I love seeds. Laying in bed with a beer and flipping through seed catalogs is one of the things that gets me to winter. I get buzzed. I look at all the peppers, tomatoes, funky flowers and drift off into into a wonderland of spring and summer planting. I breathe life into the pun of hoardiculture.
So with my very limited space and my propensity for hoarding seeds, I have accumulated a lot through the years. I hate wasting and thus try to stretch out the longevity of my unused seeds as much as I can. I keep a rotation to make sure that none of the seeds I save for next season are more than two or three years old. That is when the germination rates really drop. Here are my tips to help you germinate and grow old seeds! If scientists could germinate a 32,000 year old seed, maybe we can have luck with a three year old one.
- Store you unused seeds in the best possible environment. That means keeping them dry by placing them in an airtight container to keep out moisture.
- Keep them dormant. That means cool and dark. I store mine in plastic ziplock bags in my fridge. Stratification is tedious, but important.
- Stay organized. Label all of your packets and the dates they were original packaged. Trust me, this is for your own sanity later on.
- Don’t waste peat pellets. Check your germination rates. Do a patch test of a few seeds on a damp paper towel. If after 1
0 days (depending on your plants), you’ve got about a 50% germination rate, you should be good to go!
- Know thy plant. Certain seeds are just more viable in old age than others. For example, corn and pepper have a hard time lasting longer than two years, like a cucumber will be quite successful even six or so years later than it was packed. Other seeds like chamomile require light to germinate.
What is the old plant you guys have germinated? Today I decided to give a watercress from 2007 a whirl