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Testing Seeds

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Testing Seeds

Post  greatgranny on 8/11/2013, 7:38 pm

I have some beet seeds that were for 2011.  They have been in the refrigerator in a sealed jar.  Only a few are sprouting when I plant them.  I have more seeds left and would like a quick way to test them.  I read somewhere about putting them in a container of water and something about some floating on top and some sinking to the bottom.  

Is this true?  If so, which ones would be the keepers?
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Re: Testing Seeds

Post  pattipan on 8/11/2013, 7:49 pm

The way I test my tomato seeds is to lay 10 of them out on damp paper towels (not dripping wet) and place them in a plastic zip bag. I put them in a warm dark place and check in 3 to 5 days. I spritz with water if it looks like the paper towel is too dry. Some seeds take longer to sprout, but beet seeds should show their viability in 3 to 5.

Not heard of testing by placing them in a jar of water. I would say the floaters would be the bad seed, maybe indicating they have dried out too much.

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Re: Testing Seeds

Post  landarch on 8/11/2013, 8:03 pm

the "float test" typically works for tree seeds (acorns, hickory nuts, etc)...floaters are tossed and the ones that sink to the bottom are kept as they have the best chance at germination.  The floaters probably have been infiltrated by an insect pest and destroyed the inner seed.

Don't know if this works for smaller veggie seeds or not.
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Re: Testing Seeds

Post  camprn on 8/11/2013, 8:03 pm

Floating beet seed is not a reliable way to determine the viability of the seeds. My opinion is that the rumor of floating and sinking seeds in not true...
Greatgranny, you planted a certain number of seeds before and only a portion of them came up. Seems to me you have already done the test.

If it was my garden, I would just sow thicker and thin as necessary.


Last edited by camprn on 8/11/2013, 8:09 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : corrected typos)

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Re: Testing Seeds

Post  landarch on 8/11/2013, 8:04 pm

...or just buy some fresh seed...bulk beet seeds are dirt cheap.
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Re: Testing Seeds

Post  greatgranny on 8/11/2013, 8:27 pm

Well, I just did what camprn said.  I used up the rest of the seeds (4 squares worth).  If they grow, well then that is good.  If not, nothing lost except that I like beets.  Wink

Thanks.
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Re: Testing Seeds

Post  camprn on 8/11/2013, 8:52 pm

@greatgranny wrote:Well, I just did what camprn said.  I used up the rest of the seeds (4 squares worth).  If they grow, well then that is good.  If not, nothing lost except that I like beets.  Wink

Thanks.
I love beets too and I too had less than desired germination........ sobbing 

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Re: Testing Seeds

Post  greatgranny on 8/11/2013, 9:06 pm

Wonder if it has just been a weird year for beets.
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Re: Testing Seeds

Post  murarrie25 on 8/11/2013, 9:36 pm

One site on internet recommended cracking the beet seeds with wax paper and a rolling pin .Will have to give this a try mine seem to take a long time to germinate.
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