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Coating on seeds

cornwall, ON(Zone 4b)

Okay everybody I have maybe a stupid question but here goes. My Father passed away in 2002. He had ordered all his garden seed that spring but never got a chance to use them. My mother gave them to me and I have kept them all these years in a dry spot but never used any. I came across them and when I opened the tomato seeds- they have a pink coating (coloring) on them. I am pretty sure this is a good sign. They are hybrids. would this coating keep them a viable seed all these years and what of the beans, cukes etc? Would they be any good or should I just toss them? If there is a possibility they are still good, I will waste the time and seed starter soil on them. If not then- sayonara- or will wait for heat and try outside. Thanks for any help. Sandra

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Hmm, 11 years.

I know that I would try some - dry storage gives them a better chance. Certainly I'd try any seeds that are unusual or expensive, like tomato seeds. But I like to fiddle.

Do you really need 80% germination?

You could save on the amount of seed-start-mix by sprouting on coffee filters or paper towels. Only sow the ones that sprout. This also leverages the idea of pre-soaking any seed to make it sprout faster and more reliably (even small ones without a tough coat). Lots of people do that on a paper towel inside a plastic baggie, but I have a stack of nesting glass b owls that I use.

Label the coffee filter before wetting it! Or mark a small piece of white plastic with a pencil and drop that in the bowl. If it's shaped like a small stake, you can re-use it to label the row of cells.

>> beans, cukes etc?

Here is one list of "seed viability". However, I notice online that people keep posting that they got "pretty good germination" with crop seeds 10 or 20 years old, even stored under terrible conditions.

http://www.hillgardens.com/seed_longevity.htm

cornwall, ON(Zone 4b)

Thanks Rick I think you are right. I'll try them this summer outside but I would imagine most are toast now.

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