13 year old tomato seed germination

danabelle21February 6, 2007

Hi, I'm new here & need some advice on germinating some 13 year old tomato seeds. They belonged to a dear friend of mine who just passed away recently. His family started developing this variety of tomato in 1908. I was given the seeds by His granddaughter along with an old newspaper article about how their family developed them. The seeds that I have are from 1994. Is there anything that I can do to help with germination? Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Dana

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Dana, I'd be glad to help for I've had a lot of experience germinating old seeds, my personal best being 22 yo seed, but the BIG questions are, how many seeds do you have to work with and do you know if it's an oxheart variety, or not?

Carolyn

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 3:43PM
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maryinpnw(z8 OR)

I'm sorry about the loss of your friend. What a wonderful thing that his granddaughter is sharing a part of the family legacy with you.

Under Carolyn's capable tutelage, many have experimented with starting old seeds.

I've got some I'm hoping to sprout this year. After several days of soaking in water, I just put them in seed starting medium today.

Not sure why Carolyn is asking about whether the tomato is an oxheart, so I'll come back to learn what I can learn. I can never learn enough about tomatoes. (Happy grin here.) My tomato fixation is starting up for the year. Hi Carolyn. I haven't been on any garden forums for a while. Too much stuff going on. Hope you are doing well.

Dana, I hope once you have successfully grown this tomato, you'll come back and share what you've learned. All the best in your 2007 garden.

Mary

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 4:10PM
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robertzone6

I don't claim to be an expect on starting seeds, but things have gone well for about five years.

One website had a list of veggies and how long tseeds would keep. As I recall, tomatoes were listed at 6 years.

I use dechlorinated water for my seeds; tap water that has sat outside for three days.

Probably depends on what conditions the seeds were kept at. Cold and dry and out of sunlight.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 2:46PM
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reginald_25(5)

germinating some 13 year old tomato seeds. They belonged to a dear friend of mine who just passed away recently. His family started developing this variety of tomato in 1908. I was given the seeds by His granddaughter along with an old newspaper article about how their family developed them. The seeds that I have are from 1994. Is there anything that I can do to help with germination?...

danabelle21, I obviously have not have the experience that Carolyn has in this matter. But if you try to reprise the variety, I suggest you think about an appropriate name for it (unless it already has a name, in which case apply that). I suggest that you it name such that its name is associated somehow with your friend.

maryinpnw, I think that Carolyn asked about the possible shape of the fruit because oxheart-type plants typically produce seed that that has a shorter time-line viability than is the case with most others (I read this from one of Carolyn's posts).

Reg

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 5:10PM
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maryinpnw(z8 OR)

Hi Reg. Thank you for the information on oxhearts. I don't recall ever reading that before.

Dana, since Carolyn has not posted on this thread for a few days, I thought I would mention some things that have been tried to get old seeds to grow.

Soaking seeds overnight, or a day or two in dilute Miracle Grow, Peters or whatever chem fert you've got, or dilute fish fertilizer, or maybe a fish/kelp blend, weak tea, or green tea or chamomile tea. I know I am forgetting one or two things that people have mentioned before to start old seeds. You might use the search feature on gardenweb to see if it has any of the old threads on starting old seeds. (Grin)...Or you might google to see what you can find about starting old seeds.

Mary

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 3:49PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Mary, I haven't posted since I've been waiting for the person who asked the question to answer my two questions, since what I might suggest really does depend, especially, on the number of seeds available to work with.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 7:29PM
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maryinpnw(z8 OR)

Hi Carolyn. Maybe she hasn't been able to get back to the boards. I haven't talked tomatoes in so long. I've missed it. Hope you are doing well. I've seen on the news New York has really gotten socked with snow. Hope you are missing the worst of it.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 10:19PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Hope you are doing well. I've seen on the news New York has really gotten socked with snow. Hope you are missing the worst of it.

*****

Mary, that heavy snow is in a very narrow band at the end of Lake Erie and affects very few folks. it's called Lake effect snow b'c the Great lakes are still not totally frozen.

As for where I live and for most others in NYS, we've had hardly any snow at all. Some sugar dustings from time to time and 4 inches about a wekk ago, and that's it.

