Using Old Seed?

sunwoodfarms(5)February 27, 2014

My uncle gave me a film container labeled " '99 italian tomato seeds" and wants me to try to start them... These are seeds that he collected from tomatoes we grew for years. He originally got the seeds from a co-worker who got them from family in Italy. From what I remember, they were good sized, excellent flavor and very few seeds. My grandma used to make juice from them.

Any chance I can start these? There are maybe 50 seeds and have been kept in the film canister in a bedroom dresser drawer.

What's the best way to start them? I've had bad luck in the past with dampening off, but want to try again this year.

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Soak half of the seeds in water , a cup should be enough, and add a pinch or two of blue stuff, meaning Peters or Miracle grow, or if you prefer a few drops of concentrated Fish or seaweed emulsion,.

Stir from time to time so that the seeds will sink, older seeds will be dehyrated, Soak for possibly two days,

Then sow the seeds in a good artificial mix , cover with a baggie with one end propped up for ventilation.

Water when needed and use water to which either blue stuff or fish or seaweed has been added, as suggested above .The blue stuff and the fish and seaweed have a high concentration of nitrates and it's known that nitrates are involved with germination.

It may take a month or more before you see anything, so don't give up.

The best I've done was waking up 22 yo seeds of the variety September Dawn, so I think you've got a good chance

Do not use any paper towel in a baggie or anything that uses paper b'c that's just inviting mold problems b/c of the length of time involved. and be sure to use a good artificial mix , I don't know what you've used before.

And if you do get them up and planted out and get fruits, may I please be granted first parental rights on getting some saved from you? LOL


    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 5:37PM
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Good recommendation. Carolyn. I will only add that your potted seeds (planted in media) are in a room where the temps are in the mid- 80's*F it will speedup the process.

Your dresser drawer may not have been a bad place to store seed but cool and dry are ideal conditions for storage. I have some tomato seeds over 10 years old that have germinated fairly well; I just seed a little thicker to account for deminishing germination rate. Keep a record of approx. % germination if you can so you know where you stand in the future.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:37AM
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Good advise from Carolyn & Bmoser. I might add one more suggestion for what it's worth. Don't use peat pots. That might help prevent damping off that you've experienced in the past.
John A

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:11AM
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Ok, I will go get some supplies this weekend and give it a shot with Carolyn's directions. And yes, Carolyn, if it works, I will save some seed for you! :)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 11:40AM
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Update! I soaked 16 seeds for 24 hours and then planted. They started coming up 7-8 days later. 15 of them. I've thinned out a few, but looks like I'll have some good plants for this summer.

I also winter-sowed some.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 5:07PM
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mmm, zone 5 is a waste of time for winter sowing tomatoes IMHO and ask me how do I know LOL

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 10:42PM
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I've heard mixed results, but I'm giving it a shot. I have peppers and flowers out there too.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 1:24PM
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I'll be interested to see if the winter sowing works out for you. I had several volunteers last spring from the previous year's garden. Until then, I didn't realize it was possible to winter sow tomatoes.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 3:23PM
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