Rates of germination for old seed?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I have some seed that was for the 2000 season, specifically corn and pumpkins, that I would like to use for 2001. Does anybody know how an extra year would effect germination rate on these seeds? How about other families like legumes, grass, brassica, tomato, etc.? Thanks!
-- Paul T. (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 22, 2001
If they were stored correctly and I think that correctly is different for each climate, than you shouldn't have to much trouble. I just simply take a few seeds, soak them in a warm paper towel, set them on my water heater and let them sprout. If I have a really good sprout I plant them normally, a 50% sprout than I would heavily plant them, if none sprout, I would still do a test run in spring, but don't put all my hopes in them. I planted mini pumpkins for crafts the year before last with seed stored forgotten (perhaps 4 years) above the refridgerator, in just an old margarine tub, it should have been heated and died, but we got a bumper crop for the school kids to paint! Vicki
-- Vicki McGaugh TX (email@example.com), January 22, 2001.
I save a large ammount of seed,both what I grow myself,( 200+/- different things) and some purchased.Some of the corn I will plant this year is from '98 & 99,as an example.The wet towel sprout is a good idea.
I have planted older seed from all the above groups.Only time I had a problem is when gourd/pumpkin seed was left out of the frig, all summer.I put the blame for it on Nick,of course.He,naturally,denied it.
So,to insure good germination in the future,make sure the seeds are stored in a cool dry place.My preference is to dry them thoroughly(if they are my own), put in baggies or film or pill cases, put them all in a metal popcorn can, then in the frig.Had a heated discussion on this, on another forum.OK, so that's what us gardeners consider a hot button item.Some freeze their seeds.Whatever.I don't
I have two popcorn tins full of seed and have not ordered anything yet,to give you an idea of how totally NUTS I am!
I have had excellent success with this method of being nuts-I mean saving seed.Most seeds are fine this way.There are a few seeds that just don't have very long viability no matter what you do.Parsnips and Martynia are two I can think of,and some wildflowers. However I planted two yr old parsnip seed(since some animal pulled ouy my seed parsnip,and I never got seed)and it germinated just fine.
So Keep cool & dry,and no problem,for most things.
Susan Ashworth(I think that's the last name,maybe Ashforth) wrote a really good book on seed saving called "Seed to Seed" See if your library can get it and look it over at your leisure.It goes into all these things.
-- sharon wt (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 22, 2001.
If your seeds were kept dry and in a baggie or something similar in the fridge, germination should still be above 80%. A GENERAL rule of thumb, small seeds are good for 1-3 years, medium seeds 2-5, large seeds 3-7, the least viable with warm or moist storage, and the most viable with well sealed, dry fridge storage. (Sealed seeds in a cool, not frozen basement or celler works too - dry is most importent, cool in second.)
-- Marty (Mrs.Puck@Excite.com), January 23, 2001.
Time is of the essence, and I didn't have enough to read all the other answers. Corn - throw out all seed from last year, or plant many times what you would ordinarily. It keeps poorly. Do not expect more than a 10 % germination fron even 2 year old seed. Pumpkins, and other vine crops - expect 3 years. Some will do better. Tomatoes. Expect 5 years. Germination will decrease with age, but I have gotten viable plants from 12 year old seed, although germination was in the 10 % range. Bottom line: plant it. 2 possibilites. It will germinate or it won't. Not much cost either way! GL!
-- Brad (homefixer@SacoRiver.net), January 27, 2001.