Send me an e-mail at cmale@aol.com and I think you probably still have it but I can't be sure and since I can't always be sure GW mail gets through, and I'll bring you up to date on the health issues, which still persist, and yes, I'm still using a walker with the new right hip to go in on May 9th. Sigh. Actually was talking about you recently. LOL

Carolyn

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 12:42AM
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tedposey

Carolyn, please post an update on your physical conditon in the "Conversations" section. Mary is not the only one, many of us would like to hear from time to time, but I know you won't e-mail all of us The last update I have seen was last July.
I know you're still around because I see your responses to questions. I'm happy to hear you're well enough to proceed with the hip replacement. How's the spinal stenosis? Mine is slowly getting worse.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 2:48PM
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danabelle21

Hi everyone! Thanks so much to all of you for responding. I've been extremely busy lately (sick children) & haven't been able to check back untill now. OK, Carolyn, I have approximately 50 seeds. I don't know if they are an oxheart variety. Some of the characteristics that I read from the newspaper article are that the average size is about 3/4 lb, they are almost acid-free, & I was told by the granddaughter that they have 3 hearts. The name is the Kleindienst tomato. The newspaper article that I have has a picture of Stanley Kleindienst. He entered the produce business in 1930. I believe it was his father that started working on this variety in 1908. My friend who passed away is Robert Graham Kleindienst (Bob). He was born in 1933 so I suspect that it was his grandfather that started this variety. I hope this info helps, & thanks to you all.

Dana

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 1:54PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

was told by the granddaughter that they have 3 hearts

*****

Dana, I'm not sure what that means after you've said you're not sure if it's an Oxheart variety. Perhaps it means they have three large lobes.

One last question.

In a geographic sense where are you located? I'm asking only b'c it could take months to get possible germination and if you live in a cooler gardening zone there really wouldn't be time this year to even initiate this project in terms of getting seedlings to set out and fruits to ripen.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 2:42PM
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danabelle21

Hi Carolyn, I live in Alabama. I think it is zone 7b or 8a.

Dana

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 4:33PM
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lee_71

I wonder if Fusion could help.... as he lives in Al too, and has an established method of shipping seedlings... assuming he'd have success with germination.....

Lee

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 5:04PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Hi Carolyn, I live in Alabama. I think it is zone 7b or 8a.
******
Then you should have time to try some of those seeds now to get any possible plants out and get ripe fruits. But never but never use all of them.

Tomorrow I can come back and make my suggestions, but Lee has now suggested that you have Fusion do it.

I don't think that Fusion has had the same experiences I have although I did see hom post about use of oxygen chambers, etc, and I didn't go back up to see if he posted in this thread, so you might look and see if he has and then make a decision.

I was going to let YOU do this, not me, since the trying part isn't that difficult, it's the prayers that some might come up that might be difficult, LOL,and with seed just 13 years old I'm pretty sure some will germinate.

After all, if I can wake up 22yo seed and a few others between 15-20 yo it looks possible, but it all depends on how the seed was stored all those years and whether or not they are heart shaped varieties.

So, you make some decisions on this and then let me know here in this thread what you've decided to do. Anything you decide to do is fine with me.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 6:44PM
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fusion_power

I haven't posted because you seemed to have it in hand Carolyn. I am willing to help if needed.

Danabelle,

My suggestion would be to set aside a few of the seed to send to someone else. That way you double the chances of getting viable plants. Then you could start as many as you were comfortable with and the other person could try also.

The most important thing I've found is regulated temperature. Old seed germinate best if kept at a constant 80 degrees or just a bit below. I got good results by putting seed in an old chicken egg incubator. You can do just about as well with a bottom heat source. Here are the basic steps which Carolyn will elaborate on later:

1. pre-soak the seed in a nitrate solution. I prefer to use a dampened paper towel with a bit of miracle grow and wrap the seed overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Prepare seed mix with just the right amount of moisture. It is very important not to get too much water. The seed can rot if you do.

3. Plant the seed very shallow, no more than 1/8 inch deep.

4. Cover the seed tray with plastic but with one end open for a bit of air flow. This keeps the humidity high. Keep a close eye on them and re-moisten if the mix gets dry.

5. Be prepared to wait up to 6 weeks for a seedling!

Fusion

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 9:48PM
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tomstrees(z6 NJ)

I received old seeds from a friend (PV) from 1964 -
Planted them into a pot with a couple dwarves I have in the window to hold me over during the winter -
I went on vacation: came back 8 days later and 5 out of 6 popped up ~ They are in a hold-over plant room thats about 70 degrees day & night ...

Just luck ? I think so !
I've since lost 2 - but been able to pot-up the other 3 ...

~ Tom

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 9:53AM
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coolbythecoast(10b)

I am pretty new to the idea of awakening dormant seeds. Has anyone tried the following product, or something like it? Five years for tomato seeds doesn't seem like any great shakes, but for pepper seeds it seems pretty good.
Thanks,
Gary

Seedman's SeedSoak Solution
We developed this special solution for our own use in our greenhouses. It speeds up and enhances germination in many types of seeds, and is highly recommended for anyone who saves their own seeds. This solution will "awaken" old seeds that would normally be beyond successful germination. We have successfully germinated tomato and pepper seeds over 5 years old, and tobacco seed over 10 years old.

