Problems with saved seed

dragon9206March 8, 2013

OK, so last year was my first REAL attempt at saving seeds from my garden. I have been growing all heirloom/ open pollinated for several years now but this was the first time I have really tried saving seed. This first attempt was, well...a total flop. I can't figure out what I did wrong. All the peppers and tomatoes were ripe, I let the tomato guts ferment like I was told to; I let everything dry completely before storing in envelopes in a glass jar out of the sunlight. I am getting maybe 1 plant for every 8 or 10 seeds sown. The only thing I can think of is that my AC went out when it was over 100, so my house was 80-90 degrees for part of a week before we could get the new unit installed, could that have effected the seed viability that much?
Any ideas on what I probably did wrong? How should I go about saving my seed this year?
I would very much appreciate some veteran seed saving advice!

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Honestly it is just speculation but heat and humidity are the most common seed destroyers - one reason why many of us elect to store them in a fridge or in the basement or some place in the house where cool temps are assured. So it is possible your week of heat and humidity could have been a contributing factor.

And glass jars? No.

But also keep in mind that some of them may still germinate and that 75% of the time germination problems aren't the fault of the seed but the germination methods used. Try the baggie method detailed on the Growing from Seed forum FAQs with some of your seeds and see if that helps.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 3:24PM
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dragon9206

Thanks for the input. I used the same germination methods I have used for the past several years with complete success, which is why I was surprised when I had such poor germination this time.
I work in a greenhouse, so I have access to a heated propagation bench, which is where I start my peppers and tomatoes.

No glass jars? Many if the resources I have read on saving seeds say to make sure the seeds are completely dry, and then to store the seeds in glass jars (preferably in the refrigerator). All my seeds are in little paper envelopes. My refrigerator is not very large, so I don't really have room for them in there. How do you store your seeds?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 6:29PM
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dragon9206

Thanks for the input. I used the same germination methods I have used for the past several years with complete success, which is why I was surprised when I had such poor germination this time.
I work in a greenhouse, so I have access to a heated propagation bench, which is where I start my peppers and tomatoes.

No glass jars? Many if the resources I have read on saving seeds say to make sure the seeds are completely dry, and then to store the seeds in glass jars (preferably in the refrigerator). All my seeds are in little paper envelopes. My refrigerator is not very large, so I don't really have room for them in there. How do you store your seeds?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 12:41AM
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remy_gw

Hi,
How long did you let them sit out to dry before you put them in the jar?
Remy

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 9:15PM
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dragon9206

Several days to a week or more. The time varied between varieties. They seemed quite dry when stored them, and I have seen no visible signs of mold. Is there a recommended time for drying? Also, would I be correct to assume it would be a bad idea to use a dehydrator to dry seeds? I considered it, but the model I have only has 1 setting, and I thought it would be to hot.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:26AM
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remy_gw

Depending on the humidity at the time of drying they can take a while to dry completely. Even when they look dry, they might not be. At that point, no you will not see mold in storage just diminished viability.
Do not use the dehydrator.
Let them sit out at least a week before putting in an envelope.
There's no need for the jar unless going in the fridge. In the fridge, it should be air tight so no moisture gets in. But there's no need for the fridge.
Tomato seeds stored in a cool dark and dry spot in the home will last quite a few years.. A few days of hot temps should not have so severely harmed unless there was trace moisture before going in the jar.
Remy

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 7:13AM
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susanzone5(z5NY)

Maybe the flowers weren't all pollinated, which would make the seeds sterile. I think there's a test for that during the curing process, like floaters or something.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 1:16PM
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susanzone5(z5NY)

Maybe the flowers weren't all pollinated, which would make the seeds sterile. I think there's a test for that during the curing process, like floaters or something.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 1:17PM
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