Old seeds

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MrsD'ville mkII
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Old seeds

Post: # 149027Post MrsD'ville mkII
Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:16 am

Sorry if this has been asked a million times, but is it worth bothering with seeds that are 5 years old? I have some pretty elderly packets of seeds, mainly tomatoes and cucs/marrows. Would you bother? We're on virtually no income atm so are trying to be thrifty!
Raising four from 1 to 17 in ruralmost Herefordshire: http://39again.wordpress.opensure.net/

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Odsox
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Re: Old seeds

Post: # 149029Post Odsox
Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:27 am

Tomatoes and cucumbers do have quite a long shelf life but I'm not sure about 5 years.
Best thing to do is perform a germination test ... sounds technical, but all it means is put a few of your seeds on a piece of damp kitchen towel in a container with a lid.
Put it in your airing cupboard and check every morning for signs of life.
In a moderately warm cupboard (~25c) tomatoes should germinate in about 3 - 5 days and cucumbers possibly quicker.

If you are very careful you can pot up the tiny seedlings as long as you don't touch the little rootlet, so nothing is wasted.
It's well worth it as I had some old tomato seed which was also possibly 5 years old and 4 out of 10 seeds germinated.
Tony

Disclaimer: I almost certainly haven't a clue what I'm talking about.

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Millymollymandy
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Re: Old seeds

Post: # 149037Post Millymollymandy
Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:57 am

Are the packets sealed or open? If sealed they might last longer. I have sown cucumbers from the same packet for 4 years in a row and they germinated fine every year. I bought new seed this year simply because every year they've sucumbed to downy mildew so I've got a (hopefully) more disease resistant variety.
boboff wrote:Oh and just for MMM, :hugish: (thanks)
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MrsD'ville mkII
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Re: Old seeds

Post: # 149080Post MrsD'ville mkII
Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:03 pm

Hmm, I should have prefaced that question with: "On the basis that my son stops feeding for five minutes today, is it worth..." :roll:
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Mrs Moustoir
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Re: Old seeds

Post: # 149119Post Mrs Moustoir
Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:03 pm

I just tend to bung the older seeds in - if they grow, it's a bonus!

If you can get hold of Dr Hessayon's Vegetable and Herb expert, he gives a useful guide to the life expectancy for each type of seed. The average keeping time seems to be about 4 years with things like beans and peas only two years. Tomatoes - he says three years, marrows and cucs - a staggering six years (assuming they have been stored as recommended).

I always thought lettuce seeds did not keep well, but even these should last three years according to Dr H.

You can tell what my bedtime reading is! :lol:

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jampot
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Re: Old seeds

Post: # 149581Post jampot
Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:33 pm

most of my seeds are a bit old coz ive never got enough room to sow a whole pack and they end up haning about for a couple of years. toms and cucs keep going well ito antquity! if in doubt chuck em in the soil and cross you fingers like i do :thumbright:
AAARRGHH its behind you!!!

MrsD'ville mkII
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Re: Old seeds

Post: # 150383Post MrsD'ville mkII
Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:34 am

Funnily enough it's the cucs that have come up!
Raising four from 1 to 17 in ruralmost Herefordshire: http://39again.wordpress.opensure.net/

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