It works well on all types of seed.
It contains:
Natural Humic Acids, Algamin Kelp, Gibberellic Acid, Natural Plant Hormones and Vitamins, Smoke Residue ( CAPE ) and Potassium nitrate ( Saltpeter ).

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 10:52PM
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danabelle21

Hi Everyone!

OK, everyone sit down & try to stay calm.....I HAVE BABY TOMATO PLANTS!!! I can't believe it! I am so excited! Now I just have to keep them alive and growing. I'm a little nervous to say the least but with all the info from you all, I really feel like things will go well. Thanks for all your help. I planted 4 seeds right into the soil & soaked 4 in very diluted fertilizer. I then covered the container with plastic except for a small opening at one end. It looks like a little greenhouse. And now, almost all of the seeds have come up...this is just wonderful! If anyone has more advice on keeping them healthy, please let me know. I'm going to start some more seeds today. Also, has anyone ever tried growing tomatoes upside down? I've read a little about it but wondered if anyone here had experience with that. Anyway, I want to thank everyone again & hope to hear from you soon.

Take care,

Dana

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 11:06AM
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fusion_power

Dana,

Light. Lots of it. Seedlings thrive on bright light.

Fusion

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 2:31PM
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harleysilo(7 Roswell,GA)

Update?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 2:49PM
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deanriowa(4b)

How are your tomato plants doing?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 3:56PM
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HoosierCheroKee(IN6)

Tomatoes grown from seed stored at University of Missouri since 1964.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 5:21PM
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trudi_d

Looks great!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 5:43PM
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the_drywall_guy

What, I would like to know is how did them 4000 year old Egyptians tomato plants sprout? I wanted to find the oldest seeds I could find. Thanks to ebay. The Egyptian tom is maybe the best I ever ate. But, I thought it was this Pusta Kolox giant Hungarian the best tasting and nicest looking plant I ever seen. (I know it would make the cover on Tomato mag.) What, I want to know is who grew them tomatoes in the basket on this site's front page. Are they greenhouse tomatoes? Looks like the $9 a lb. tomatoes i heard about.
Happy taste buds,
Tracey

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 9:13PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

What, I would like to know is how did them 4000 year old Egyptians tomato plants sprout?

******

They didn't b'c they never existed. ( smile)

The variety Oos Oos Pei was listed in the SSE Yearbooks for many years, with the history of it being an ancient Egyptian variety.

That couldn't have happened b'c tomatoes only went from South America, their place of origin, back to Spain in around 1500 CE ( common era) while the Oos Oos Pei was supposed to have been around in 4000 BCE ( before the common era)

Not a chance. ( smile)

Warning; thou shalt beware of certain offerings on e-bay. I've seen many that are just plain ridiculous, yet folks buy them up not knowing any better. Sigh.

So I don't know what it is you're growing, and I'm glad you like it, but it isn't an Egyptian tomato from 4000 BCE.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 9:38PM
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the_drywall_guy

Wow, Carolyn
You have not tasted a Egyptian tom yet? Let me tell you all about it. I went back and tested which tasted better. The Egyptian or the Hungarian? It was the Egyptian that won!!! Yes. It was the Hungarian that tasted like a red Cherokee Purple Oh, yes CP is the best... They make my head spin! BUT, the Egyptian makes me f*** good... hours!!! I think there from a different world. Yes, where did them little hairs come from???... The Egyptian doesn't grow round. It grows any way it feels like.
How grew them T's in the basket?
Tracey

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 2:58AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Tracey, I forgot to answer your other question about who grew the tomatoes in the basket that are shown at the top of the page.

They were grown by Patrina who lives in Australia and are just some of the various varieties that she grows.

She posts elsewhere now and is very involved in a huge group project to create dwarf varieties with new colors and shapes and she did many of the initial crosses. Some of the results have been absolutely outstanding in that regard.

Actually we had a contest here and folks submitted pictures, b'c we didn't like what the photo was before that, and then we voted and Patrina's basket of tomatoes won handily.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 5:42AM
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cjcottage

Hi a new member here....When I first start my seeds(vegetables or whatever)....I use a water solution of either peters or mircle grow AND Soapsheild. one can get from www.gardensalive.com(All organic). Once they have sprouted go about your normal routine....but use soapsheild every time you water.....AND...water the WHOLE seedlings....leaves and all everytime....This gives the plants from the get go it needs when growing and producing....However tomatoe plants don't like their leaves getting wet when they get older...so only do this at the beginning stage of their lifecycle....when planting them in the ground cut off bottom leaves and insert the tomato stem kinda deep...this helps the plants get a good root system gowing....and organic compost in the bottom of the hole mixed around with dirt. ( I used some of the dirt around my aged chicken coop....)(never use fresh chicken manure....it will burn and kill your plants) Boy I sure got alot of tomatoes this way and huge!! Also may note tomato and pepper plants like localized heat...the location of where you plant your plants shouln't be exposed to too much strong cold breezes...I hope this helps some...its late and mind fraized~carrie :(

