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Seed Germination: Old seeds...who has any, and who is in?

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evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

February 28, 2010
1:46 AM

Post #7593243

OK! I will be starting some of my old seeds, and even some that my mom had, over 20 years old. Let's be creative...no holds barred!

I will be starting tomatoes, beans, peas, annuals, perennials and some shrubs and trees. I suppose these old seeds might be worth something after all. I was going to toss them, when Dr. Carolyn said she germinated 20 year old tomato seeds, WOW!

Ok, I know everyone is busy on getting their current things into production, but if you can make a small portion for some of those leftovers...let's make an experiment, OK?

I am starting some today. I will be back to tell you which ones. Let's keep notes,( not my strong suit), as to our methods. When started, covered or not, scarify, stratify, bottom heat, W/S, and what year the seeds, as well as what company, or source, if it is on the label...all are welcome.
rockgardner
Billerica, MA
(Zone 6a)

February 28, 2010
6:22 AM

Post #7593801



This message was edited May 30, 2010 11:18 AM
rockgardner
Billerica, MA
(Zone 6a)

February 28, 2010
6:29 AM

Post #7593806



This message was edited May 30, 2010 11:18 AM
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

February 28, 2010
9:38 AM

Post #7593957

Hi, rockgardener!

That is exciting! Now all can share in your fun! Thanks.
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

February 28, 2010
9:52 AM

Post #7593960

Ok here is what I have sowed so far: these were sown 2/27

Tomato 'Aunt Ruby's German' 2003 Pinetree Seeds
Tomato 'Homestead' 1987 Ferry Morse (Mom's)
Tomato 'Super Beefsteak' 1991 Burpee
Tomato 'Sub-Artic Plenty' 1990 Gurney's

Oxypetalum 'Blue Cheer' 1997 Burpee
Digitalis 'Foxy' 1992 Pinetree

I have also already sown some peas directly into the raised beds last week, and the dates are on the labels. I did not write them down, so I will have to go out in the mud to make note of them. I also am growing current years peas, side by side to note the differences in germination.

A lot more to follow...I will have to wintersow a lot, as I have little space indoors. I will reserve just what I need to use bottom heat. I may have a secondary site, on the back porch if they require bottom heat, but cool growing conditions.


rockgardner
Billerica, MA
(Zone 6a)

February 28, 2010
7:44 PM

Post #7594808



This message was edited May 30, 2010 11:18 AM
NisiNJ
Bordentown, NJ
(Zone 7a)

February 28, 2010
8:57 PM

Post #7595000

I remember reading Dr. Carolyn saying she used some "tricks" (I think that was the word) to germinate old tomato seeds. Does anyone know what those "tricks" are?

I googled "germinating old seeds" and came across this post on the Seed Savers Exchange forum. Hopefully I am not doing anything unethical by copying and pasting it. The technique was also used in successfully germinating 20 year old tomato seeds, even though the poster was talking about bean seeds.

"For old beans, I have had good luck using a "nitrate soak" method. I first boil & then cool some water, to sterilize it. Add 1 teaspoon of a high-nitrate fertilizer (such as seaweed emulsion) per gallon of water; if you have any doubts about the sterility of the fertilizer (such as manure tea) boil it along with the water.

"Then plant the beans in a sterile soil-less medium, either seed starter or plug mix. I usually use peat strips for this purpose. Place the planted pots/strips in a leak-proof plastic flat, and add enough of the solution to soak them completely. Let soak overnight, then carefully pour off any excess solution. Place the flat on a heat mat, or where the temperature will be close to 80 F. degrees. Do not cover, since the dead seeds will rot, and if enclosed, mold/mildew can spread to other pots. If any further watering is required, use plain water.

"Nitrogen stimulates bean germination, so this method can be highly effective. I had some half-dead bean seed, which initially (without the nitrogen) had zero germination out of 50 seeds. When attempted again with the same seed, one year later & using the nitrate solution, the germination was better than 60%."

Just thought I would pass that on; I have not tried it.

Celene

Celene
Columbus, OH

February 28, 2010
10:45 PM

Post #7595226

I found some old seeds when I went through my mother's house after she died...I have some coleus, forget me nots, and marigolds. Nothing special, aside from sentimental value. They appear to be from the 70's.
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

February 28, 2010
11:39 PM

Post #7595347

OK, Celene...from the posts that I have read, if you use just use a few seeds at a time, if one thing doesn't work, you can try another. (Especially if they are of sentiment to you. I have sown some from my mom's collection as well.)

