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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
Moshou
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Default Old tomato seeds, need advice

Well, I need help and advice as well

I have some old tomato seeds. They have an interesting story. A man cultivated same variety of tomatoes 20-25 years in a row. As he loved this variety, each autumn he saved seeds from the most beautiful tomato fruits. About 10 years ago (summer 2009), he died and the little old country garden was abandoned. This spring, one of his children found some old seeds and sent them to me. Seeds look good and he told me that he found seeds in a dry place with good temperature. The problem is they might be 10-11 years old. This year, I tried three times but seeds did not germinate. I want to try again next year. If you have any advice, I'll be glad to know. If anyone wants to try, I can send some seeds


Advanced thanks for your time and attention
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Last edited by Moshou; 4 Weeks Ago at 11:20 AM.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
ContainerTed
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This year, I woke up some Dolly Parton seeds from 2008. I used Jiffy Mix as the medium. It has a light, and fluffy texture to it. It holds water well without being soggy.

I used a heat mat and set it to 78 degrees F.

I placed the seeds on top of the mix and then barely covered them with additional mix and moistened with a spray bottle lightly. I mixed Miracle Grow crystals at about 1/20th normal concentration and this was used thru out the process. I kept the mix damp, but not wet. I used CFL lighting. The bulbs were "Daylight - 6400K" rated.

The things I found to be important, above all else, were keeping that heat going and never turning the lights off before seeing the germination. Then, I had to exercise a lot of patience. My Dolly Parton seeds took more than 36 days, but happily, they finally showed up. Using that light Jiffy Mix helped that effort.

If you would like me to try your new found treasure, I can do that, but it will have to be next season. PM me to get an address. I can send you a list to choose from if you wish to make it a trade.

Hope this helps. Take care. Best of luck with this "new baby".


I woke up a bunch of older seeds this season using this process.

I now have three plants in the main garden and hope the local critters won't hurt my efforts in the long run.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
groovy70s
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Moshou, I've had really good luck germinating old seeds soaking them in potassium nitrate for a bit and then using the ziplock baggie method. I then put them in a very warm area (85-90 degrees) in my grow room until they germinate. The last two years I've tried this method with some really old seeds and had very good luck germinating them. I love the story behind your seeds and I hope you have good luck getting them to grow. If you would like for me to try to germinate some I would be honored to try it. If you're interested, send me a PM for my address and I would be glad to trade some seeds with you.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
Moshou
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Thank you all for your interest and advices.
I'll contact you shortly to put things in order
Once again, many thanks


PS. My offer for collaboration remains open. Do not hesitate to contact me
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
MrBig46
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I'd also try.
Vladimír
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
Moshou
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OK, Vladimir. glad to hear that

You are on my list.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #7
asmx91
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Hello
I do germinate my "very" old seeds like Ted. He wrote me his version and it works!
This and last season I got from Spain very old seeds - and I have plants!!! Thank you Ted.
Moshou, if you like, you can send me 3 seeds.
Anneliese
PS: the plants from your seeds grow very good!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #8
Moshou
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Many thanks Anneliese, of course I will gladly send you some seeds.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #9
shule1
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@groovy70s

I can see nitrates helping. They do help promote germination (without regard to age).

@ContainerTed

A good potting mix is sure a great idea. A bad mix can really put a damper on germination.

I've found that ideal temperatures (for seeds without regard to age) are different for some varieties than others, but most like similar conditions.

So, what is different about old tomato seeds that are harder to sprout vs. new tomato seeds? What changed, and why? Do they go dormant or something to help prolong viability?
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #10
ContainerTed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shule1 View Post
@ContainerTed

So, what is different about old tomato seeds that are harder to sprout vs. new tomato seeds? What changed, and why? Do they go dormant or something to help prolong viability?
I'm not any kind of expert on the science involved, but when we were gathering data on damage to seeds by the sorting machinery used in the U.S. Post Office, I found that I could see the germplasm inside the seeds. And this was with fresh seeds. In the microscope, I could easily see that the germplasm was not dry and hardened. On the contrary, it appeared moist and flexible. But, with some extremely old seeds (22 years old), many appeared to be dry and crisp when I purposely fractured the seed's outer shell.

So, my conclusion was that the germplasm had not only dried out, but probably had lost some of the chemistry needed to activate the seed's ability to produce a seedling. So, I felt that the addition of a small amount of very diluted NPK-type fertilizer might help the seeds by replacing some of that chemistry or at least making it easily available.

This year, as an example, I had some seedlings that were from seeds that took more than 6 weeks to germinate. BTW, did I say that patience is also a requirement? LOL !!! Many folks soak their seeds before planting them. And they use a long list of what they use to do the soaking.

This is just my theory and I have no scientific testing or data other than my germination numbers have gone up across the board. Hope there's something to help.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #11
slugworth
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I used to use hydrogen peroxide,which is an oxidizer and decomposes into water.
The whiter the seeds the better.Spaghetti colored seeds would never germinate for me.

Last edited by slugworth; 2 Weeks Ago at 11:06 AM.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #12
shule1
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ContainerTed and slugworth, Thanks for sharing that. That's very interesting!
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