The difference between fresh and old seed

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al78

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The difference between fresh and old seed
« on: May 11, 2021, 12:31 »
Lesson learnt this year, don't keep unsown seed around for more than a couple of years. I sowed 40 dwarf French beans last month in modules indoors that were bought 3 or 4 years ago, gave then the minimum amount of water needed to moisten the compost, and left them too it. Only eight came up. Just over a week ago (BH weekend) I sowed 14 climbing French beans in small pots indoors which I had purchased earlier this year. Ten are now pushing up. The old dwarf beans are now going to be discarded.

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Yorkie

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2021, 18:31 »
It can depend on the plant and the storage conditions.

Never keep opened parsnip seeds longer than the current season. Others will last far longer than just a year or two. 

https://www.allotment-garden.org/gardening-information/seed-saving/seed-storage-longevity-lifespan/
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days all attack me at once...

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jambop

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2021, 18:58 »
It can depend on the plant and the storage conditions.

Never keep opened parsnip seeds longer than the current season. Others will last far longer than just a year or two. 

https://www.allotment-garden.org/gardening-information/seed-saving/seed-storage-longevity-lifespan/

Not about to totally disagree about the parsnip seeds because I think there is merit in what you say, however I bought some Gladiator F1 seed from Premier seeds last year and sowed some and they germinated well. I had some left over and sowed them again this year... perfect germination again notably both times they were sown in open ground in mid April. I think that one thing that is over looked with parsnip seeds sowing is that they do require warm'ish but notably moist conditions for ideal germination give them those conditions and you have better chances of the seeds germinating before the rot.

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lettice

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2021, 08:02 »
Not one for keeping seeds for years and do save a lot of my own seeds each year, sowing them within the the next two years.

Mind, it is known that parsnips are known to have a short storage life, so need sowing within its first year or so.
Think also with parsnips, they are probably the slowest of seed to germinate and I think many just become impatient with them rather than failure.
Many methods I have seen over the years on here to try to get them off to a kind of quicker start can help.

Think the general and sensible rule to work with is seed you buy or save yourself generally has a 2-3 year life.

Have with many little experiments over the years found that Spinach, Chard and kale seed lasts for a good five years.
Have also sowed some of my saved tomato seed that is a good four to five years old with success.
Some that fail to germinate recently I have found is my saved and bought gherkin and cucumber seed that is more than two years old, whereas the newer seed germinated fine, growing in the same tray.

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Nobbie

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2021, 10:49 »
It can depend on the plant and the storage conditions.

Never keep opened parsnip seeds longer than the current season. Others will last far longer than just a year or two. 

https://www.allotment-garden.org/gardening-information/seed-saving/seed-storage-longevity-lifespan/

Not about to totally disagree about the parsnip seeds because I think there is merit in what you say, however I bought some Gladiator F1 seed from Premier seeds last year and sowed some and they germinated well. I had some left over and sowed them again this year... perfect germination again notably both times they were sown in open ground in mid April. I think that one thing that is over looked with parsnip seeds sowing is that they do require warm'ish but notably moist conditions for ideal germination give them those conditions and you have better chances of the seeds germinating before the rot.

I find the same. I think of lot of reports of poor germination of parsnips is put down to old seed rather than poor conditions. They certainly last two years in my experience, although Iím sure storage conditions play a big part. Too hot and all the processes inside the seed speed up the aging process.

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jambop

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2021, 11:58 »
Not one for keeping seeds for years and do save a lot of my own seeds each year, sowing them within the the next two years.

Mind, it is known that parsnips are known to have a short storage life, so need sowing within its first year or so.
Think also with parsnips, they are probably the slowest of seed to germinate and I think many just become impatient with them rather than failure.
Many methods I have seen over the years on here to try to get them off to a kind of quicker start can help.

Think the general and sensible rule to work with is seed you buy or save yourself generally has a 2-3 year life.

Have with many little experiments over the years found that Spinach, Chard and kale seed lasts for a good five years.
Have also sowed some of my saved tomato seed that is a good four to five years old with success.
Some that fail to germinate recently I have found is my saved and bought gherkin and cucumber seed that is more than two years old, whereas the newer seed germinated fine, growing in the same tray.


