Old Seeds

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Hello everyone This is my second year working on my little garden (4x8), and I still have some seeds from last year. My question is should I plant using the old seeds, or purchase new ones?
The remaining seeds were sealed up, and were kept in a dry place in the basement.
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Year-old dill ought to be just fine. If you grew dill last year, look for seedlings where you had it.... it isn't called Dill "Weed" for nothin'!
Peace,
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at www.albany.net/~gwoods Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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wrote:

Tkx Gary for your comment, but I was not referring to dill weed what so ever. I was referring to all my kitchen vegetables...ie cucumbers, green/yellow beans, snow peas, and radishes.
P.S. As far as what zone I am in...I haven't a clue. I'm in Ottawa, Ont Canada.
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Hey, me too, I'm from Ottawa! <g>
Difference is that I'm growing indoors. <g>
I'm going to try growing things on the balcony but that makes for a short season for me, too. I live in a bachelor apt and the conditions were never good so herbs/veggies never thrived beyond a week or two. I bought a shelving unit from Ikea last summer and recently was able to add fix up 2 fluorescent units and my herbs have for the first time flourished! I wish I had a little 4x8 piece of land, but this will do! <g> And at least I'll have, I hope, some lettuces and herbs and spinach throughout the year at all times. <g>
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My old brain must have been in a "pickle!" The Organic Gardening Encyclopedia has a "longevity of seeds" list somewhere' most everything is good for at least 2 years. I germination tested a bunch of my stored stuff, and the pickling cuke seed that I grew several years ago was still 100%. Having said that, you may note that the packets say "Packed for XXXX," and with a stated germination percentage for that year. The seed may actually be older. Unless your livelihood depends on it, just plant the seeds....
Gary Woods AKA K2AHC- PGP key on request, or at www.albany.net/~gwoods Zone 5/6 in upstate New York, 1420' elevation. NY WO G
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Don B wrote:

About the same as here in the central Adirondacks, zone 4. http://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/hzm-ne1.html
Steve
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I'm a real gardening newbie but these types of questions always get a chuckle out of me. I remember as a teenager finding out that some of seeds put in with the pharaohs still sprouted after a few millenia. At least in this regard, I never worry about seeds. Some sprouted, some didn't. <g>
I find it so neat that nature always manages to find a way ... <g>
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fitwell wrote:

Yeah, those were supposed to be lotus seeds, as I recall. It never happened. Years later it was looked into and it turned out to be an urban legend. Bummer.
Steve
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Oh, I don't know what to think now. I just spent a few minutes trying to find an article about lotus seeds not lasting thousands of years and all I find are people saying that they DO last for centuries. Example: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/DyeHard/dyehard020314.html I'm really curious now. I would look more but I have things to do.
Steve
Steve wrote:

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On Sun, 30 May 2004 15:59:55 +0000, fitwell wrote:

I have read that this story is one of those folktales or urban legends or whatever they might be called. I know that frozen seeds can last that long, but I am unaware of a seed of an ordinary plant remaining viable for that long when not frozen.
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Some of the beans from the Aztec burial mounds have grown, they were about 2,000 years old. But, beans are kinda tough. ;-) None of the corn sprouted. Or so the legend said that came with these seeds...
I have some large beans that look like scarlet runners, only MUCH larger, that are supposed to be descendants of that line. They are different from any other bean I've grown. :-)
I've asked 'Lou to re-send me the "legend" that she sent me with the beans, and I'll post it as soon as she e-mails me.
They are lovely, but I've just been growing them for seed the past couple of years. I've not eaten any yet. Average size of the beans are about 1" x 1/2" and they are about 1/4" thick in the center.
They are HUGE!
K.
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In article

years, but I don't know where. It does vary, but all are good for more than one year.
For seeds you start in pots, do what I do. The first year I put 2 or 3 seeds in each starter pot. The next year 3 or 4. The next year 4 or 5. By then I'm usually out of seeds, but if not I continue to use 4 or 5. So far, I've never had a pot where nothing came up :-).
What am I talking about? Tomatoes, squash, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, orach, arugula, basil, etc..
And yes, you can start lettuce and spinach in pots if you put them out as soon as they get true leaves.
Seeds sown direct, peas, beans, radishes, etc., I usually buy new each year.
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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They *might* work. It is as much reliant on storage conditions as seed variety.
The *only* way to find out is to try. Count out 5-10 seeds, damp them on a couple paper towels. If they all sprout you have 100% germination. If 1 in 10 does, then you have 10% germination.
Sound like too much work? Buy a new pack for a dollar.
Jim
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Don B said:

Parsnip seeds absolutely should be fresh. Onion seeds are much better fresh. Most other seeds are good for at least two years. Very old seed will have a lower germination rate and sometimes the seedlings are weak and puny.
LONGEVITY OF VEGETABLE SEED (from an old 4-H pamphlet)
1 YEAR: onion, parsnips                          2 YEARS: sweet corn    
3 YEARS: beans, carrots, peas
4 YEARS: beets, cabbage, pumpkins, squash. tomatoes, turnips
5 OR MORE YEARS: cress, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes            
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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On Mon, 31 May 2004 05:59:48 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@someplace.net.net (Pat Kiewicz) wrote:

<snip>
Germination rates *do* decline over time, but I don't believe I've ever had old seeds produce inferior plants if they *did* germinate. And the only old seed I've had zero germination with is grass. Lawn grass, that is. :-) I must say I've never tried onion from seed or parsnip in any way, shape, or form.
If there's ever an rge FAQ, the question of 'old' seeds should be somewhere near the top of the list.
BTW, I just planted some fenugreek seeds that are probably 10 yrs old, and brought from a commercial spice co. and lo, I have sprouts!
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Frogleg said:

I've noticed, particularly with eggplant seeds and to some extent with tomatoes, that old seed that do germinate tend to be weaker, in the sense that even though the do sprout they seem to be less able to pull themselves free of the seed coat. Sort of like it was all they could do to start the process.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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On Tue, 01 Jun 2004 05:20:25 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@someplace.net.net (Pat Kiewicz) wrote:

I've seen that with brassicas.. cabbage, broccoli, they'll come up, with a ball on the end of the stem.. the seed coat over the seed leaves.. too tired to spell it. And they don't get any further when they're like that.
I've grown some tomatoes from seed I bought in 1976.... in 1990. They were pear tomatoes though. LOL Didn't want to grow many of those, kind of mealy inside. blech.
Janice
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hot, or worse, humid. Exceptions for *me* are parsnips and lettuce, I never get good germination after the year they're sold for. Others say they do, but I'd buy new lettuce if you need it.
Le Jardin du Gourmet sells sample seed packets for 35 cents a packet, and that's an excellent way to try things, or if you have a small garden.
They have a web presences at: http://www.artisticgardens.com/herb_seedsplants.htm
It's a little late for some things, but there are late season lettuce, and you can start a few here and there, plus there are seeds for herbs like thyme, basils, marjoram..etc etc etc.
I don't know where you are though, so what the weather there is like, I don't know.
Enjoy your garden!!
Janice
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Don B wrote:

I don't know about herbs but as for vegetables only onions (and chives) will probably not germinate as they have a one year life. Corn seed only lasts for two years. Everything else should be okay to plant.
Barb
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snipped-for-privacy@badger.tds.net says...

up fine.
And around here (zone 5) chives are a perennial - couldn't kill them if I tried.
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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