If you all check out the tomato forum and look for Dr. Carolyn's post about how she germinated her old tomato seeds, that might give us some "tricks" to try, if necessary. I guess the first thing would be to section off the seeds into different piles, or in the case for just a few seeds, count them, if they are large enough. Some seeds are like dust, so do what you can not to use them all in one try, if possible. Then make notes about the seeds. The kind, the date on pkg, if any, then the source, if known, and then write down what you did to each batch. Maybe try just the first batch and then give it a month. if they do not germinate, don't throw them away quite yet. Some seeds are very slow to germinate, even if fresh. (I might be getting ahead of myself..)

Any time, Dr. C.,please feel free to correct any errors I have in the scientific method. (She is a microbiologist with a passion for tomatoes.)

Also, look up Norman Deno's germination techniques, as well as Trudi's Davidoff's Winter Sowing forum, as her methods might be usefull for slow to germinate seeds as well as many perennials, trees and shrubs. She also has a website for even more lists, but don't get lost, or you may lose a day or two!

What I will do is, winter sow some of each, refrigerate some for a month, after putting them in a damp paper towel, or vermiculite. I will make a label onto the ziplock bag beforehand so I will know what seeds went where. I suppose it is best to check them after two weeks, but to not open the bag, just look through it for some green. I have not yet done this before, so anyone with more experience, please feel free to share your methods and experiences with doing this. As far as the winter sowing there is loads of info out there, but in the case of just a small amount of seeds, maybe small dixie cups or plastic cups sealed in a ziplock bag, where it won't be blown away. Anyone who has thoughts on this, again, please help me out on this one. OK, you get the idea. So, ready...set...GO!

Well, you are all off to a good start! "Let the games begin!"
antsinmypants
Marietta, MS
(Zone 7b)

March 1, 2010
2:08 AM

Post #7595762

I have a bunch of old seeds I was thinking about trying (also after reading about the 20 year old tomato seeds!) so I am game too :) Will have to go through them a bit & see which ones to try.

Just can't bring myself to throw them out!

ants
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

March 1, 2010
2:16 AM

Post #7595780

I will be interested in seeing everyone's results! I still have some of my Mom's old seeds. I was just a kid...the oldest are from 1972, lol.

pollengarden

pollengarden
Pueblo, CO
(Zone 5b)

March 1, 2010
5:18 AM

Post #7596148

This post came too late for me - I cleaned house and tossed out anything older that 2005. Some of the things I have set aside to throw away in the flower border just in case - I haven't done that yet, but it was flower seed, not vegies.
The older seed I've got, I decided not to viability test first - seems like a waste of seed. I thought I'd just sow heavy into a pot, and that would be the viability test. My storage area is cool and dry, but maybe not as dark as it should have been. I had some cucumber seed that didn't sprout last year, they were only 2-3? years old.
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

March 1, 2010
5:23 AM

Post #7596158

2005, well, that qualifies...they are five years old, OK. All's fair! I guess I should have said any at least 5 years old...are you in? It doesn't matter if they are veggies or flowers, or whatever anyone has. (Equal opportunity-seeds!)

Celene

Celene
Columbus, OH

March 1, 2010
10:23 AM

Post #7596373

Okay...I have coleus sprouts. Not many, considering I planted a whole packet of seed, but I have perhaps half a dozen sprouts. I did not use the Deno method; I started them in Jiffy mix with bottom heat in a flat with a domed lid. The marigolds look like they'll sprout, I can see green popping through the soil. The forget-me-nots want colder temperatures to sprout, so they're winter sown, and the rest of the packet is sown in a pot in my cold room (50-ish degrees all winter). I'm so lame, I cried when I saw the coleus sprouts. It's so typical of my parents, to never throw anything away, and they'd be so happy I found these and grew them out.

pollengarden

pollengarden
Pueblo, CO
(Zone 5b)

March 1, 2010
12:39 PM

Post #7596481

Yes, I'm in. In fact, I am depending on those old seeds. I just can't afford to buy fresh packets of everything every year. Because of the cucumbers not sprouting last year, I did buy fresh seed for key garden plants. However, I don't think company and variety is as important as storage conditions. The most questionable seeds I saved were allium family - they have a notoriously short storage life.
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

March 1, 2010
5:19 PM

Post #7597046

Anybody know a good, not terribly expensive source for heat mats?

pollengarden

pollengarden
Pueblo, CO
(Zone 5b)

