16 pm

llama momma wrote:Just a heads up from tons of reading -- in general, seed germination is typically the last thing that deteriorates with older seeds.  What you may want to do is take notes and see how vigorous the plant grows and produces for you since growth and production tend to falter before germination viability. Then you can decide if the seeds are worth planting next time.   Or you can look up seed vigor and viability to gain much more insight.
This is what I love about this forum. I learn new things every day from the members.
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Post  llama momma 6/5/2017, 2:41 pm

trolleydriver wrote:
llama momma wrote:Just a heads up from tons of reading -- in general, seed germination is typically the last thing that deteriorates with older seeds.  What you may want to do is take notes and see how vigorous the plant grows and produces for you since growth and production tend to falter before germination viability. Then you can decide if the seeds are worth planting next time.   Or you can look up seed vigor and viability to gain much more insight.
This is what I love about this forum. I learn new things every day from the members.
Made me smile, thanks.  I knew if I stuck around here long enough I'd learn some useful things to help and pass along to others, as so many have done for me the past 7 years.
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Post  sanderson 6/6/2017, 12:14 am

Interesting information.

Just realized my forgotten seeds are from My Patriot Supply, sealed in foil. They should be in good condition.

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Post  CapeCoddess 6/6/2017, 4:46 pm

sanderson wrote:

Just realized my forgotten seeds are from My Patriot Supply, sealed in foil.  They should be in good condition.

*whew*
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