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Seed storage and seedling mix concern

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Seed storage and seedling mix concern

Post  llama momma on 4/18/2014, 9:55 am

I'm not impressed this year with germination/vigor from my stored seeds from last year's expensive heirloom tomato (2013)packets. Last year fresh from the packets they did great.  The unused seeds went in the fridge in a jar individually stored in tiny zip lock bags with rice to absorb moisture and must admit so far they are not as vigorous as seeds sprouted fresh from other new packets bought this year.  Maybe I'm expecting too much germination success from stored seed?   I'm stating this as a general overall observation, without getting into all the possibilities why.  Just wondering if this is normal for you too. 

My second complaint today is bag of Johnny's 512 seems to have excessive little chunks of junk which flies in the face of paying for a good quality finely screened medium for germination. I'm pulling out little pebble like things and twiggy things and its not how I remember the last bag from last year.  I think a friendly call to Johnny's is next. 

Maybe I need to entertain the idea I might be spoiled from too many other SFG successes  Wink

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Re: Seed storage and seedling mix concern

Post  AtlantaMarie on 4/18/2014, 1:48 pm

Oh, dear...  I got the majority of my seeds from Baker Creek.  Rest are Burpee & Seeds of Change from HD/Lowe's.  They were on an end of season clearance sale at one of the local prepper shops.  All were 2013.  GREAT germination rates and REALLY clean on what I've tried so far.  No refrigeration/freezing.

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Re: Seed storage and seedling mix concern

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/18/2014, 3:12 pm

@llama momma wrote:I'm not impressed this year with germination/vigor from my stored seeds from last year's expensive heirloom tomato (2013)packets. Last year fresh from the packets they did great.  The unused seeds went in the fridge in a jar individually stored in tiny zip lock bags with rice to absorb moisture and must admit so far they are not as vigorous as seeds sprouted fresh from other new packets bought this year.  Maybe I'm expecting too much germination success from stored seed?   I'm stating this as a general overall observation, without getting into all the possibilities why.  Just wondering if this is normal for you too. 

Maybe I need to entertain the idea I might be spoiled from too many other SFG successes  Wink

Aw, LM...you know how it goes, we just plant more. We have to use them up anyway...

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Re: Seed storage and seedling mix concern

Post  llama momma on 4/18/2014, 7:35 pm

Yeah....I know....  SF gardening has spoiled me, what a brat!  Laughing

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Re: Seed storage and seedling mix concern

Post  jimmy cee on 4/18/2014, 9:49 pm

Last seasons seeds are doing fine for me this season, Twilley & Burpee have been stored over winter in their original packs, paper clipped in a tool box I use for seed stuff.
Out of about 200 plantings I may heave had 15 that did not come up

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Re: Seed storage and seedling mix concern

Post  quiltbea on 4/18/2014, 10:24 pm

My refrigerator stored seeds (in baggies in the crisper drawers)are doing OK.  Of course, the older the seed the more I sow to allow for germination failures.  But I'm satisfied.  I've had some 4 and 5 yrs old germinate pretty well.

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Re: Seed storage and seedling mix concern

Post  plantoid on 4/19/2014, 6:49 pm

When the big seed house pack seeds that are their own it's quite normal to say grow 500 pounds of carrot cabbage tomato  etc etc seed in 2010 and release a hundred pounds    in small packets each year for the next few years .. they put the year of packing on the small packs .

 Perhaps think of it this way  ..they practice crop rotation over a three or four yearly cycle on their seed producing land and will only grow the short viability / life seeds every year .. it's all down to economy of scale.

 Some seed houses import seeds from abroad by the ton , ready packed in their own home branded packets  .. there is little guarantee in lots of these seeds .
 
 Foil packed treated seeds are the best you can get . Most hermetically sealed foil packs are good for years as they are kept in the foils under optimum storage conditions .

I've had foil packed in runner beans & flowers six years out of their use by date and every seed  in the foil pack came through OK.

 I don't know how the seeds are dated in the USA but here in the UK we get several different ways .
 For instance
Some only say packed year ending 2014
Some will say the same and add use by 2015
Some just have a use by month and year date .

There are moves afoot over here that will make it illegal to sell any seeds with in the EU countries that fail to have year grown year packed & the use by dates . But you can guarantee no seed house is going to put anything other than use by the end of the year that they appear on the shop shelves .

