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how long will they last?

Posted by pansyloverandgrower Zone 8 (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 3, 11 at 19:30

Scarlet Milkweed
Nasturtiums
Pansy
Zinnia
Morning Glory
Poppy
Bachelor's Button
Cleome
Sunflower
Petunia
Impatien
Wee Willie
Marigold
Shasta Daisy
Columbine
Sage
Cilantro
Arugula
Basil
Chives

And i dont want to hear about, if you store them in the right conditions, bla bla bla. I already know, i have done much research abiut seed saving and am a little tired of people treating me like im stupid. sorry if i sound mad(im not)....
Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: how long will they last?

I am kind of afraid to post a reply here, but here it goes. How long will they last? That ABSOLUTELY depends on how they are harvested, cleaned, and stored. And I never think anyone on GW who posts a question or a reply to be "stupid" (never really liked that term). We are a bunch of gardeners at all skill and knowledge levels. If we are at the point where even gardeners can not get along anymore, then I feel there is truly no hope for the future. Please read the rest before getting upset at me for the above statements.

As you probably already know, common guidelines state to generally assume a storage life for any variety to be 3-5 years and the guides break varieties down into short-, medium-, and long-life varities. I would consider alliums to be an exception - I do not expect any decent germination rates for alliums after two years. There are other varities that do not stay viable no matter how well you harvest, clean, and store the seed. Of course there are varieties that keep longer than 5 years, but I do not quite get the point of saving seed very-long-term if one has no intention of planting and enjoying them.

The real question IMHO should be: How long can I keep seed and still have a comfortable percentage of that seed remain viable?

It is really about the germination rates, which, again, are affected by harvest, cleaning, and storage conditions. I had some old dill, coriander cilantro, and caraway seed that was dated from 1993. Last winter out of curiosity I did a germination test. The three had varying germination rates all under 10% which means some of this 17 year old seed did germinate. Is that success? It depends - if it is a rescued heirloom or if you have lost that variety and the old seed is all you have, then even getting one seed to germinate should be considered a success.

If I were concerned about a collection like what you listed, I would feel comfortable keeping them all for 5 years maximum and I would consider 50% germination maximum in the last 2 years to be the norm. For each year a variety is saved I increase the amount of seed I plant to get the same quantities of plants. If I have saved seed for something I have not grown for more than 5 years I question why I have it in my collection.

My personal guideline for anything I save is that I am comfortable saving a variety for three years. I get nervous at 4 years. If I still want that variety I better be planting them no later than the fifth year - if nothing else to rejuvenate my seed inventory. Six years or older seed I feed to the birds and squirrels.

BTW I did a cursory 10-15 minutes search on the internet and found specific answers for 6 of the varieties on your list. All were 5 years maximum recommended. :-)

These are just my opinions. If this reply offended you in any way, I apologize.

Happy Gardening!
-Tom


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RE: how long will they last?

Pansyloverandgrower, I wasn't trying to make you feel stupid in the least bit when I answered your other post on the same subject. Usually when someone ask about storing seeds they do not realize that seeds can last years longer in the fridge or freezer so I add that information in as only extra info, not as an insult.

Tom, beautiful answer!! I totally agree with 13 year old seed, one sprout, equals success!! :)


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RE: how long will they last?

  • Posted by remy 6WNY (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 5, 11 at 22:11

The only ones I see that I know are very short lived are Pansy seeds.
Columbine and Chives have 2 years.
The others at least 3 years and possibly much longer.
Remy


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