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Friday, January 6, 2012

Vegetable Gardening TIp #4 for 2012: Save Money by Test Germinating Your Old Seeds!

I test germinated my tomato seeds but they are seeds I collected for 2012. I wanted to make sure they germinated because I am selling them. Success!

But you and I have a lot of seeds from last year. Most seeds can last up to 3 years if they aren't exposed to heat and dry out. Some seeds can last longer. The best way to store your seeds is in an air tight container. Good advice, I don't really follow.  In either case, you want to test your other vegetable seeds (from last year)  like radishes,  lettuces and herbs. These are typically seeds that come 100's to the pack. They are the ones you have left over.

Test the germination viability of you seeds from last year. If they germinate, there is no need to spend more money on them. You want test them to both save money and to not be standing in your garden at week 3 wondering why the 28 day radishes haven't sprouted. Here is one way to do it in pictures. That sounds wrong.

Vegetable Seed Test Germination Step One: Gary Pilarchik

While the towel is dry, divide the towel into 4 parts with a marker and label each column. Once labeled, moisten the towel. You can't write on a wet towel. Trial and error is a good thing.

Place the seeds you want to test germinate on the bottom half of the towel and then fold and press the towel over.

Vegetable Seed Test Germination Step Two: Gary Pilarchik

Fold the towel over and press the towel tightly around the seeds. This is to keep them from moving.  The next step is to fold each section of seeds onto each other. Press the final product down firmly to ensure the moist towel contacts all the seeds.

Vegetable Seed Test Germination Step Three: Gary Pilarchik
Fold the Vegetable Seeds Again: Gary Pilarchik
Vegetable Seed Test Germination Step Four: Gary Pilarchik

One towel will hold 4 seed varieties. Don't worry to much when you open them. The roots will cling to the towel and keep the sprouts in place. The final product should go into a zip-lock bag that sits somewhere in the house that is 70 degrees or warmer. You will have to wait 5-10 days to see if you have viable seed. That sounds wrong too.

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