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VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

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VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  GWN on 5/5/2013, 12:15 pm

Hi All
I have been given a collection of seeds that are dated 1991. The woman was working on a heritage project as one of the seed savers and building up a collection of beans, many brought over from Russia in the 1890s. She became very ill rather suddenly and her collection sat down in a cold room until just recently.
So now I am pondering how best to attempt to sprout these as I would dearly love to grow some and get some of these very rare bean seeds out growing again.
Anyone had any luck with sprouting very old seeds?
thanks

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  Kelejan on 5/5/2013, 1:55 pm

You can only try, GWN. If only one out of a hundred sprout, you are on to a winner. I hope they are all labelled.

I have read of two-thousand year-old corn sprouting.

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  plantoid on 5/5/2013, 3:46 pm

GWN ,
Have a look on google using getting old seeds to germinate or similar.
Perhaps using the actual seed types ...such as getting old cabbage seeds to germinate.

Some of the large seeds need lightly abraiding at the point where they were attached to the plant . Some need a few days or hours soaking and when you sow use fine vermiculite twice the depth of the seed thickness with the seed simply laid on top of MM and very lightly pressed down

I've been using a trigger pack to spray the vermiculite that's covering some of my older seeds so it does not get too wet whilst they are on the heated seed propagation bed at 68 oF .

I'm playing along the lines of a bit of moisture and warmth but not too much . My lights are LED UV so I don't get probs with too much sunlight .
I've been checking the seed trays twice a day and moving out the seed tubes that show any germination into the glasshouse so they can get more natural day light now they've " Hatched "

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  Pollinator on 5/5/2013, 4:32 pm

I've been told by a gardener I respect, that you can wet the seeds overnight in a weak tea solution to encourage better germination. Some kinds of garden seeds will last many years, especially if kept cool. I've grown tomatoes from seed over ten years old.

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  GWN on 5/5/2013, 4:47 pm

I have spent a few days searching the internet and specifically with regards to beans, and found some info, but thought I would see if anyone here has any experience.
I have them between paper towels in baggies on a heating pad now, and am thinking of plopping them in some worm castings latter on today

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  littlejo on 5/5/2013, 5:31 pm

I had a lot of 'old' seeds, 1995 etc. I bought new heirloom seeds this yr, but could not stand the thought of just throwing them away, so, I took all the packs to my garden beds and just sprinkled them in the beds. Just on top, I did not bury at the correct depth. I think they all came up. I now have onions, beets, carrots, gr. beans, broccoli, all over the place!

Only advice I can offer, don't let them be too wet. Be sure the plastic bag is open so they don't mold before sprouting. You might do only a few at a time, so you can figure out what works. Beans should not take long on a heat mat.
Jo

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  GWN on 5/5/2013, 5:41 pm

sounds like good advice, I have taken them out of the soaking.. and placed just on moist paper towels, and I cannot believe it the first one has sprouted, a rare old bean called spaghetti black bean, which can grow apparently up to 30 inches long.
These are all heirlooms that she was growing year after year, verifying for this project she was involved in.

Way cool

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  littlejo on 5/5/2013, 5:56 pm

That is so good! How many varieties do you have?
Jo

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  Triciasgarden on 5/5/2013, 10:05 pm

Just today I was watching a recording of Garden Smart and Joe Lamp'l was showing how to check the germination rate of seeds. He wet a paper towel and put ten seeds inside, folded it up and put in in a zip lock and put it on top of the fridge. He said to start checking it in a few days and every day after that. On his he had 9 out of ten sprout. He said to use ten seeds so you can easily check the percentage of germination.

He also said some seeds are good to soak for 24 hours in warm, not boiling hot water. Some seeds he suggested to scarify seeds that have a particularly hard coating (I think that was the word he used). With a bean he rubbed the opposite side from the eye on sandpaper until that area changes color on the sandpaper. The eye part is where the seed will sprout so you don't want to damage that area. By doing that, it allows water and nutrients to penetrate the seed sooner.

He also said that seeds last longer than the packages say. If your germination rate is low, he said to just plant more seeds in each spot.

I would vote for using the seeds. What a nice lady to give the seeds to you because you will use them and take care of them! That is wonderful!

