Tomatoes 2021

heirloomgal

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
308
Reaction score
990
Points
115
Location
Ontario, Canada
Green slices or red slices seared? Never been a fan of fried green tomatoes.
Only red ones @seedcorn. I think because oxhearts (generally) are quite dense, they can stand up to a bit of high heat and not turn to mush. I've never tried green tomatoes, and I'm not especially eager to...:hide
 

heirloomgal

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
308
Reaction score
990
Points
115
Location
Ontario, Canada
Sad to say, when it comes to seed packets, "garden" stores treat their seeds no better than supermarkets. Although some mail order seed houses treat their seed better (you can often tell by their packaging) IMO commercial seed in general can be unreliable, whether new or old. The two worst germination rates I had this year for members of the nightshade family were from "new" commercial seed... and more than once, I've ordered seed through the mail which had zero germination. :mad:
I've seen this too @Zeedman. Once I walked into a garden supply store that had a double door set, the seeds were stored in that entrance area. This means every time the first door opened a blast of arctic air pushed through, and then gigantic ceiling heaters blew down. So the seeds location was running extreme cold then extreme hot every time someone walked in. I've tested packet seeds several times against my own seeds, and my seeds always out germinated them even if my seeds were 5 years old. Sweet peas (flowers) in particular I've noticed are as old as the hills in those packets. One can only imagine the true age of those 'date stamped' packets. 🤔
 

Zeedman

Garden Addicted
Joined
Dec 10, 2016
Messages
1,897
Reaction score
4,390
Points
237
Location
East-central Wisconsin
One can only imagine the true age of those 'date stamped' packets.
Supposedly, seed companies can sell seed as long as it meets minimum germination requirements - regardless of age. So the date stamp on the seed packet is essentially meaningless. In the U.S., the minimum germination rates for commercial seeds are established by govt. regulation, such as the Federal Seed Act. I suspect there are similar regulations in other countries.

One has to wonder though, when encountering bad commercial seed, whether the seed company skimped on germination testing, or whether the seed was damaged by conditions after shipment. I suspect the former in the case of mail order companies, especially for those with only an on-line presence. Some of those may be either disreputable, or hobby gardeners selling seeds.

Seed companies which sell via seed racks tend to be better regulated - but stored in poorer conditions at the retailer. There is little to no concern for seed storage there, since the stores will not carry over inventory, and start with fresh seed every year. As a rule, seed packets from seed racks should be assumed to be good for the year purchased only.
 

Pulsegleaner

Garden Addicted
Joined
Apr 18, 2014
Messages
1,683
Reaction score
1,654
Points
236
Location
Lower Hudson Valley, New York
Old tomato seed - properly stored - will have at least fair germination for a long time. The oldest saved tomato seed I planted this year was from 2006, and still had 80% germination. I have great reservations though about buying old seed, for tomatoes or anything else. You have no idea what conditions the seed has been exposed to. Not to say that it shouldn't be tried; but it would be wise to have a backup plan in case of failure.

Sad to say, when it comes to seed packets, "garden" stores treat their seeds no better than supermarkets. Although some mail order seed houses treat their seed better (you can often tell by their packaging) IMO commercial seed in general can be unreliable, whether new or old. The two worst germination rates I had this year for members of the nightshade family were from "new" commercial seed... and more than once, I've ordered seed through the mail which had zero germination. :mad:
There are limits there though. Two years ago, I cleared out my "file cabinet" of tomato seeds (with some seed going back to the turn of the millennium) and planted EVERYTHING in it out of the 2-3 pounds of tomato seeds (not packets, actual pounds) I only got ONE plant. Guess I held them for too long (it's a pity since some of that stuff was irreplaceable)

Nor is good packaging a guarantee of better storage. Richter's, as far as I can tell uses cold storage (the packets are foil lined and press sealed [as opposed to paper and flap] which usually means they are being kept cold . Even so, a LOT of their seeds in the Seed Zoo (which aren't regenerated, they tell you that) have lousy germination, if any. 30-50% seemed the norm with the common beans, with some a lot lower (the runners were 0).
 

ducks4you

Garden Master
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
7,319
Reaction score
5,177
Points
377
Location
East Central IL, Was Zone 6, Now...maybe Zone 5
Old tomato seed - properly stored - will have at least fair germination for a long time. The oldest saved tomato seed I planted this year was from 2006, and still had 80% germination. I have great reservations though about buying old seed, for tomatoes or anything else. You have no idea what conditions the seed has been exposed to. Not to say that it shouldn't be tried; but it would be wise to have a backup plan in case of failure.

