Old Seeds

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by duke3522, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. duke3522

    duke3522 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    A friend of mine gave me a bunch of seeds that are mostly tomatoes, peppers, and flowers. They are in Park seed commercial packs marked for the 1994 season. Some of the packs are opened, but are tightly closed, and some packs are unopened. He bought them at a sale where the woman said they had been sealed in the canning jars with rubber gaskets since 1994(the seeds are still in the jars). What chances do you think that any of these seeds will grow. I am pretty new at seed starting so I am clueless.

    Thanks
    Duke
     
  2. Steph in MT

    Steph in MT Well-Known Member

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    Hello Duke~
    Right now I'm test sprouting a bunch of old seeds I got from a friend and have been pleasantly surprised at how many are germinating. Some are from 1991-1992 even! :eek: My advice is to check 'em out and see what comes up~ Satisfiies a little bit of the gardening urge during these winter months. :)
    Steph
     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I just did germination testing on some old beet seed and had better than 90% germ. I was totally surprised since this seed sat in a storage unit for 2 yrs out of the 6 yrs or so that I have had it. OTOH I have had yr old seed that flunked. So you never know.
     
  4. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    Most generally tomato seed is viable for many, many years. The flower seed--maybe. The pepper seed doubtful, but why not give it a try anyway. Pepper seed viability is said to be good for only a couple of years. However when stored properly it does usually last longer.

    If you have parsnip seed, it too is doubtful.
     
  5. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    It sure helps to store seeds in a refrig with some sort of moisture absorber like a paper towel. I've got seeds several years old that still sprout.
     
  6. kathrynlmv

    kathrynlmv Well-Known Member

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    Duke, I tested about 50 packs of seeds that had sat completely unkempt in a horribly hot greenhouse for about ten years or more...and still found some of them viable. I used egg cartons, with a little growing medium (vermilculite or soil) and numbered each egg-hole to correspond with numbers on the packets. Then put in 4-6 seeds from each packet, kept moist and waited to see what sprouted. If conditions are right for that particular seed, many will survive. I read recently that they discovered a 3000 yr. old bean seed, and it sprouted. Life goes on. Kathy
     
  7. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    germination is going to be variable as most mentioned above.
    My guess is that the pepper seeds won't do much. I've had bad luck with some tomato seeds stored over 2 years, but can't remember which hybrid varieties they were.
    Onion and leek seeds usually are not good to store for long, in my experience is best to get fresh every year.
     
  8. Jeanne Krenning

    Jeanne Krenning Well-Known Member

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    If you don't want to go to a bunch of trouble checking viability you can just put a few seeds on some damp paper towel and enclose in a baggie. They will sprout in there if they are going to sprout in the soil.
    I have good rates with tomatoes, peppers and eggplants for about 10 years. None are hybrids so I don't know if that matters. Lettuce seed usually is not good very long or corn.