Growing old squash seed - any tricks?

bella_trix(z6b SE PA)May 27, 2007

I also posted this on the squash forum, sorry if anyone is seeing it twice!

The seed I received from Cook's Garden seems to be very old and is not germinating well. I bought a mixed pack of "Mediterranean vegetables" just to get the Grise de Algiers Zucchini. Cooks is the last place that carries it. So far, the onion seed in the pack had zero percent germination. The squash seed looks old (some are split on the side) and are not germinating. Can anyone give any suggestions to get the seeds to germinate? Any tricks for old seed? I desperately want to grow this zucchini (and save seed from it). Any help would be highly appreciated.



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There may be some other technique, but this is what I would do. I'd take two or three sheets of paper towel, put them one on top of the other and then fold in half. Then I'd wet them with warm water and squeeze them out until they don't drip. Then I'd place several (not all) of those seeds on top of them and fold the paper towels over them. I'd place them into a plastic bag with the end left unsealed, so some air can get in; and then I'd set the whole shooting match somewhere warm, but out of direct sun. Check on those seeds once a day after two days have gone by.

Meanwhile, pick up some jiffy pots and be ready to use them. When you notice a seed sprouting remove it from the paper towel and plant it shallowly in a peat pot. Place it under lights until the cotyledons are both above the soil level. Then, plant them in the garden where you want them, without disturbing their roots. Just plant the whole jiffy pot, making sure that you have torn off the top edges and that none of that pot are sticking above the soil line (otherwise the jiffy pot itself may wick moisture away from the seedling and kill it. Be sure to get it planted as soon as possible, or you'll have to harden it off, which can be risky, if you're like me, and you occasionally forget and let something dry out.

That's what I'd do. Try not to plant all your seeds, in case there is a mishap. Squash seed lasts a whole lot longer than onion seed. So you are more likely to have success with this than with the onions.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   May 28, 2007 at 7:27AM
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bella_trix(z6b SE PA)

Thank you! Two of the seeds I planted actually came up WAY after the rest of my squash, but it was still miserable germination overall. If I try to grow more, I will use your method.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 8:38PM
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