Sad to say, when it comes to seed packets, "garden" stores treat their seeds no better than supermarkets. Although some mail order seed houses treat their seed better (you can often tell by their packaging) IMO commercial seed in general can be unreliable, whether new or old. The two worst germination rates I had this year for members of the nightshade family were from "new" commercial seed... and more than once, I've ordered seed through the mail which had zero germination. :mad:
True! I bought my New tomato seeds from High Mowing, so I figure the quality is pretty good.
 

heirloomgal

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
308
Reaction score
990
Points
115
Location
Ontario, Canada
There are limits there though. Two years ago, I cleared out my "file cabinet" of tomato seeds (with some seed going back to the turn of the millennium) and planted EVERYTHING in it out of the 2-3 pounds of tomato seeds (not packets, actual pounds) I only got ONE plant. Guess I held them for too long (it's a pity since some of that stuff was irreplaceable)

Nor is good packaging a guarantee of better storage. Richter's, as far as I can tell uses cold storage (the packets are foil lined and press sealed [as opposed to paper and flap] which usually means they are being kept cold . Even so, a LOT of their seeds in the Seed Zoo (which aren't regenerated, they tell you that) have lousy germination, if any. 30-50% seemed the norm with the common beans, with some a lot lower (the runners were 0).
@Pulsegleaner I've ordered quite a bit from Richter's in the last couple years. I have been quite surprised how poor the germination has been with many of those packets, even though the packets as you describe are substantial. Specialty marigolds I tried, which were really stuffed full of seed, had 0% germination. Sadly, when I've tried to contact them with a question a few times about a purchase (I bought some unique celery from them and the package said to stratify them??) no one ever called me back.
 

Zeedman

Garden Addicted
Joined
Dec 10, 2016
Messages
1,897
Reaction score
4,390
Points
237
Location
East-central Wisconsin
There are limits there though. Two years ago, I cleared out my "file cabinet" of tomato seeds (with some seed going back to the turn of the millennium) and planted EVERYTHING in it out of the 2-3 pounds of tomato seeds (not packets, actual pounds) I only got ONE plant. Guess I held them for too long (it's a pity since some of that stuff was irreplaceable)

Nor is good packaging a guarantee of better storage. Richter's, as far as I can tell uses cold storage (the packets are foil lined and press sealed [as opposed to paper and flap] which usually means they are being kept cold . Even so, a LOT of their seeds in the Seed Zoo (which aren't regenerated, they tell you that) have lousy germination, if any. 30-50% seemed the norm with the common beans, with some a lot lower (the runners were 0).
I'm trying to envision how one would plant 3 pounds of tomato seed... :thAnd frankly, I'm surprised nothing at all came up. Given my success with 14-15 year old seed, I would have expected something out of thousands (tens of thousands?) of seeds.

But yes, there are limits. One never really knows what those limits are until they have been exceeded. I test those limits constantly, and have several losses in peppers & soybeans that delineate the limits for those species. Even then, it is not simple... hot peppers seem to last longer than sweet peppers, and grain soybeans last longer than edamame. Thus far, I have yet to lose a tomato variety in storage.

Richter's Seed Zoo is a poor example, since by their own admission, they don't grow that seed. It is just collected elsewhere, and re-packaged by them. Presumably there was little to no control during plant growth, seed harvest & processing, and storage prior to them packaging the seed... so no telling what conditions the seeds were exposed to. Essentially that aspect of their business acts more like a germplasm resource, rather than a commercial seed operation. Do they even have germination rates on their seeds?
 
Last edited:

Artorius

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Oct 29, 2019
Messages
171
Reaction score
734
Points
115
Location
Holy Cross Mountains, Poland
The method of obtaining tomato seeds may also have an impact on bad germination. Large amounts of seeds are obtained by fermentation. Once upon a time, I tried this method. Lots of seeds germinated in the cups during the process. Seeds that have been awakened and then dried will no longer sprout.
 

Pulsegleaner

Garden Addicted
Joined
Apr 18, 2014
Messages
1,683
Reaction score
1,654
Points
236
Location
Lower Hudson Valley, New York
I'm trying to envision how one would plant 3 pounds of tomato seed... :thAnd frankly, I'm surprised nothing at all came up. Given my success with 14-15 year old seed, I would have expected something out of thousands (tens of thousands?) of seeds.

But yes, there are limits. One never really knows what those limits are until they have been exceeded. I test those limits constantly, and have several losses in peppers & soybeans that delineate the limits for those species. Even then, it is not simple... hot peppers seem to last longer than sweet peppers, and grain soybeans last longer than edamame. Thus far, I have yet to lose a tomato variety in storage.

Richter's Seed Zoo is a poor example, since by their own admission, they don't grow that seed. It is just collected elsewhere, and re-packaged by them. Presumably there was little to no control during plant growth, seed harvest & processing, and storage prior to them packaging the seed... so no telling what conditions the seeds were exposed to. Essentially that aspect of their business acts more like a germplasm resource, rather than a commercial seed operation. Do they even have germination rates on their seeds?
Well, if you read carefully, you'll see one DID come up (a round green cherry)

As for Ricter's, I'm not sure. Yes, they don't grow that seed so they are not responsible. But most of the packets do say the seed was regenerated by either Joe Simcox or someone else before selling ( presumably to make enough to be able to offer it) so it's a matter of how well they did it.
 

Latest posts

Top