March 1, 2010
9:17 PM

Post #7597623

RE: Heating (Propagation) Mat
I took a plant propagation class. The teacher gave us a plan to build a propagator box. The most expensive item on the materials list was a 36' soil heating cable with thermostat, estimated price $34.95. He didn't list a source, but he said all the materials could be found in the garage/shop scrap pile, Walmart, Hardware Store, or local nursery. I think he might have said he got the cable and plant trays at the local nursery. He glued scrap wood blocks to a Durarock sheet and looped the heating cable around them. The box was sized to hold 4 standard plant trays, the wooden blocks also kept the trays from sitting directly on the cable. This was just to sprout them - as soon as they sprouted, you were supposed to move them to a cold frame or light table.

A local mail-order seed company here sells soil heating cable. They have 6' 24 watt, heats 1&1/2sqft for $28.25 and 48 ft, 168 watt, heats 12 sqft, for $46.45. There website is
http://www.burrellseeds.us/
but that is just to print the order form or get their phone number - you can't order online.

www.johnnyseeds.com
has a 9" x 19" 17 watt "seedling heat mat" for $29.95

KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

March 1, 2010
9:26 PM

Post #7597641

Great info, thanks! So if I have a heat mat, it doesn't matter that the basement is only 65 degrees?
antsinmypants
Marietta, MS
(Zone 7b)

March 1, 2010
9:41 PM

Post #7597669

I love experiments! I think I've decided to do 12 containers. Going to choose my 12 now :)

ants

pollengarden

pollengarden
Pueblo, CO
(Zone 5b)

March 1, 2010
10:03 PM

Post #7597739

The mat from Johnny's said "raises temperature 20 degrees above ambient", so I would say 60-65 degrees would be ideal.

RE Old Tomato Seed: I have 11 varieties, which 5 more than I have space for in the garden. If anybody is really jazzed about this "old seed" experiment, I have the following varieties from Johnny's Selected Seeds: Celebrity '08, Yellow Pear '06, Pruden's Purple '05, Matt's Wild Cherry '05; and "Burrell's Special", a locally adapted variety from a local company, '05.

Send me a D-mail if you are interested. There isn't a lot of seeds left in each packet, it will have to be first come first serve. I don't want to list on the regular seed swap because the seed are old and questionable.

antsinmypants
Marietta, MS
(Zone 7b)

March 1, 2010
10:52 PM

Post #7597805

Wow! It's been quite a while since I have been in my 'old seed' stash! How can I choose just 12?

Canna indica 2003
Clematis (Haven't decided which one yet, may do a mix)2003
Daylily Crosses 2003
Hollyhocks 2003
Hyacinth Bean Vine White 2003
Lychnis alba 2003
Wild Orange Columbine from Canada 2003
Yellow Blazing Star 2003
Yellow Mexican Bird of Paradise 2003
Mina Lobata (Spanish Flag) 2004
Azalea 'Pink Ruffles' 2005
Unknown large bush forming habit flowers collected from my parents house 2005 - Really hoping these grow! :)

I tried to select some that I would not think will germinate & others that I am pretty confident will germinate. Will see what happens :)

ants



evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

March 2, 2010
12:58 AM

Post #7598144

Ants...you can do as many as you want to...there are no limits of 12 kinds.

Ky...I am using old heating pads, wrapped in 2 towels. I checked the soil temp as it was 75 degrees. Before it was on low and some old alyssum sprouted in 2 weeks. Now it is under a thicker plastic tray, so I set the temp to medium.

I made some mistakes on that batch as I opened it up, I should have waited for at least one set of true leaves, so many of them got cold and withered, as well some may have dried out. So now, to keep it on the heat and wrapped in my plastic bag until at least on set of true leave. (It was some old purple alyssum seeds, which are not as vigorous the white ones - but they were from 1997!) There are still more coming, though...

So I am learning with all of you. This should not only be fun, but many of us cannot afford to go out and buy lots of new seeds, if we have a lot of old ones that might just be wonderful flowers and veggies!

Happy gardening!


antsinmypants
Marietta, MS
(Zone 7b)

March 6, 2010
10:52 AM

Post #7608671

Ok, I got mine planted today :) I limited myself to 12 because I am growing more seeds this year than I ever have before & am running out of room & time.

I will be starting more old seed as I get to them I will let you all know how things go.

