How long do seeds stay good for

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Messianic4, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. Messianic4

    Messianic4 Missing the days of Old

    Messages:
    177
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern,Indiana
    Does anyone know how long seeds stay good for? I have alot left over from last year, and I was wondering if I could use them this year?

    Todah/Thanks
     
  2. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,431
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    Yes you can. Your onion and some lettuces might be a little less viable, but you can just use a few extra to get the plants you need.
    I am going through 4 year old seed and germinating what will and tossing the rest.
     

  3. Messianic4

    Messianic4 Missing the days of Old

    Messages:
    177
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern,Indiana
    Thanks for your help. The seeds I have are from last year...so hopefully they will all still work... I have 34 different kinds left...*S*

    I am not sure yet as to what I am growing this year...still planning.
     
  4. Zebraman

    Zebraman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    401
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Venice,CA.
    Hey Messianic4;Most of your seeds from last year will sprout fine if you stored them in a cool,dry,dark place.If however you have Parsnip seeds throw them out.They won't sprout.I have a little over 155 varieties of Tomato seeds and only have space to grow out 30-35 varieties a year.So any given year I have some seeds that are 3-5 years old.
    I usually pre-sprout a small amount first in damp paper towels inside of a zip-lock bag on top of the refridgerator to see if they will sprout or if I'm going to need a sprouting aid like gibberellic acid or smoke papers.-
     
  5. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    19,807
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003

    No way! I have a whole lot of parsnip seeds, and I was planning to get them in the ground this season!

    Why won't they sprout? :(

    Pony!
     
  6. crafty2002

    crafty2002 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,137
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Location:
    South central Virgina
    How do you grow that many tomato plants with limited space and them not cross breed????
    I am trying to figure out how to grow several types of different plants and keep them true to their parent plants, but I am under the understanding that they need to be seperated. :shrug:
    I have about 20 acres to use and am thinking I need to have about 9 or 12 different gardens spread out to save the seeds from different varieties of plants and especially corn.
    I would like to know if the plants you grow still come out as the plants the seeds came from and if so, what precaustion you take, if any to keep them from crossing???
    I am just learning about the seed situation in the world and still have a great deal to learn but I am trying.
    Thanks for the info ahead of time.
    I would like to hear from anyone else that knows about this also. I am getting as confussed as a Football Bat.
    I am trying to get ready to order seeds and every day something else pops up. :Bawling:
     
  7. shadowwalker

    shadowwalker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    559
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2004
    Location:
    wyoming/ now tennessee
    I have flower, vegetable,herb,tree,berry, ect. I have heirloom and specialty seeds that are up to 8 years old, the down side is they will go down in germination percentages of the seed group as they age. I have never had less than 50% germination of seeds. I have some test bottles of seeds that are over 13 years old. And still I have germination. Most are flower and vegetable. I don't count on seeds for planting in my garden or house that are over 3 years. That's just a rule I have for myself. I won't trade or sell seeds that are over 1 year old unless the other person knows this before and agrees to it. I have never had a problem with these seeds with trading or selling.
    I store my seeds. First in small screw on lid type bottles. I use herb,vitamin, ect. I get brown plastic if I can. Then I put them in big plastic ziplock bags. I then put them in those big metal cans with press on lids. I but the big popcorn cans from walmart when the put them on sale after the christmas season. I then put them in large sterofoam coolers. I them put these in a room that has as constant temprature year round as I can. If I have one, basement is first choice, back of a closet is next. If I run across some I use silica moisture absorbing packs in the cans. Just for extra insurance. I have only lost seeds this way once due to theft and once due to a fire. I have never had mice or critters get in the cans. I did have mice chew into the sterofoam coolers once.
     
  8. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,801
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    Much depends upon how they were stored. If they were subjected to a lot of moisture or heat, germination could be nil. If simply stored in a relatively cool and dry place all the time, they could well be within the USDA germination rates. Onion, parsley, and parsnip and salsify are usually listed as one year while pepper and sweet corn are two. 5-year old pepper seed isn't old to me and I planted parsnips 3 years in a row from the same packet that I got from another gardener here on HT. However, of those 4 mentioned as one year, salsify will give the poorest rate in the second year.

    Martin
     
  9. Zebraman

    Zebraman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    401
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Location:
    Venice,CA.
    Hey Crafty2002;First of all I only plant 30-35 varieties a year.I also build wooden cages (like a hollow/structual box) lined with Reemay.It does insure purity.I use the same system for pepper plants as well.I could do more but only have second story roof and back deck,and 1 vacant lot 2 houses down.I also have a lot of old rare varieties that I don't want crossed.I have a similar collection of W.Squash but only plant 1 of each species at a time,but because of long growing season here I am able to over lap more varieties after first crop have produced fruits.
    I also cage other crops as well,but only grow 1 type of corn at a time.
    I do own a couple of hundred acres in the Texas Hill Country but I am not yet willing to give up my West Coast Shangri-La.It was almost 80* today here at the beach.

    Parsnip seeds are good for 1 year.I store seeds correctly and have never gotten seeds older than last season to germinate-even with gibberellic acid.By all means go ahead and try but also purchase extra if they don't sprout.Fortunatly saving seed from these are really easy.-
     
  10. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,431
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    I've gotten parsnip seeds to grow the second year, but you have to plant them thick.
    After the first time though it is as siple as leaving a few to go to seed the second year.
    You get a cup or more of seed from each root left to go to seed.
    I left a couple of roots to go to seed and planted brocolli around them, the huge parsnip seed didn't seem to bother the broccoli at all.
    Crafty2002
    First thing is don't try to save seed from every thing you grow. Pick a few simple things, like a tomato or 2, 1 type of squash and lettuce for the first year. If you jump into it to fast it's just too much.
     
  11. Messianic4

    Messianic4 Missing the days of Old

    Messages:
    177
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern,Indiana
    Thank you all for your advice. My next question is...When planning my garden...what veggies should I keep away from each other so they do not cross polinate. The reason I am asking is..I forgot what my Dad taught me on the farm...and I planted cucumbers and cantaloupes beside each other last year...and I ended up with cucaloupes...and cantalumbers...I have picks..I woud post them..not sure how...but they were wierd looking..and had no taste..LOL
    I have limited space ad I don't want to make the same mistake and have a bunchof things that are of no use.

    Todah/Thanks
     
  12. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,801
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Wisconsin
    Other than certain corn varieties, you have nothing to worry about for this year. All plants will grow and produce as the seeds are genetically programmed to do. The results of cross-pollination will not show up until the following year.

    If you had strange fruit from cucumbers and cantaloupes, it would have been from planting crossed seed or other factors such as insufficient pollination of the blossoms.

    Martin
     
  13. Messianic4

    Messianic4 Missing the days of Old

    Messages:
    177
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern,Indiana
    Todah/Thanks everyone for you help. I am hoping that this years garden will be better. I had alot...and I canned alot..gave alot away. But we always want better then the year prior. Now I just have to decide what to plant I have 34 different veggies..and some melons and sunflowers too.
    I hope you all have great success with your gardens this year too!!
    Shalom