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starting old spinach seed - cold water method

Helena, MT

Recently I came across a method of starting old spinach seed which recommended soaking the seed for 24 hours in a jar of cold water placed in the refrigerator for 24 hours; then drying the seed for 48 hours; and then placing the seed back in the refrigerator for up to a week before sowing. I tried this with some old spinach seed I had and was surprised to see all the seed germinate within three days. I also tried this method with some hard to start Maui pepper seeds and after one week I have my first sprouted seedling which is about a week earlier than expected. I have some Jade green beans which did not sprout last season and some four year old saved sugar peas to experiment with next. I am wondering if others here have tried this cold water method for old seed sprouting.

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

No, never tried it but how do you know the seeds would sprouted anyway. If stored properly seed don't get too old to sprout. We would lose many plants if so. Seed sprout when conditions are right it is Natures way of assuring continuation of the specie.

Try Deno method---soaking overnight in hand hot water, then place in a 1/4th piece moist/damp kitchen paper towel. Many of us here on Daves do it that way. I do my daylily seeds that way. Check the seeds every couple of days. and when a root has formed, plant it in potting soil aiming the downwards.

Below are Columbine and Hibiscus seeds that sprouted in moist kitchen towel ready to be planted.

Thumbnail by blomma Thumbnail by blomma
Helena, MT

blomma, no I don't know if the spinach seed would have sprouted anyway. As for the pepper seeds I know have about half of them sprouting which is better than the warm water method I have used in the past. I have some Johnnys Jade green bean seed left from a half pound bag I purchased last season and only go ten plants out of five consecutive plantings. All my other beans came up just fine. So I plan on experimenting with the remaining seed to see if I can get any of it to germinate. I will try the hand hot water method as well or Deno method as you call it. Typically I have done this method by leaving the cups of warm water on a grow heat pad over night.

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