A question about vegetable seeds

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by tgplp, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. tgplp

    tgplp Active Member

    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Seattle, U.S.A.
    Hello :)
    I still have a bunch of veggie seed packets from last year, can I use them again this year? Will they germinate? The seed packets were made for 2009.
    Thank you!
    ~tgplp
     
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    4,776
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    As long as you kept them in a cool, dry, place they should still all be viable. At any rate, there's absolutely nothing to be lost and everything gained by trying them.
     
  3. tgplp

    tgplp Active Member

    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Seattle, U.S.A.
    Thanks, Lorax! I will try the seeds again this year, and see what happens!
    ~tgplp :)
     
  4. JanR

    JanR Active Member

    Messages:
    365
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lakeland, Manitoba
    How long seeds stay viable depends on whether they have been stored correctly. This link will give you an idea of the storage life for various seeds:

    http://growingtaste.com/storage.shtml

    I store my seeds in a plastic container in the fridge.
     
  5. cucurbits

    cucurbits Member

    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California,US
    Most should stay viable for a couple years at least.
     
  6. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,654
    Likes Received:
    210
    Location:
    Burnaby, Canada
    I keep my leftover seeds in the freezer, which is what major seedbanks do with their seeds. Their lifetimes vary, but I've had viable tomato seeds after 20 years in the freezer. Older seeds take longer to germinate.
     
  7. Vancouver Island

    Vancouver Island Active Member

    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    Back to your original question on vegetable seeds, I am beginning to wonder if there is more to this question than simply viability of the seeds. Some seeds seem to be tough and produce great crops-- tomatoes are a good example. The seed coat is very smooth and probably retains qualities required for a healthy plant.

    However, I have noticed in my garden that squash seems to be another matter. Last year the crop should have been more productive since we had great weather. However, production was very poor. The seeds germinated well (they were 2+years old), and the plants were reasonably healthy, but production was off. The seed coat of squash seems to be somewhat rough and I am wondering if something is lost during storage. This year I have purchased new seeds from Vesey's (PEI) to see if there is a difference. Squash (butternut and acorn) seems to be the only plants that I have experience with that seems to show this problem. In other cases seed age simply results in the decline in germination rates, not the quality of the plants (lettuce is a good example). Also, zucchini planted in the same area did very well, as well as the pumpkins.

    I store my seeds in a cool dry place in a drawer. Tomato seeds from 2000 just started in last week are doing well. I have also started lotus seeds from a pod that is more than 20 years old but those are tough seeds!

    My question to the seed scientists out there, is what happens within the seed that makes a seed loose viability. There must be some basic process that occurs in all ageing seeds. Dehydration may be very important. Also, some seeds require a symbiotic relationship with certain fungus for the plant to thrive or even germinate. Does anyone have a good reference for these questions? I would love to understand the process.
     

Share This Page