A few years back I found a packet of  sweet one thousand tomato seeds, I believe they are now up to one million now :lol: Anyway my wife got them free with a copy of the BBC magazine they were ten years old and in a simple paper envelope no foil packet. There were 12 seeds in the packet... every seed germinated!
I grew a row of eight and gave the other to my neighbour and they produced many hundreds of very small sweet tomatoes :D

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perris

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2021, 06:55 »
As it happens, there were news reports 2 days ago about 142-year old seeds germinating in the world's longest running experiment about this. See e.g. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/11/science/seeds-germinated-michigan-state.html 

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Beepee

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2021, 14:16 »
Lesson learnt this year, don't keep unsown seed around for more than a couple of years. I sowed 40 dwarf French beans last month in modules indoors that were bought 3 or 4 years ago, gave then the minimum amount of water needed to moisten the compost, and left them too it. Only eight came up. Just over a week ago (BH weekend) I sowed 14 climbing French beans in small pots indoors which I had purchased earlier this year. Ten are now pushing up. The old dwarf beans are now going to be discarded.

With beans in particular, if I am unsure of the likely germination I start them off by laying between two sheets of damp tissue in a seed tray and keep warm. They either sprout or go slimy/mouldy. Then I only sow  the sprouted ones.  As for parsnips, in 2020 I did sow a row with one year old Student parsnip seed.
Sowed them a bit thick in mid April thinking that germination would be poor and had to thin them more than usual. The seed was stored cool and airtight which probably helped. Also it could just be that batch of seed started life with perfect condition.  The joys of gardening... you just never know how 'they' might turn out.

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Redcoat

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2021, 20:46 »
I am a miser with seed and keep them for years,  I do store them carefully though, folding the inner packets twice to expel the air, similar packets put together into sealable polybags and then all go into an airtight poly  box and into the fridge.  Overkill ?.. it works for me.  :D

With regards to parsnips, decades ago an 'old boy' on the plot showed me the 'plank trick'.   Put planks down where you are going to sow the seeds to warm the soil for a week or so.  Sow the seeds and put the planks back over them; the seeds are kept damp and warm.  Lift the planks two weeks later and voila,  parsnip seedlings.  It never fails.

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Mr Dog

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2021, 17:58 »
Saving and storage conditions have a huge impact on the long term viability of seed.

I've had 60% germination from 3 year old parsnip seed and 0% from fresh before now (under the same conditions). Onion seeds are the ones I find 'go off' most rapidly with age.

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JayG

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2021, 20:49 »
With regards to parsnips, decades ago an 'old boy' on the plot showed me the 'plank trick'.   Put planks down where you are going to sow the seeds to warm the soil for a week or so.  Sow the seeds and put the planks back over them; the seeds are kept damp and warm.  Lift the planks two weeks later and voila,  parsnip seedlings.  It never fails.

That's interesting - I've had far fewer problems germinating parsnips since I stopped sowing them so early (won't be sowing them for about another week - seems to work here.)
Wondering whether using black plastic sheet instead of planks might work just as well ...
Sow your seeds, plant your plants. What's the difference? A couple of weeks or more when answering possible queries!

One of the best things about being an orang-utan is the fact that you don't lose your good looks as you get older

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mumofstig

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2021, 21:21 »
Quote
Wondering whether using black plastic sheet instead of planks might work just as well
The soil under black plastic really warms up, in the sun (if we ever get any) but would stay cooler under the wood  ::)
Quote
Onion seeds are the ones I find 'go off' most rapidly with age.
Yes, I had poor germination from 2 packets of onions this year - ended up buying some sets.
Lesley x
I'm not good, I'm not bad - I'm just me, and sometimes I have to apologise for that ;)

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Mr Dog

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2021, 11:17 »
I am a miser with seed and keep them for years,  I do store them carefully though, folding the inner packets twice to expel the air, similar packets put together into sealable polybags and then all go into an airtight poly  box and into the fridge.  Overkill ?.. it works for me.  :D

With regards to parsnips, decades ago an 'old boy' on the plot showed me the 'plank trick'.   Put planks down where you are going to sow the seeds to warm the soil for a week or so.  Sow the seeds and put the planks back over them; the seeds are kept damp and warm.  Lift the planks two weeks later and voila,  parsnip seedlings.  It never fails.

I do similar, with plastic, for carrots.

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Redcoat

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Re: The difference between fresh and old seed
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2021, 08:14 »
That's interesting - I've had far fewer problems germinating parsnips since I stopped sowing them so early (won't be sowing them for about another week - seems to work here.)
Wondering whether using black plastic sheet instead of planks might work just as well ...

The plastic would certainly warm the soil somewhat.  Once the seed is sown though,  I think the plank gives a more constant temperature as well as 'contact' to the soil.  Is it worth trying a half and half test row?


Edit to make quote show properly - Yorkie
« Last Edit: May 16, 2021, 10:56 by Yorkie »



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