I haven't done anything special with any of these seeds. Just sowing them in potting soil, covering with plastic & setting them outside.

ants
MissS
Pewaukee, WI
(Zone 5a)

March 15, 2010
6:21 PM

Post #7632101

I just found this and I am in. I have started some old salvia greggii collected in 1997.
I have 3 batches. 1. Direct sown on surface. 2. Soaked for 24 hours in a fertilizer/peroxide solution. 3. Scarified and soaked in fertilizer/peroxide solution. So far nothing has sprouted but all look good and are not rotting.

Celene

Celene
Columbus, OH

March 15, 2010
7:15 PM

Post #7632231

I have sprouts of everything now.
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

March 15, 2010
8:14 PM

Post #7632372

Sorry, got sidetracked. Thanks for posting, Miss S. Keep us posted on your results.
antsinmypants
Marietta, MS
(Zone 7b)

March 15, 2010
9:44 PM

Post #7632535

Celene, congrats on your seedlings! :) I'm still waiting for mine...

ants
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

March 15, 2010
10:03 PM

Post #7632566

Pollen...do you have any seeds left? I cannot believe that I am asking this, as I have so many seeds, but my husband really likes the Celebrity tomato, and I usually grow one for him. If you have a few seeds, that would be great. I have a lot I could send you as well. You have a D-mail..

Evelyn
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

March 15, 2010
10:19 PM

Post #7632587

All of the tomatoes are up! I forgot to count the seeds that were sown, so I do not have an exact germination percentage record...but all those old seeds are up! I will count the seeds next time, only the ones large enough to count. I suppose we could all do pre-sprouting by the Deno method, which is to put seeds in a damp paper towel, then place in a ziplock bag and check it after a week or so, depending on the type of seed. That would certainly give more credence to the experiment, though maybe not everyone has the extra time for this. The seeds can be planted after germination, so they wouldn't be wasted. Something to think about...I have so many that probably will be doing some of those as well as W/S'ing though technically, it will be spring...but sowing outside, as I don't have enough room in the house and no GH. I need to get these seeds going. I have been doing a little every day, that I am home, that is.

I think, whatever you want to do is OK with me...

So, how is everyone doing? The snow has melted here but the ground is still saturated from all the rain and snow, so it is too muddy to work in right now.
rockgardner
Billerica, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 16, 2010
11:20 AM

Post #7633608



This message was edited May 30, 2010 11:19 AM
JimIsbell
Ingleside, TX

March 29, 2010
5:26 PM

Post #7665412

32 years ago I bought an "emergency garden" of seeds from Howard Ruff. They are packed in sealed cans in nitrogen and were "out of date" in 1982. About 1985 I stuck an aluminum foil wrapped package of watermelon seeds in the box. No protection for the watermelon seeds except for the aluminum foil.

10 days ago I planted 6 of the melon seeds and six of the climbing cherry tomatoes from a can I unsealed. I picked the tomatoes because if they were still good I wouldn't feel bad about opening the seal on the can...I am not fond of cherry tomatoes...

Today, three of one of the sets has germinated and are pushing up plants. I think its the tomatoes because melons usually push up with the seed still over the top like a hat and these didnt do that. Yes, I should have remembered which was which, but at 74 my brain cells dont germinate like they used to. Besides, I think that I will recognize the fruits when they come on. The watermelons are bigger than the cherry tomatoes...for a start...#8-)

But which ever it is, 50% germination is pretty good for 25 to 30 years. The emergency garden seeds were only supposed to be good for 5 years.
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

March 29, 2010
5:36 PM

Post #7665447

Wow, that's great!
MissS
Pewaukee, WI
(Zone 5a)

March 29, 2010
5:44 PM

Post #7665467

JimIsbell, This is great that you have viable seeds that have lasted so very long. I believe that you are going to set the record in this forum. I believe that these are your tomatoes that your palate will frown upon. The Melons will be much larger and look somewhat like a sunflower seed sprouting. Your brain cells seem, (but I may be wrong) much more viable than the mere 50% of your tomato seeds. Alas, you will also know which plant is which when you taste its fruit, one you will enjoy the other, oh well... My hat is off to you.
smileysdynamite
Williamsburg, OH

March 29, 2010
6:25 PM

Post #7665573

You all are incredible!!!
Im all for using old seeds, I havent gone beyond about six years though...
Best of luck...something I thought Id share with my germination of old seeds--have had them 2-5yrs old---lettuces and carrots would not germinate. In fact I buy them every year because they seem to not last. Peas I have planted 6 yrs old and had decent germination.Six year old butternut squash had great germination. I wonder if the size of the seed makes a difference as the old seeds I have used have been mainly lg ones--beans, peas, squash, cukes...come to think of it though, I have had petunia seeds sprout that were several years old...Hmmm...
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

