How old are the seeds you just bought?

seedcorn

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It’s been way too many decades since genetic classes. There are a given number of chromosomes that make a sheep a sheep vs being a tree. Then within the chromosomes are genes with recessive or dominant effects as well as interactions between genes and modifiers. There are millions of combinations. What breeders play with are genes and their interactions. Environmental pressures can change their appearance which is what most of us pick for. When u realize there are millions of possible outcomes, it’s easy to see why keeping a line exactly the same is impossible.
 

flowerbug

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Is there a particular reason for the pelleting? I can see how with carrot seed it could help in avoiding later thinning, but is there another purpose other than making the seed more visible?

it is a way of making mechanical handling of the seeds easier (various planting gadgets, look them up, they're amazing :) ). vaccuum and trays with holes in them so you can roll the seeds around into the holes and then the vaccuum holds the seeds in place while you turn the tray over a planting tray and they are all spaced properly to drop in the cells, etc.

for small seeds that are not round shaped to begin with.
 

ducks4you

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If the seeds are cheap/clearance they are most likely over 2yo. Doesn't mean that they aren't viable.
If it's something that you aren't craving to grow, buy a $1/worth and test them 10 of them on a damp paper towel in a ziplock bag on top of the fridge for one week when you want to grow them, and pot up the survivors.
The big companies will sell you good seeds from last year's growth.
Sometimes you can find them in the box stores.
For specialty seeds you will have to search.
There is NOTHING wrong with planting cheap and old seeds.
Just, is it worth YOUR effort?
 

heirloomgal

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I save seeds for only 5 major vegetable types, and a smattering of others. But I have been amazed many times how fantastic germination rates can be for all of them, even when not fresh. Especially large seeds like peas, beans, corn. The only species that still can be a bit of a wild card IMO is hot peppers. They have that darn tendency to fall into a deep sleep, and while they are often still viable, the time it takes to wake them up makes them basically non-viable. The flexuosum peppers I'm trying to germinate right now are clearly showing this dormancy quality even though they were apparently grown in 2021. I probably need to flicker the temperature more than I already am to click them on. Currant tomato seeds can be sticklers too, though putting them outside when it still gets quite cold at night but warm in the day always gets them up. My feeling is a seed is life, and life wants to live!
 
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Zeedman

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I save seeds for only 5 major vegetable types, and a smattering of others. But I have been amazed many times how fantastic germination rates can be for all of them, even when not fresh. Especially large seeds like peas, beans, corn. The only species that still can be a bit of a wild card IMO is hot peppers. They have that darn tendency to fall into a deep sleep, and while they are often still viable, the time it takes to wake them up makes them basically non-viable. The flexuosum peppers I'm trying to germinate right now are clearly showing this dormancy quality even though they were apparently grown in 2021. I probably need to flicker the temperature more than I already am to click them on. Currant tomato seeds can be sticklers too, though putting them outside when it still gets quite cold at night but warm in the day always gets them up. Me feeling is a seed is life, and life wants to live!
Nearly all of my home-saved seed tends to be at least reasonably viable for much longer than the frequently posted seed longevity charts. Beans of almost all types generally have at least 50% germination for 5-6 years, tomatoes for maybe 6-8 years, and cucumbers & melons up to 10 years. That is stored in sealed containers at room temperature. Soybeans are a little more temperamental, I monitor their seed life & see a major drop between 5-7 years... but so far, have been able to save weak seeds through rescue protocols & TLC. Sweet corn can drop after just a few years, so that has previously been the only seed I would divide into lots & freeze.

Peppers can be really temperamental. Several pepper varieties are the only seeds which have gone completely dead after only 5-7 years. As a result, I'm trying to clean out one of my freezers, to transition it to seed storage. Since I am gardening on less space now, and can't grow as much as in years past, I'm especially worried about my heirloom peppers. The inability to grow any pepper seed crops last year really hurt. Those seeds really need to be frozen ASAP, to preserve as many varieties as possible. Samples of all other seeds as well, with soybeans the next most important.

I'm waiting for a daytime temp in the single digits F. to clean & reorganize the freezers, but it will be awhile... upper 20's / low 30's for at least the next 10 days. While waiting for that, I'll try to begin germination testing as much of my collection as possible, to determine which are most at risk.
 

seedcorn

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If the seeds are cheap/clearance they are most likely over 2yo. Doesn't mean that they aren't viable.
If it's something that you aren't craving to grow, buy a $1/worth and test them 10 of them on a damp paper towel in a ziplock bag on top of the fridge for one week when you want to grow them, and pot up the survivors.
The big companies will sell you good seeds from last year's growth.
Sometimes you can find them in the box stores.
For specialty seeds you will have to search.
There is NOTHING wrong with planting cheap and old seeds.
Just, is it worth YOUR effort?
Quality seed sold by quality companies are not necessarily grown the year before. At times, seed grown 3-4 years ago may be better quality than last years seed.
 

Branching Out

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Samples of all other seeds as well, with soybeans the next most important.

I keep all of my warm season veggie seeds like pepper, tomato, cucumber and melon seeds together in a small cardboard box in a frost free fridge freezer, and it has worked great for over a decade now. Given that I am trying many new varieties of each of these this year I added a new small cardboard box, for the more recent acquisitions of these types of seeds instead of mixing them all together. There is another box with cool season hardy annual flower seeds such as snapdragons and dianthus, and a sweet pea section too. Beans get their own box in the freezer too. I really like the idea of guarding samples of other seeds, so that the entire collection would not necessarily need to go in the freezer; will have to do that with my lettuce collection. Short term lettuce seeds at room temperature, long term lettuce seeds frozen for posterity.
 

so lucky

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Keep in mind that the viability of the seed is only one factor of whether it will germinate and grow.
Moisture of the soil, temperature and light availability also could make or break your germination. To keep moisture available to direct-sown seeds, you could cover the watered-in (seeded) bed with boards for 2 or 3 days, particularly for spinach.
 

digitS'

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Keep in mind that the viability of the seed is only one factor of whether it will germinate and grow.
Moisture of the soil, temperature and light availability also could make or break your germination. To keep moisture available to direct-sown seeds, you could cover the watered-in (seeded) bed with boards for 2 or 3 days, particularly for spinach.
Tried that once with carrot seed and I wasn't So Lucky.

Under the boards, I ;) checked . checked . check . . check ... che ........ ch

Forgot to check - Killed more than half the seedlings.

Steve
 

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