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Re: Seed storage and seedling mix concern

Post  floyd1440 on 4/20/2014, 6:19 am

@llama momma wrote:I'm not impressed this year with germination/vigor from my stored seeds from last year's expensive heirloom tomato (2013)packets. Last year fresh from the packets they did great.  The unused seeds went in the fridge in a jar individually stored in tiny zip lock bags with rice to absorb moisture and must admit so far they are not as vigorous as seeds sprouted fresh from other new packets bought this year.  Maybe I'm expecting too much germination success from stored seed?   I'm stating this as a general overall observation, without getting into all the possibilities why.  Just wondering if this is normal for you too. 

My second complaint today is bag of Johnny's 512 seems to have excessive little chunks of junk which flies in the face of paying for a good quality finely screened medium for germination. I'm pulling out little pebble like things and twiggy things and its not how I remember the last bag from last year.  I think a friendly call to Johnny's is next. 

Maybe I need to entertain the idea I might be spoiled from too many other SFG successes  Wink


I am having a similar problem as well with the seeds.  Some of my tomatoes that I purchased last year are ending up at a germination rate of 50% after being a year old and am a little suspect on how long they have been stored before they package them as new.  The seeds I have saved, even though they are 3 years old, are germinating at 70-80% and the first seeds someone sent to me 4 years ago are about in that same range.


I just plant more than I need to compensate for a low germination rate but it is still a LOT cheaper than buying transplants!!!!

Had some issues with Johnny's 512 but it is good stuff and my plants love it.
  

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Re: Seed storage and seedling mix concern

Post  llama momma on 4/20/2014, 7:58 am

Thank you so much Floyd for your input. 
I'm typically a mellow person but at times I get tired of suspect purchases that skimp on quality.  The more decades I slide through the more it becomes prominent.  Suppose saving my own seed is the next step of learning in the garden journey.  Wonder who knows of a good book or who frequents a good website perhaps?

Plantoid that's interesting how things are done over there.  For example, Johnny's Select Seed has germination percentage right on the package of Anise Hyssop, and the germination date plus lot number.  Baker Creek packet of Chinese red noodle beans has the minimum number of seeds, Packed For (date) and Sell By (date) with lot number.  A two year old pack of lettuce from Burpee has Origin of country plus the pack for, and sell by date.  I don't know what kind of laws if any are pending over here like what you mentioned over the pond. But I suspect we have room for improvement.

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Re: Seed storage and seedling mix concern

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/20/2014, 8:44 am

I, too, have a better germination rate with my own saved seeds than with purchased ones. The tomato seeds I saved 2 years ago had 100 percent germination rate this year. I ended up giving a bunch of seedlings away. I also started some saved ground Cherrie and pepper seeds, although the pepper rate was 5 out of 8. I only needed 4. I plan on saving all my own seeds from now on and using them next year.

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Re: Seed storage and seedling mix concern

Post  llama momma on 4/20/2014, 9:26 am

Wow. Very impressed CC

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Re: Seed storage and seedling mix concern

Post  plantoid on 4/20/2014, 11:21 am

@llama momma wrote:Thank you so much Floyd for your input. 
I'm typically a mellow person but at times I get tired of suspect purchases that skimp on quality.  The more decades I slide through the more it becomes prominent.  Suppose saving my own seed is the next step of learning in the garden journey.  Wonder who knows of a good book or who frequents a good website perhaps?

Plantoid that's interesting how things are done over there.  For example, Johnny's Select Seed has germination percentage right on the package of Anise Hyssop, and the germination date plus lot number.  Baker Creek packet of Chinese red noodle beans has the minimum number of seeds, Packed For (date) and Sell By (date) with lot number.  A two year old pack of lettuce from Burpee has Origin of country plus the pack for, and sell by date.  I don't know what kind of laws if any are pending over here like what you mentioned over the pond. But I suspect we have room for improvement.


I'll have some dream time on the subject of selecting & preparing your own seeds etc . I think I did something on it the monthly topic scene a couple of years ago Then put something together.

 I have quite a few second & third year own harvested seeds , such as toms, herbs peas , beans cabbage plus flower seeds like Lupins, nasturtiums & white or yellow gladioli etc.

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