March 29, 2010
8:05 PM

Post #7665801

Well, it seems I have been having very good luck with the old seeds...but not necessarily with (some) new seeds...I just opened an evelope of Impatiens Mosaic, from Park Seeds...there were NO seeds in there! NONE! I will send them an email tonight as they have already received more than one order from me this season. I thought, well, maybe they are very small seeds...not even with a microscope..well, I don't actually have one of those, but maybe I should...

be back later...


Evelyn

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 29, 2010
8:13 PM

Post #7665816

wow never had that happen before.. sorry to hear it
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

March 29, 2010
10:39 PM

Post #7666119

This is a partial list as in the beginning I did not specify how many seeds I had sowed. It is easy to count tomato seeds and anything larger as well. The peas outside in the garden are just beginning to show, so I don't have a count on them yet, and now, more storms are on the way.

Gurney Seeds - Sub-Artic Plenty 1990 sowed 2/27 moved to cell pack 3/11, then 4" 3/28
Super Beefsteak - Burpee 1991 " "
Aunt Ruby's German Green - Pinetree Seeds 2003 " "

I have 4 Abutilons from an old pack, but there was no date on it, but I have never sown it before and had the packet for a few years. I may have tried to direct sow as there were only a few seeds in there, and again, bad record keeping. I had read a book buy a famous garden writer who herself had sown seeds and did not keep records, and she told us that she would try to do better and stressed the importantance of doing so. How else will we know what to expect. the fact is that if you keep the record of the weather for every single day, it will be different next year, but if you have an unseasonbly cold winter or hot summer, or anything else out of the norm, it will be there, if you keep a daily score sheet. I admit, record-keeping is my downfall, or lack thereof, so don't do as I do...well, you know the "rest of the story"...

Lets keep in contact and see what old seeds will come to life!


Evelyn

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evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

March 30, 2010
5:37 PM

Post #7668079

Wow! I just potted up 2 - 6-packs of Homestead tomatoes, from...1987!!!

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

March 30, 2010
7:38 PM

Post #7668354

wow now that's impressive
rockgardner
Billerica, MA
(Zone 6a)

March 30, 2010
8:04 PM

Post #7668392



This message was edited May 30, 2010 11:20 AM
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

April 13, 2010
8:33 PM

Post #7704043

I sowed my peas outside, and just one little shoot has appeared. Did you sow yours indoors? In the next post, I will get my notebook and post my results so far on the old seeds and also report on what worked and what did not work...
rockgardner
Billerica, MA
(Zone 6a)

April 13, 2010
9:15 PM

Post #7704108



This message was edited May 30, 2010 11:20 AM

pollengarden

pollengarden
Pueblo, CO
(Zone 5b)

April 15, 2010
7:47 PM

Post #7708916

My old peas aren't up either, but neither are my fresh ones. My sweet peas are just barely starting to sprout and they were soaked & planted nearly two weeks earlier. Everything seems to be taking longer to sprout this year, indoors and out.

So far the only old seed that has completely failed to sprout was okra. The biggest surpise was old delosperma (iceplant) seed. It was such tiny seed I figured it probably had a short shelf life. It sprouted so thick I'm going to devide & quadruple it - it is even sprouting in nearby pots of other plants!

This message was edited Apr 20, 2010 11:20 PM
JimIsbell
Ingleside, TX

May 24, 2010
9:15 AM

Post #7822696

This is an up date to my post earlier this year about the 32 year old tomato seeds.

They are growing like wildfire. Of the 6 single seeds I planted, 4 have grown to plants and have blossoms on them.

I have one of them planted in my version of the "Topsy Turvy" planter. I tried the up-side down tomato last year, and it didnt work. Tomatoes dont like hanging by their heels. BTW, neither do I, so why would I expect them to like it? But I made a modification of the idea that really is working. The idea of hanging the tomatoes is a great idea around here because the Javalinas love to eat the plants if they are on the ground. So I modified a 2 gallon plastic bucket with holes in the SIDE...not bottom...and have 5 plants hanging from a block and tackle on the porch. One of them is a 32 year old cherry tomato bush.

Oh yes, the watermelon seeds didnt sprout.

