opinions on old seed please?

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Under The Hill

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opinions on old seed please?
« on: January 16, 2015, 19:55 »
I have just sown some seeds that say they are out of date 2011 (onions & Cabbage) and 2009 (cauliflower).   Part of me just thought what the hell I will sow the whole packet and see what happens as otherwise I will just chuck them.  But I do remember reading in a book I have that old seed does not produce good plants and fresh seed gets a much healthier and better crop.  I am now wondering if perhaps I should have ditched them as it seems pointless to waste time tending to crops that will be substandard from the start with no chance of a decent crop.  What are others opinions on this please? 



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Re: opinions on old seed please?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2015, 20:01 »
Seeds can last a lot longer than the packet says. After asking on here a while back I chit them to see how many are viable. I grew a load of rudbeckia for my Mum a couple of years ago and the seed in that packet was sow by some time in the early '90s.



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Re: opinions on old seed please?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2015, 20:03 »
Viability can also depend on:
- if there's a small foil packet inside the main paper packet, whether it's been previously opened
- storage conditions.
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days all attack me at once...



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Re: opinions on old seed please?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2015, 20:04 »
My own opinion is that if they germinate and form healthy (i.e. not stunted or deformed) seedlings they will grow into healthy plants, but there is a recent thread which suggests that at least one person so far doesn't agree with that:

Sow your seeds, plant your plants. What's the difference? A couple of weeks or more when answering possible queries!

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Re: opinions on old seed please?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2015, 22:09 »
sowed silver fir tree and st pierre tomato seeds last year that were given to me, which were 2yrs out of date. i thought what the hell. had so many gave loads of plants away, mine in green house took over as bush type and should have left bigger space between. friends that put in garden had loads of fruits which were as big as fists on fir tree.



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Re: opinions on old seed please?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2015, 10:38 »
I think as long as the seed germinates the plants won't be affected



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Re: opinions on old seed please?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2015, 10:56 »
I have, on occasions, grown old seeds and the seedlings that came up were much weaker than "Normal", but other than that I use the packet until it stops germinating.  Only reservation would be a slow germinator (like Parsnips or Carrots outside) because by the time poor germination was noticed its getting late to sow a replacement crop - so for those I would do a germination test on damp kitchen paper (in an air tight / Tupperware / Shrink wrapped container so they don't dry out)

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