I have had persistent problems starting veggie seeds the last few years, especially tomatoes, and after much prodding finally talked to the CoOperative Agent about it. The feeling is that I may have a fungus around and I am recontaminating things as I go along. I have decided to not use any seeds from last year (I never knew about the fermenting deal) and have decided to order new from Tomato Growers... I grow no hybrids and I will likely do a dozen of about 7 varieties (one of my old ones I cannot find, Spindley) but the packs comes in 30's and I'm wondering if the leftovers will still be good for next year? I know that I have used year old seeds before, but is it normal or was I lucky?
To the extreme on that... I just found an unopened pack of Seeds Of Change Brandywine pinks (best one out there) that is dated as 'packed for 1997' LOL! It's unopened, and has been under a stack of literature in a little cubby hole in the desk here. Never needed them as they gave good seeds every year until recently. There's a lot of shipping involved for just one new pack, and I'd like save $$$$ anywhere I can this year as money has really tightened up here.
Also... the agent wants me to sterilize all my little plastic market packs that I use and the shelves that I grow them on and the drip pans underneath. Is this realistic? It seems like the dishwasher is too hot, and the 10:1 Clorox deal seems light to me. Any experiences with sterilizing everything?
Also... I was told to stop using my garden soil for seeds and go to the soiless stuff. Is this really that big of a deal? What if I spray all of the soil (after it's in the market packs) with Fungonil? I start my seeds early as it's hard to predict how they'll get along with the conditions in the house here, depending on the weather and how much the furnace runs or doesn't. I shoot for May 1 for planting (a few earlier just for fun) and if they take off then I rather they be in soil so as to not have to keep transplanting them.
That's it for now... but the year is young :-)