Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Keeping Seeds..

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Keeping Seeds..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 6/1/2011, 1:41 am

Just read that lettuce seeds don't keep well. Didn't ever read that in Mel's book. However, I had some seeds sent to me this spring from another member. Some work "ok," but two other varieties...Red Sails and Strawberry Cabbage....are complete duds. These seeds are only a year old, maybe two. Granted, I can't speak for care these seeds received, but I know they were likely cared for VERY well based on who sent them to me.

Anyone else have trouble with lettuce germination rates the 2nd or 3rd years?
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Re: Keeping Seeds..

Post  middlemamma on 6/1/2011, 2:02 am

Most of my lettuce seeds that I planted this year were hold overs from last year...they all did fine. Maybe cause I didn't know any beter? Embarassed LOL
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Re: Keeping Seeds..

Post  Furbalsmom on 6/1/2011, 4:06 am

Three varieties of lettuce I grew this spring were from packages purchased last year(one year old seeds) and all did very well.
Varieties were Parris Island Coos Romaine, Drunken Woman Frizzy Head and Speckled Trout Back.
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Re: Keeping Seeds..

Post  Barkie on 6/1/2011, 5:25 am

I've read somewhere that some lettuce seeds are sensitive about being kept in the dark and high
temperature as well. If the seed was sent by
post and got baked in the mail sorting depot and/or hot delivery van they
could have gone dormant/died.

I've not had problems with Little Gem, red or green Salad Bowl or Red Oak Leaf. The Little Gem was one or two years old and the rest were one year old (last years seed).

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Re: Keeping Seeds..

Post  quiltbea on 6/1/2011, 8:38 am

My Simpson's Elite was from 2009 seed and is doing great as is seed from 2010. I think yours may have been overheated along the way.
I keep mine in the crisper draw in my fridge year round.

A view into my coldframe with 4 varieties sprouting plus mache, mizuna and spinach. That's the Simpson Elite in upper left hand corner doing well.
Seed should keep approx 4-5 years if kept in the fridge.

Another tip....when sowing your seeds, don't keep the packet out in the hot sun while your sowing them. Try to keep them in the shade and immediately return the packet to the fridge when you're done.
Lettuce wants light to sprout, and a very light dusting of soil over them. Did you sow your seed too deeply?
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Re: Keeping Seeds..

Post  kjenkins82 on 6/1/2011, 8:42 am

I'd never heard of Drunken Woman Frizzy Head but I might have to grow some next year. Very Happy Totally cracking up at that name!

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Re: Keeping Seeds..

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 6/1/2011, 9:13 am

quiltbea wrote:My Simpson's Elite was from 2009 seed and is doing great as is seed from 2010. I think yours may have been overheated along the way.

Lettuce wants light to sprout, and a very light dusting of soil over them. Did you sow your seed too deeply?

Thanks, all, for the help!

First, Simpson Elite is my absolute fave, too. I won't have an SFG without it anymore. I will supplement/try other varieties, but this is the mainstay. Glad to hear the seeds held over well.

Overheating along the way sounds logical. I appreciate those thoughts, guys. I hope that is what explains away my duds. To be fair, I was warned about the Strawberry Cabbage possibly being a dud.

The first batch was likely sown too deep. That never affected my SElite, though, over the course of three years. I didn't learn of lettuce requiring light until after the first round or two of planting THIS year. However, once I read that, I started broadcasting and patting down to insure good contact. I hardly notice a difference in most varieties. The Buttercrunch may have done better because of this, or because I stopped planting 5 per hole and just started broadcasting the square. However, the other two varieties are just plain old duds.

I'll buy fresh next year and go from there.....maybe I'll buy for a fall crop?

Next question: Does the heat during shipping/mailing become a possibility if I order from a reputable seed company? How can they take preventative measures with their seeds?
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Re: Keeping Seeds..

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