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Saving Seeds From Year To Year?

Discussion in 'Fruits & Vegetables' started by Ben E Lou, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. Dec 15, 2018
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    Ha Ha!

    Ben E Lou is a new gardener.

    Hang around here and we will have you up on the 2-wheeler in no time! Fasten that chin-strap ...

    digitS'
     
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  2. Dec 15, 2018
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

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    What you are talking about is reasonable. As they said, some seed lasts longer than others but there are certain enemies of storing them long term like that. Moisture is a huge one. They need to be dry. Don't get the packet wet when you are planting some of them. I use glass jars to store most of the time but zip-lok type bags for some things. Keep them dry.

    You do not want them to get too hot. Going through a cycle of hot to cold to hot to cold isn't good. Seed banks that are storing them long term usually freeze them and maintain a steady temperature. I store some in the freezer but some are kept at room temperature. The refrigerator wouldn't be bad either. As Philagardener mentioned watch out for condensation if you freeze them and then open them.

    I try to avoid storing them in too much light. I don't know how important that is but it just feels right to me to keep them kind of dark. In the packets it is not a big deal but I try to avoid light when they are not protected.

    I think someone mentioned a germination test to see if they are viable. The way I do that is to take a paper towel and soak it, then wring as much water out of it as I can. I fold it around some seeds and put it inside a zip-lok type bag and leave the bag open. Do not zip it closed. Put that bag in a warm spot. Warm air rises so the top of a refrigerator or a tall bookcase might be a good location. Check back in a week or more and see how many sprouted. That will tell you if you need to buy more seeds.
     
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  3. Dec 15, 2018
    thistlebloom

    thistlebloom Garden Master

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    Isn't his enthusiasm contagious? Makes me want to get out there and rake the snow off my beds!
     
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  4. Dec 15, 2018
    Zeedman

    Zeedman Deeply Rooted

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    Ooops. (reeling life preserver back in) And I was looking forward to providing even more (unnecessary) info... :rolleyes:

    In that case, @Ridgerunner pretty much covered it. All I would add is to divide the seed up prior to freezing, with a small zip lock bag for each year. At planting time, quickly remove only the packets which will be planted, and immediately return the rest to the freezer. This alleviates the necessity of subjecting the entire seed jar to the repeated freeze/thaw cycles which could reduce seed life.
     
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  5. Dec 15, 2018
    Ben E Lou

    Ben E Lou Garden Ornament

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    No worries, @Zeedman! I appreciate the info even if it wasn't what I was looking for right now. I will, however, store it away for this coming gardening season.
     
  6. Dec 16, 2018
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    also there is a search function which works so that can bring up tons of information from the past threads (not that we mind new ones by the way :) ).

    if you don't have freezer space i think room temperature is ok for many seeds as long as you don't keep them in a place where they are left in the sun or getting wet/mildewed i think they'll be ok for a few years. and like you say you can plant extras if you are going to thin anyways.
     
  7. Jan 19, 2019
    Ben E Lou

    Ben E Lou Garden Ornament

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    Just ran across a great article with some detail around how long seeds typically are viable. Posting here for reference:

    https://www.superseeds.com/blogs/know-your-roots/the-germination-explanation-how-long-do-seeds-last

    VEGETABLES:

    Asparagus - 3 years

    Beans - 3 years

    Beet - 4 years

    Broccoli - 4 years

    Brussels Sprouts - 4 years

    Cabbage - 4 years

    Carrot - 3 years

    Cauliflower - 4 years

    Celery - 3 years

    Chard, Swiss - 4 years

    Chicory - 4 years

    Chinese Cabbage - 3 years

    Corn, Sweet - 2 years

    Cucumber - 5 years

    Eggplant - 3 years

    Endive - 5 years

    Kale - 4 years

    Leek - 2 years

    Lettuce - 4 years

    Melon - 5 years

    Mustard - 4 years

    Okra - 2 years

    Onion - 1 year

    Parsnip - 1 year

    Pea - 3 years

    Pepper - 3 years

    Pumpkin - 4 years

    Radish - 4 years

    Rutabaga - 4 years

    Spinach - 2 years

    Squash - 4 years

    Tomato - 5 years

    Turnip - 4 years

    Watermelon - 4 years


    HERBS:

    Anise - 3 years

    Basil- 5-7 years

    Calendula - 3 years

    Catnip - 5 years

    Chives - 1 year

    Cilantro - 5-7 years

    Dill - 3 years

    Fennel - 4 years

    Lavender - 5 years

    Oregano - 2 years

    Parsley - 1 year

    Sage - 3 years

    Savory - 3 years

    Thyme - 3 years


    FLOWERS:

    (As a general rule, most annual flower seeds are viable for 1-3 years and perennial seed for 2-4 years.)

    Ageratum - 4 years

    Alyssum - 4 years

    Amaranth - 4 years

    Aster - 1 year

    Baby’s Breath - 2 years

    Bachelor’s Button - 3 years

    Calendula - 5 years

    Celosia - 4 years

    Clarkia - 2 years

    Coleus - 2 years

    Columbine - 2 years

    Cosmos - 3 years

    Dahlia - 2 years

    Daisy - 3 years

    Delphinium - 1 year

    Dianthus - 4 years

    Foxglove - 2 years

    Geranium - 1 year

    Hibiscus - 3 years

    Hollyhock - 3 years

    Impatiens - 2 years

    Larkspur - 1 year

    Lobelia - 3 years

    Lupine - 2 years

    Marigold - 2 years

    Nasturtium - 5 years

    Nicotiana - 3 years

    Pansy - 2 years

    Petunia - 3 years

    Phlox - 1 year

    Poppy - 4 years

    Salvia - 1 year

    Snapdragon - 3 years

    Sweet Pea - 3 years

    Verbena - 1 year

    Zinnia - 5 years
     
  8. Jan 19, 2019
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    That looks conservative ..

    . enough, to me.

    I want to avoid the risks that my gardening efforts fail because that so often means a 12 month error. I can't reset because time has moved on. Missing a season because I was penny wise and pound foolish - fooey on that!

    A couple of caveats: I don't freeze or even refrigerate seed. Except for some personally dear varieties/crosses, my seed stores don't represent any precious genetic diversity. The challenge of growing something from some "earlier time," inflames only a little enthusiasm.

    Steve :)
     
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  9. Jan 19, 2019
    ducks4you

    ducks4you Garden Master

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    Good for you! Your Googlefoo is VERY strong, Grasshopper!!
    Seriously, though, you just learn which seeds will survive for a long time and which ones don't, for general germination. Onion seeds just won't grow after a year, but I sprouted 35 year old tomato seeds, two ends of the spectrum. Perhaps you should do what many gardeners do and test your seeds by wetting a paper towel, placing seeds on it and carefully sealing it inside of a labeled ziploc bag. You leave it on top of your fridge, or another warm place for the germination period, like the package suggests, and see how many sprout. You should start 10 seeds or a multiple of 10 to find out the viable percentage.
    It is possible to lift the sprouts and repot in a starting medium, if you like.
    Although it is true that some plants require a period of freezing, it is more likely to be spring bulbs and not garden vegetables. Consider that you can garden year round in Florida and their vegetable gardens don't get any real cold or freezing, yet the plants will reseed there if not removed.
     
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  10. Jan 20, 2019
    seedcorn

    seedcorn Garden Master

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    @Ben E Lou While those are good averages, seed vigor changes from year to year. Seed vigor is as important as germ%. Some years boughten seed may have low vigor but good germ. Why the package says packaged for a certain year.

    @Ridgerunner is correct. Temperature swings and humidity are the worst things to kill viability of seeds.
     
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