This message was edited May 24, 2010 10:21 AM

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evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

May 24, 2010
2:44 PM

Post #7823671

The seeds not the plant is 32 years old, right? Wow, you will get the prize. The oldest tomato I have germinated so far is from 1987 and growing now.

I never thought to actually make this a contest, but when you save the seeds from that old tomato - why don't you let us all have a few seeds from it? That is truly awesome. That will inspire many who do not have the money to buy new seeds to try what they have at home...which was the purpose of this experiment in the first place, as we all have different seeds and possible different reasons for growing them.

Thanks everyone! Let's keep on posting results as they come in.

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rockgardner
Billerica, MA
(Zone 6a)

May 24, 2010
3:46 PM

Post #7823814



This message was edited May 30, 2010 11:19 AM
dmac085
Greensboro, NC
(Zone 7a)

May 24, 2010
4:06 PM

Post #7823862

Jimlsbell--that is really awesome!

I like your version of the hanging planter! I had doubts about the T.T. style one. I did almost choke on my snort/laugh when I found you didn't like hanging from your ankles:lol:
That is always good info to put out there ; )

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

May 24, 2010
6:01 PM

Post #7824158

my dad said he saw his neighbor took those 5 gallon buckets... cut a hole in the bottom and put the tomato upside down... and planted lettuce in the tops
JimIsbell
Ingleside, TX

May 31, 2010
8:44 AM

Post #7845474

Anyone that wants some of these 32 year old seeds can have them, just let me know...maybe a swap for something that will grow in the Deep South of Texas? I like food plants. If you dont have any swap materials, just send me an address and I will send you some seeds. I cant warrant them any more since they have been open for over a month now, but on first opening I was getting 66% germination.

I just read the label on the can and it said that when packed they had a 80% germination expectation. So, 32 years later they havent lost much at all!

This message was edited May 31, 2010 3:23 PM
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

May 31, 2010
4:54 PM

Post #7846863

JimisBell ~ I was thinking more on the line of your saved seeds from your harvest this year and then we should all plant them out and see how well they do. Still, if anyone wants his seeds...please let him know...

Right now I have some Super Beefsteak tomatoes from 1991...planted and just starting to grow. We have had very wet weather and it just started to warm up yesterday. It has been raining and snowing until May 10th. Usually our last snowfall is in March!

This picture was taken May 11th!!!

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JimIsbell
Ingleside, TX

June 1, 2010
7:37 AM

Post #7848252

[quote="evelyn_inthegarden"]JimisBell ~ I was thinking more on the line of your saved seeds from your harvest this year and then we should all plant them out and see how well they do. [/quote]

Sure, I will see what I can come up with.

Its too late now for tomatoes in this area as the temperature has to drop below 75 at night for the fruit to set. Starting tomorrow, the forecast for the low is 75F and up to 80F for the next week. But I have a bunch of fruit on the vine now that is not yet mature. So tomato season is OVER...BUT...a friend of mine has found some tomatoes that will set fruit when the nighttime temps are up to 90F. I will be planting some of them next week to see if they are any good. Except for a few days in the summer most nights are below 90F

evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

June 1, 2010
5:58 PM

Post #7850034

[quote="JimIsbell"]

Sure, I will see what I can come up with.

Its too late now for tomatoes in this area as the temperature has to drop below 75 at night for the fruit to set. Starting tomorrow, the forecast for the low is 75F and up to 80F for the next week. But I have a bunch of fruit on the vine now that is not yet mature. So tomato season is OVER...BUT...a friend of mine has found some tomatoes that will set fruit when the nighttime temps are up to 90F. I will be planting some of them next week to see if they are any good. Except for a few days in the summer most nights are below 90F

[/quote]

Not to worry about those seeds. However it might be a good idea to do 2 things:

1. Get some of his tomatoes and save seeds from that plant.

2. Take some cuttings from his plants. If he prunes the suckers, ask him to save them for you, otherwise you might ask if you can take some of the suckers from those heat-tolerant variety.

BTW, what variety is it? Others may want to know that live where they have hot summers.