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 12:53AM
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cjcottage

Oh forgot to mentioned!!!! I use a heat lamp in the area of the greenhouse where I start my heat loving plants....The get some light and the Heat they need to germinate~carrie cjcottage

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 1:10AM
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tom8olvr(Z5 MA)

VERY EXCITING!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 9:43AM
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tomatoaddict

geez, sure would like to know what happened with those tomatoes.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 11:33PM
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mickyfinn6777(UK)

There are two ways to germinate really old seed -that have had a very high rate of success that I know of.

The first is- take about 7 or 8 seeds and place them just under the surface of some of your ordinary garden soil where you usually grow your tomatoes-in a flat container about three inches deep, buried to the same depth as the surrounding soil suface, and just leave them there all winter long, frost, ice, snow, rain etc, in the spring most of them will germinate naturaly around mid may, a bit late but once potted up they will soon catch up.

The second method well tried and tested- involves the plastic bag zip lock type bags, into which is placed a square of folded kitchen roll tissue- previously soaked in a mixture of cold tea (without the sugar and milk) just straight out the tea pot, and a few drops of seaweed liquid extract, wet the tissue right through and squeeze it out to a fairly damp pad, place in bag, lay your seeds (any number of seeds) 10 to 20 on the surface of the pad and zip up the bag- place in a warm place around 75 deg F and wait up to three weeks or less, sometimes only a few days, check them about every day after the fifth day thro to the three week point, and remove carefully any that germinate, with a couple of wooden tooth picks (which becomes easier with practice) and place them in a seedling mixture just under the surface and in a couple or three days -up they come as large as life.

If you do succeed -save me a few seeds to try for next season :)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 2:06AM
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lebanonfan

I was inspired by the story of the seeds germinated from Jesus' time to dig out some old seed packets I have had for a long time. Most are flower seeds from the mid 1960's, but the oldest packet is a Muskmelon (Osage) from Lancaster County Seed Company that is probably from the 30's or 40's, judging by the graphics on the 10 cent package.

Wish me luck in germinating them! :)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 11:22PM
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sqwimpy_gmail_com

I was wondering what the biggest tomatos are and what the biggest strawberries are.

Thank you.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 6:33PM
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sage_pineapple_gmail_com

That couldn't have happened b'c tomatoes only went from South America, their place of origin, back to Spain in around 1500 CE ( common era) while the Oos Oos Pei was supposed to have been around in 4000 BCE ( before the common era)

*****

Actually I think they found cocaine in one of the pharoah's tombs, so they built a reed boat and tried to see if they could sail to south america and... it worked! so don't doubt the ability of ancient peoples.

although i have to agree, it seems unlikely :-)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2011 at 10:20PM
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patrick02540

I received seeds from someone here named Fusion_Power 10 years ago. I thought I lost them, but on a recent move, I found them in my wife's box of office supplies! (She's been reprimanded accordingly.) I have the following varieties: Dove Cherry, Marianna's Peace, Kellogg's Breakfast, Brandywine, and Cherokee Purple. All were grown in 2002 and 2003. Do I have a chance with any of these?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 11:14AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Yes, you have an excellet chance of waking them up.

I don't know how many seeds you have of each variety, but I wouldn't even bother to give them any special treatment, just double sow and sow no less than 10 seeds/variety.

Or maybe just an overnight soak in water with a couple of small pinches of blue stuff( Miracle Grow or Peters, etc) or if organic a few drops of seaweed or fish emulsion, undiluted.

Those preps have lots of nitrate ion which is known to help with germination.Stir from time to time since older seeds are usually dehydrated and you want as many as possible to sink.

THen double sow if you have enough seeds.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 12:35PM
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snowdogmama(high mountain desert Zone 5)

I just had sucess with some seeds from 1992. My late fil was an avid gardener and always saved his own seeds. He moved to ariz in 89 or so and continued to grow tomatoes for a while. When I helped move him back to Utah in 99, I found some seeds he had saved in a desk drawer. I labeled them and put them in the deep freeze with my seeds.

I tried to germinate these seeds before with no luck. But this year I dumped about 45 to 60 seeds in the 3 inch starter pot and I am proud to announce that I have at least 6 seedlings now.

They started coming up on wednesday. I would like to transplant them to individual pots and grow them on. I want to make gifts of the extras to family members. They were started in a soilless grow mix.

When should I try to move them to individual pots? Do I wait for a second set of leaves or just wait and see if any others are going to germinate?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:00PM
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