Seeds forum: Seed Germination

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Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
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Natalie
Sep 2, 2012 12:43 PM CST
I harvested oodles of seeds last fall, and then I forgot about them! I sorted and cleaned all of them, put them in bags, and stuck them in a 5 gallon bucket. My DH had moved the bucket in the garage, so it was "out of sight, out of mind". I just stumbled across the bucket, and wonder if the seeds are still good. They have been in the garage since last fall. It gets really cold in there in the winter, but doesn't freeze, and it gets really hot in there in the summer.

Is there a "best way" to tell if the seeds are still good? I'm sure I can try germinating some of them, but I'm not sure how to go about doing that. I want to send a bunch of them to my Dad, but don't want to send them if they are no longer good. They are all perennial seeds, and if it matters which plants they came from, I can type up a list.

Thanks for any suggestions!
Natalie
PA (Zone 5b)
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DEMinPA
Sep 2, 2012 3:53 PM CST
I would think they are good. I have been winter sowing for at least seven years. We put the perennial seeds out in weather in January and February and they sprout when it gets warm.

I have had great germination in older seeds.

If you want to test them, put some seeds in a folded paper towel and keep the paper towel wet. Last week I tested some spinach seeds. In a few days I saw "tails" coming out of the seeds.

These gaillardia seeds were four or five years old and they sprouted for me.

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Don
Name: Dottie Fennell
Grassy Creek, NC (Zone 6b)
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dottie
Sep 2, 2012 3:56 PM CST
Natalie, Given the right conditions, seeds can last for many years. Jelitto Seeds advises against freezing seeds, but I store mine sometimes in the refrigerator but lately, since I have so many, I store them at room temperature. It's also detrimental for them to get too hot for long periods of time. I would bet my bottom dollar that they're all fine, especially since they're not even a year old. I would go ahead and send them and grow some of them yourself. What kinds of seeds do you have? I can give you suggestions if I know the types of seeds. Some seeds need light to germinate, so they shouldn't be covered with soil (like Columbine and Foxglove and very small seeds.). Some seeds need to be stratified (put in the refrigerator in a seed sowing mix for a number of weeks. Some seeds with very hard shells need to be nicked or scraped. I'll be glad to help.
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Sep 2, 2012 5:21 PM CST
I agree with Dottie. Those seeds should be just fine. Smiling As long as they were dry when they were stored, sounds like a good storage situation. Ha, I planted some Lisianthus seeds that sat forgotten in the heat in my greenhouse for two years and they came up just fine this year! If you want to let us know what kinds they were, we can all offer suggestions on how best to grow them.
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Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Natalie
Sep 2, 2012 8:58 PM CST
Thanks for all the help! I've successfully grown all of them in the past from seed, so I'm covered there. I just didn't store them in the garage for a year, with the extreme temps, before doing so! I'm pretty sure all can be winter sown, which is why I'm sending them to my Dad. He just finished his green house and is excited to get something planted in there this year.

I'm going to give the wet paper towel trick a try. I germinate my daylily seeds sort of like that, but in the fridge with a peroxide and water mixture. I wasn't sure if that would work on other seeds.
Natalie
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Sep 2, 2012 11:42 PM CST
Seeds that you collect yourself will likely be viable longer than commercial seeds.
And yours were kept in a cool dry place.
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Sep 2, 2012 11:48 PM CST
Thanks Caroline, I didn't know that about seeds. I can't say it has been cool in there this summer, but the seeds were dry before putting them in bags. We've had a horribly hot summer, and they've been in the garage since last fall. So, they've come close to freezing, and close to baking! I just hope that they'll germinate for me!
Natalie
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
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Onewish1
Sep 3, 2012 6:14 AM CST

Moderator

the paper towel in a baggie would be my method of choice to test them.. but I think they will be fine as well
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Sep 3, 2012 11:48 AM CST
Forgot to ask if I should use plain water, or a peroxide/water mix, like I do for my daylily seeds?
Natalie
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Sep 3, 2012 2:34 PM CST

Moderator

the peroxide won't hurt em
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Sep 3, 2012 4:23 PM CST
Thanks! Thumbs up
Natalie

corwinlame
Sep 12, 2012 5:37 AM CST
Seeds will effect to germinate when the soil temperature is in the perfect range and when water and oxygen are available. Small seeds should be planted on the soil covering and compress or rolled in for best results since they contain only enough stored food for a limited period of growth.
Name: Carol
Canton GA (Zone 7b)
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CAKnapp
Sep 12, 2012 5:46 AM CST
Welcome! to ATP, Corwinlame!!
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Sep 12, 2012 2:04 PM CST

Moderator

Welcome!

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