Seed germination test
when the snow fills the air are perfect for planning next summer's
garden and ordering seeds. The first step is to go through all of
my old seeds to see which ones will last another year and which ones
need to be replaced. I've posted previously about how long
but you have to take that chart with a grain of salt --- we live in a
very humid climate and I haven't gotten around to making a good seed
storage box, so some of our seeds have less longevity than they
should. For example, some turnip seeds that I thought had a year
or two left in them completely failed to germinate in 2010, so those
bit the dust and will be replaced.
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Meanwhile, I had five
species that I just wasn't sure of. One was
parsley that I harvested this year in the garden, but am not sure I
matured well enough on the plant. Another is bean seeds saved
from 2009 (or was it 2008?). Last year's corn and peanut
seeds should still be good, but both can have low germination rates
after the first year, so I wanted to try them out. Finally, I
have extra onion seeds from last year, but they didn't germinate well
in the spring garden --- did I just plant them when the soil was too
cold, or were the seeds a dud to begin with?
placed five seeds of each questionable variety between two moistened
napkins in a plastic container for a germination test. Those of
you with conventional kitchens may choose to use paper towels, but
disposables are verboten in our household. Since all of these
prefer relatively warm temperatures for germination, I've situated the
container on the back of the electric stove where heat from the wood
stove keeps temperatures around 70 degrees during the day. Night
temperatures will fall much lower, but I'll just add a few days onto my
germination test to take that into consideration. In conventional
kitchens, finding a warm spot is often easier --- just put your
germination chamber on top of the fridge or hot water tank.
Now I just need to wait
and see what happens. See
this site for optimal germination temperature and time to germination
for many common vegetables. After two and a half
weeks have passed, I'll conclude the experiment and order any of the
seeds that didn't germinate well, or choose to just double or triple my
seeding rate for the spring.