Kiyzersoze
Coral Springs, FL
(Zone 10b)

June 6, 2010
9:23 PM

Post #7865667

Really cool idea Evelyn!! I would love to join but when we had the hurricane a few years ago our garage got infested with rats (YUCK!) and they eat all of my old seeds. Soooo... I guess the bottom line is, don't throw out your old seeds? I don't know about anyone else but when I plant seeds I always start more than I can use so a few less seeds germinating wouldn't be a problem. This year I started 10 plants each of four different tomato plants and and five different peppers. I don't have room for anywhere near 90 plants. LOL!! Happy gardening!!
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

June 6, 2010
11:37 PM

Post #7865774

Kiyzersoze ~ So do you now have 90 plants? Maybe you can sell the surplus, or give some away at the local community garden, if there is one nearby. Yes, I too have more than I can use, but, with my crazy weather, I am glad to have the backups, as some have not done so well. We had our last snowfall in May...which is highly unusual, as our last snowfall is usually in March. And now we are getting hot weather...from one extreme to another..LOL!

This picture is May 11th...

Thumbnail by evelyn_inthegarden
Click the image for an enlarged view.

rockgardner
Billerica, MA
(Zone 6a)

June 7, 2010
8:46 PM

Post #7868688

My Gardeners Delight tomatoes, from 2000, just decided to come up last week, a week after I had given up on them. Now I've got 40 and counting. Unfortunately they're 3 weeks behind schedule, but thankfully, I wasn't depending on them. Maybe I'll Grow them in pots and put them under cover for the first couple of frosts.
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 7, 2010
8:53 PM

Post #7868696

Wow, congrats!
Ret_Sgt_Yates
Sparta , TN
(Zone 7a)

June 8, 2010
1:14 PM

Post #7870288

well the best site i have for seed is this one and it is for planting any type of seed saved .

http://www.backyardgardener.com/tm.html

Thumbnail by Ret_Sgt_Yates
Click the image for an enlarged view.

JimIsbell
Ingleside, TX

June 14, 2010
8:31 AM

Post #7887346

Here is the latest picture of the 32 year old tomatoes. They are still putting on fruit even though the night time temperatures are not dropping below 80F. The only problem I am having with them is that they are getting very "leggy" and I am afraid the wind will damage them. The winds have been around 30 mph for most of a month now. These are in the "hanging bucket" but are sitting on the ground in the picture for watering.

This message was edited Jun 14, 2010 9:39 AM

This message was edited Jun 14, 2010 9:39 AM

Thumbnail by JimIsbell
Click the image for an enlarged view.

JimIsbell
Ingleside, TX

June 14, 2010
8:37 AM

Post #7887362

Here is another picture of the 32 year old tomatoes. This one shows another plant that is growing in my "Mobile Planter" It is a "Green Box" sitting on a wagon so that I can move it into the shade in the afternoon. The tomatoes like the sun, but by mid afternoon it is well into the 90s with the heat index around 108F and the tomatoes begin to wilt so I move them into the shade. It seems to help a lot to keep from stressing the plants and allowing later fruit in this area.

Thumbnail by JimIsbell
Click the image for an enlarged view.

MissS
Pewaukee, WI
(Zone 5a)

June 14, 2010
9:22 AM

Post #7887474

JimIsbell,
Your plants are looking good. You should be proud of your old seeds. The wagon is an excellent idea for Texas. Good thinking.
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 24, 2010
5:59 PM

Post #7917834

I am so excited--I was forced to leave behind my first (only) house in northern California in 1997 due to divorce and the high cost of living there. I had a beautiful mimosa tree in the back yard. My son had done a seed collection project for school and glued a dozen different kinds of seeds into a paper egg carton and labelled them, and some seeds from that tree were included. I kept and treasured it, because we so enjoyed doing that project together. He was seven years old.
He lives in northern California and came back for a visit recently, and we decided to plant six of the seeds.
I now have three (so far) seeds that sprouted from the tree that my son and I collected 13 years ago! I can't wait to plant them here on our land.
dmac085
Greensboro, NC
(Zone 7a)

June 25, 2010
4:54 PM

Post #7920591

What a great story! I had never seen a mimosa until we moved to NM from CT when I was a kid. We ended up with a pretty one in the front yard. Still remember the smell of the seed pods when we busted them open:lol: I was surprised to see some growing here nicely in NC when I moved here along with several cacti. Guess it makes sense as it was a lateral zone move from one type of zone 7 to another zone 7:)

Hope your seedling do well for you! Nature makes the best time capsules:lol:
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

June 25, 2010
4:58 PM

Post #7920601

Thanks! I understand they can be invasive, but I never noticed any seedlings--probably because they got mowed. Here I will be sure and pick up the pods...maybe my son would like one of the offspring of the tree he used to play under as a child, too!
dmac085
Greensboro, NC
(Zone 7a)

June 25, 2010
5:13 PM

Post #7920621

They do reseed very easily but they are so easy to ID even when young and easy to yank out that they're fairly easy to control. I liked ours in NM, it was only about 7-8 ft tall but had an umbrella like wide canopy. The only thing I had issues with was when I was a teenager I usually ended up having to rake the front yard in the fall and those leaves were so tiny and brittle that I actually used the shopvac to suck up the little leaf bits:lol:
smartseeds
Claremont, CA
(Zone 9b)

July 12, 2010
11:44 AM

Post #7962870

Evelyn-

How went your Old Seed experiment? Or are you too busy planting all the seedlings that came up?