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  GWN on 5/5/2013, 10:41 pm

It IS very wonderful to have these seeds, but it is more of a project than a gift, however I am still very appreciative.
So first I have to see if I can sprout them and then I have to save seeds and follow all the literature about these plants to make sure that the characteristics are the same. Then I have to share them to get them back into circulation.
We have a huge seed exchange in March every year ( a town an hours drive away), and I went this year with very little to share, but perhaps next year I will have much more. Below is a picture of them
spaghetti beans, OR yard long beans

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  GWN on 5/5/2013, 10:54 pm

Jo I have many varieties, however many of them are just labled as white beans, and the research I have done, I have found that this lady (the one who died 12 years ago) was amidst a very major project that many many seed savers were part of and she was keeping track of the heirlooms that were a part of her families culture. I believe she became ill rather suddenly and everything was forgotten and so I wonder whether it was one of those things that you write out notes on things that you are sure that you will be the one who is going to read it.
And she likely had much more to say about each of them. There is one kind called white kidney beans that were brought over to Canada by the Doukhobors in 1899, and they sewed the seeds into the seams of dresses etc.

I have one called Oregon Giant beans, which seem to be sought after seeds. Also a pea called telephone peas that grew very tall. Blue lake pole bean. I think if I could see the bean pods and the seeds and compare them to photos it will be interesting.

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  Turan on 5/6/2013, 1:02 pm

Wow, this sounds like an history/archeology project. I hope you keep us updated on their progress. Is the collection region specific as well as family?

I have heard of old beans sprouting but I don't know the particulars.

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  GWN on 5/6/2013, 3:49 pm

The town is called Castlegar and it is in the Kootenays which is the south east corner of BC and it also extends into the US towards Spokane The project encompassed the entire Kootenay area, of which many different groups settled there.
Italians, Doukhobors, and also Japanese (who did not settle there, but ended up there in Japanese internment camps, but many ended up staying there)

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  Kelejan on 5/6/2013, 5:09 pm

I live in Castlegar and the Doukhobours (Spirit Wrestlers) settled this area over one hundred years ago, after first settling in the prairies before that. Grand Forks, about an hours drive away, also have some of these same people. They were farmers and growers who were displaced from Russia because they were pacifists. I have many acquaintances among them.
They are a great provider of stuff when we have our farmers' markets. Last fall I bought some huge garlic cloves and planted them and they survived the winter very well and I am looking to see how my harvest is this fall.

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  GWN on 5/6/2013, 5:16 pm

My husband came from Grand forks and most of the people he grew up with were Doukhobors, and that is how I met Irene, the lady who was saving the seeds was in Castlegar, and the seeds are dated 1991.... Her name was Koodrin? Did you know her?

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  Kelejan on 5/7/2013, 2:27 am

I do not recognise the name Koodrin, GWN, and there are none of that name in the telephone directory under Castlegar but there is a couple in Krestova and another three people in South Slocan.

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  GWN on 5/7/2013, 8:36 pm

OK FIRST UPDATE
Thus far i have about 8 different varieties started.
The black spaghetti beans have almost all sprouted and so I have put them all into little pots with potting soil. I am only going to keep them in those pots until they show leaves, because I know that they do not like being transplanted. One of the "early Russian" tomatoes has sprouted and I have also transplanted to pot.
ONE "tall telephone" pea seeds has sprouted thus far.

One of the bean varieties Blue Lake, just went mushy with the wet paper towel, though I treated them like I have all the rest of my seeds I have started this year, and so I am thinking that perhaps those ones are gone bad? THOUGHTS??

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/8/2013, 9:11 am

I cannot wait to see how this pans out Especially the black spaghetti beans! GWN, if you have success with those, put me on the list as interested and wanting some Wink

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  GWN on 5/8/2013, 10:38 am

if you have success with those, put me on the list as interested and wanting some
salute YOU GOT IT.
So glad to see someone else interested in beans...

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

Post  GWN on 5/8/2013, 12:44 pm

NEXT UPDATE:

I have got ONE "oregon Giant " bean seed to sprout.
From what I have read, these have been endangered seeds, so I am very excited. Only one out of 10 has sprouted so far, so I am going to take VERY good care of this one

OREGON GIANT BEAN

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Re: VERY old seeds.... sprouting?

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