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Old 02-25-2008, 08:36 AM   #1
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Old seed?

I have tons of seeds left that I bought at least 5 years ago, last year most of them started and I did get some decent veggies from them.
I'm wondering though if those plants are compromised at all? I mean, are they a less healthy plant? Would I be getting more yield out of a fresher seed?
Not that I needed any more, we're only 5 people and 3 of them being short we had plenty.

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Old 02-25-2008, 08:41 AM   #2
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what will happen is the germination percentage will drop off over time, so if you started with a 98% in year 1 year 2 will be less like 80% and after 5 years you`re probably less than 10%
Again, I will point out that it depends on the Plant also! some seeds will do 15 years standing on their heads and germinate like it was yesterday!
others drop off Very rapidly to less than a percent in couple of years.
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Old 02-25-2008, 08:46 AM   #3
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Yeah the zucchini reproduced like rabbits! :) Can't kill those things!
Eggplants did ok, but never got a chance to get big. My 3 yr old picked them when they got to about 4 inches and called them his pets...... even took a nap with one.
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:12 PM   #4
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This is one of my favorite topics!!

I STILL have seed saved from 12 YEARS AGO that still produce for me. Last year I ended up with between 80% & 100% germination from 10-year old tomato, eggplant, pepper, escarole, lettuce, chard, yadayadayada. I NEVER EVER toss out old seed.

The key is to save it PROPERLY. I fold down the packet tops & tape them securely, then pack them into glass jars (I save pasta-sauce & salad-dressing jars specifically for this purpose). These jars are then put into cardboard boxes & stored in the closet of our spare - aka storage - room. DON'T store seeds in your basement, garage, attic, etc. You want a cool/temperate, completely dry, dark area.

As far as plant "health" - that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the age of the seed. If it sprouts & you care for it correctly, it's absolutely no different from a current year's seed.

I STILL have some seeds leftover from 1996 that I'll be planting this year - & I'm sure they'll be just fine.
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:27 PM   #5
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Poppy seeds are cray like that too, you can bury them and leave then underground then turn the ground over 15 years later and they will shoot up :)
almost indestructible.
there`s also tree seeds that will NOT germinate unless you`ve set fire to there pod!
and then there`s stuff like the Avocado that if you Don`t plant it after taking it out, will be pretty useless after a few months.
ever wondered What the most "Seemingly" unlikely place is to find Rogue tomatoes growing?
ask any one that works at a Sewerage plant, eat a tomato, poo it out and flush it, it`ll grow!


Ya GOTTA Love nature!
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:47 PM   #6
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Cool breezy, thanks!
I only have to wait 1 more month to start them, the peppers and eggplants maybe 3 weeks or so. My fingers are itching to get in the dirt!!!!
YT at our old house tomatoes grew in the driveway!!! I had dragged a bag of stuff across it to the compost and it broke.... the next spring, there they were, growing away with oil from the RV dripping on them!
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Old 02-25-2008, 06:04 PM   #7
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I have seeds from years ago. Heck, I have seeds i smugled back from ukraine nearly 18 years ago. If I was not afraid of radiation I would probably still use them. You should be just fine.
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Old 02-25-2008, 07:33 PM   #8
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Speaking of your seeds. At the certain temps they could survive for a long time. Read the article: `Doomsday' vault opens to protect seeds - Yahoo! News
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Old 02-27-2008, 12:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieD View Post
Speaking of your seeds. At the certain temps they could survive for a long time. Read the article: `Doomsday' vault opens to protect seeds - Yahoo! News
I just saw a program about the Svalbard (Doomsday) Seed Bank this afternoon. Very interesting!
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:28 AM   #10
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I saw that this morning, the seed vault. Pretty cool!
Charlie are you from near Chernobyl (sp?)? We watched a show on the history channel last night called "Life After People" and they were showing a town in the Ukraine (can't remember the name) that hasn't had life since the explosion. It was a really good show.
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:53 AM   #11
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Yes, Kiev (where I am from) is very close, I think it is like 60 miles or 80 kilometers or something like that I do not remember exactly.
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
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If I was not afraid of radiation I would probably still use them. You should be just fine.
LOL, the seeds (if not Sterile as a result) will be Perfectly Radiation free as Plants you may be 100% certain

Radiation is SO misunderstood by the general public it`s beyond belief!

trust me, these will be entirely Harmless!
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Old 02-27-2008, 12:47 PM   #13
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So what's the worst that could happen?
Glowing green pumpinks? Could be fun for Halloween!!! :)
This thread has me very happy, I looked thru my seeds last night and I have just tons and tons. Just not enough room to start them all!!!!!
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:39 PM   #14
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Oh, okkkkkkkkkk! I came on to the Gardening forum looking for the answer to this question.

I'm going to take Breezycooking and Charlie's advice and plant some of my 3 -year-old seeds instead of tossing them.

In case it makes a difference what type of seed, they are Kentucky Wonder pole beans, yellow bush beans, radishes and sunflowers.

They have been kept in a dry spot in a closet, the packages have not been taped shut, just folded over, tucked in pockets of my gardening bag.

Hope you guys are right!

Lee
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:57 PM   #15
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I can attest..... they really do live thru EVERYTHING.... just not all of them.
I have seeds from 2002. They spent a year in a frozen shed, another in a half heated garage, who knows where else. (I can't remember, we moved twice)
I planted 3-4 of the old ones per little pot.... darned if I don't have to thin them, I got 2-3 to pop up! Now I feel like I wasted seeds!!!!!
I'm sure they will be just fine having been kept in more temperate conditions than mine were.
Let us know!
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:42 PM   #16
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It is incredible how long seeds can remain viable. Your state agriculture department or one of your land grant universities will likely have a seed lab that will test your seeds for hardiness and viability for a few dollars. When in doubt, check them out. If you plant seeds that are not viable you have not lost much in terms of dollars but you have lost a great deal in terms of growing time. That's my 2 cents.
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:17 AM   #17
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Or you can just germinate them yourself to check for viability. Take 10 seeds, roll them in a wet paper towel, and put them into a plastic bag. Check them every day or so, and see how many germinate. (Germinate=begin to grow. A root will pop out of the seed.)

If 8 of them germinate, you have an 80% germination rate--pretty good. If only one germinates, not so good--either throw them away or plant very heavily.
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:48 AM   #18
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Michael in FtW and anyone out west who might be going to Colorado sometimes soon: The National Seed Bank is in Fort Colllins at Colorado State University (my husband's alma mater). When visiting once we called ahead and asked if they give tours. They were thrilled! "Not many who aren't in the business know we are here!" We really enjoyed it, seeing how our future is being protected. We, too, saw the show you mentioned.

I've never had any weird experiences with using old seeds, but have had erratic results in the number of plants I get from the seeds. Because I don't have a good place to give them an early start and have a relatively short growing period, what seeds I do use I buy new each season, much as I hate to toss out what may be perfectly fine seeds. I also share with friends and neighbors since in most cases I wind up with more seeds than I need (ditto when I have to buy a 6- or 8- pack and only want a plant or two). When I lived with a year-round or very long growing season (Florida, Hawaii), I saved my seeds in a sealed baggy in the crisper drawer of the fridge and rarely threw out a seed.
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