It's my understanding that many hard, desert seeds (Salvias for one) actually germinate more easily when they're old, as the inhibitors have weakend (or given up). Most seeds will last for years if stored VERY DRY at fridge temps.

It's the mooshy tropicals that die so quickly. As soon as they dry out, they're history. But you can even keep them alive if you keep them moist. (Well, some of them. Rainforest seeds must hit the dirt within a couple of weeks or they're finished.)

There's a great database for vegetable seeds longevity. Surprisingly, alliums die after a year, but many things will last a decade if dry. I'll try to find the link.

Will be interested in your results. There may some great heirlooms in those old seeds of yours.

Mia
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

July 12, 2010
12:23 PM

Post #7962966

Well, ss, I have some tomatoes from 1989...some parsley from 1990...and I do not remember what else...yes, I have been busy, but since I started this thread, I should at least report my findings. I did not try any shrub or tree seeds just things that I wanted for my veggie garden. Flowers would be next...oh, I forgot..the first ones were white alyssum and they were also quite old and came up quickly by bottom heat indoors. After that it went downhill...I think just one seedling survived my mishandling of the whole seed-starting venture with old seeds...I was just learning what to do, and I let most of them die from one thing or another, mainly just dry out...

I will have to check the labels in the garden and nursery area to see what I have that survived my neglect of all things growing...LOL!

OK, I'll be back! ☺
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

July 12, 2010
6:43 PM

Post #7963781

My 1984 carrots and lettuce didn't sprout, but my 1997 mimosa seedlings are doing great!
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

August 20, 2010
10:58 AM

Post #8051840

OK, any new reports? The 4 different tomatoes that I sowed earlier are all growing well now, though the fruits are late due to the early cold weather,and then the extremely hot weather. Some are beginning to turn.

Tomato 'Aunt Ruby's German Green' 2003 Pinetree Seeds
Tomato 'Homestead' 1987 Ferry Morse (Mom's)
Tomato 'Super Beefsteak' 1991 Burpee
Tomato 'Sub-Artic Plenty' 1990 Gurney's

I have 2 of each plant...

Any of you have more results? I did not do a germination test on those old seeds, so I do not know what the percentage is. I did nothing special in order to germinate them. I also had old parsley seeds, but since I sowed so many, I don't have an accurate count of them as well. I hope you all keep better records than I do...LOL!!

This message was edited Aug 21, 2010 9:28 PM
DIRTYGIRL71
Brandon, FL
(Zone 9b)

August 20, 2010
12:28 PM

Post #8052022

Are any of ya taking pictures??? to see the progress and viability of older seeds...((just a thought))
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

August 20, 2010
4:13 PM

Post #8052348

Do you mean the viability of the plants, or the seeds??
DIRTYGIRL71
Brandon, FL
(Zone 9b)

August 20, 2010
4:18 PM

Post #8052356

both?!?! what's coming up roses and what's coming up stink weed...*S*

KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

August 21, 2010
11:23 AM

Post #8053784

That is really cool that plants from tomato seeds as old as '87 are doing so well!
I have transplanted my mimosa seedlings into bigger pots, and will continue to do so until next spring. I think they'd be safer spending their first winter indoors. They're only about eight inches tall, and very delicate.
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

August 21, 2010
9:43 PM

Post #8054638

DG71 ~ I'll take pictures as soon as the tomatoes start to turn color, as they are all late due to a very cold spring. It snowed in May twice and then hailed after that. then it got warm in June and then hot from then on...

Then - the taste tests...most important about tomatoes. It won't matter to me if they are pretty or not, as long as they taste good, no, delicious!
DIRTYGIRL71
Brandon, FL
(Zone 9b)

August 25, 2010
4:45 AM

Post #8060826

So true, evelyn_inthegarden... a bad tomatoe can ruin the whole BLT sam'itch *LOL*

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