Sunday, November 2, 2008

Seed starting survey ...

Mmmhuuuwaaaaaa!

This is my seed skeleton!  No, seriously, this is the sizable stack of seed sachets, some opened, some closed, but all ... well ... old.

So, thus my subsequent question...how long do seeds keep?  I've done trial and error before, and since I am inherently seed-challenged, I'd rather improve my odds by using only those MOST likely to actually sprout.  

** Share your expertise with me, my blogging friends -- should I toss or keep my seeds?

** Is there a difference in the staying power of wildflower, vegetable or flower seeds?


Isn't this cute?  I give inspirational credit to Frances of Faire Garden, Annie of The Transplantable Rose  and Carol of May Dreams Gardens for all their little garden fairy references.

So, I took my 5-year old by the hand on Saturday and we went into the woods to collect little rocks to build a fairy house in our garden.  This is our little house, complete with rock door.  We'll keep adding to it as we're inspired.  Guess we should name it, too...
And, here, she is -- speaking of the Fairy House-builder!  Going haunting as a puppy with her Daddy, who was a mailman with torn pants!  Their costumes were so easy to make and I loved that she didn't want to be anyone or thing that was commercial or required a crown!

I leave you with one final Fall image -- this beautiful, lush mum that I bought for decoration for our neighborhood Halloween Potluck for 45 at our house Friday night.

16 comments:

kate smudges said...

I have the same problem with seeds ... many of them have past their 'best before' date. But I still go ahead and plant them (just planting them more closely together). I've had good results doing this.

Your daughter looks great in her puppy costume. She's grown since I last saw a photo of her!!

The fairy house you made with your daughter is so cute. You will need to name it!! I'm looking forward to seeing its progress.

Have a good week!!

Diana said...

Kate - so nice to have you visit again. I've missed your blog for while and am glad you're back! I think your suggestion on the seeds is a good one -- I think I'll just call that hedging my bets! My puppy has grown, hasn't she? She lost 4 teeth in the last month -- it just makes her look so much older, and sometimes she thinks she's older, too!

Ed said...

When I have questionable seeds, I usually put four of them in a moist paper towel in a warm window. I keep checking for a week or so and I can get a percentage of germination. 75 or 100% is worth it. If I really want the plants, I'll try it at 50%, but I've never bothered at less than half... Ed
casarana.blogspot.com

Shibaguyz said...

We have heard of seeds being stored for years. In the case of some heirloom vegetables, the back story tells of seeds handed down through a couple of generations before they were used again. The oldest seeds we've used personally were three years old.

Our advice would be to not go by what the seed companies tell you as their best interest is in selling you new seeds. Try starting a few of them indoors to see if they sprout. Then you can always transplant the seedlings with the in-ground seeds.

dinzie said...

3 - 5 years depending on how well you've stored them ...Plant extra if older than 3 years ...

D

Frances said...

Hi Diana, your puppy is so cute and the mailman idea inspired! Well done. You fairy house is well built, way to use long lasting materials! Thanks so much for the link love too. About the seeds, offspring Semi did this with her old ones, mixed them all up in a bowl and cast them all in a freshly prepared bed. Let the best seeds win! It was a rousing success too.

Frances
http://fairegarden.wordpress.com/

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I see the beginnings of a real Fairy garden with its Hobbit-like abode. It will be fun to watch its construction.

Your puppy is cute. I bet she is leader of the pack.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Hi Diana, I don't have any else to add to the seed info. I think all of the suggestions are good. Your sweet puppy and her mailman were darling ideas for Halloween. Bear went as a detective with trenchcoat and fedora.~~Dee

Diana said...

Ed - that's a great idea ... and even I can do that math!!! Then you really see what's going on. I remember doing that in school as a little kid with bean sprouts!

Shibaguyz - Thanks for another good idea. You're so right about the Heirloom seeds ... and I know they want to sell me new seeds, that's why I asked here - I know the answer I get at the store!

Dinzie - I think most of them are 1-2 years old, so there's hope for me yet!

Frances - yes, my puppy was cute, wasn't she? Not sure I can top that next year as it didn't require any real sewing! I think I will just mix and throw the flower seeds in a prepared area. The fairy house was pretty easy -- now we just have to think of little "gems" to add around it.

Lisa - oh- my pup is so the leader of the pack! You are so right about that.

Diana said...

Dee -- oooh - I'll bet the trench coat and fedora were adorable -- just something about those grown-up costumes on kids.

Cindy, MCOK said...

Diana, the seed stash is a common problem amongst gardeners. Not only do I have packets of seeds from the various seed companies lying around, I'm a compulsive seed saver. I hate throwing seed heads into the trash ... when I think of all those potential plants that won't get a chance even to germinate ... oh, the botanity!

It's obvious who's Top Dog at your house! She's delightful, and what a cute idea to have her dad go as the mailman.

Layanee said...

Seed viability is variable. I know that parsnip seeds are best fresh! Storage is key to seed viability for many genus.

I love the puppy and the mailman and how great that Daddy took her out. Your fairy house is divine and is surely occupied by now.

Love the mum on the step.

getgrounded said...

Diana, those mums are gorgeous! When I see them like that, it makes me want to have some for myself. And now I'm also thinking I need a garden fairy house - silly me, I didn't realize that of course they need a place to sleep and rest. I adore stacking rocks and yours are awesome.

Gail said...

Diana, I have seeds that are very old and they still are viable....if a weed seed can live for decades why can't our flower and vegie seeds? To see if this was true...I planted a patch of decade old arugula seeds last spring and they sprouted. Maybe it depends upon the seed and whether or not it can be stored dry.

gail

Btw, Your sweet puppy is adorable! So cute!

Bonnie said...

So cute- but where's the picture of the mailman?

Seeds- 2-4 years. But I always just give them a try. I just had a big failure with spinach seeds. Oh well.

Diana said...

Cindy - thanks! She is top dog! I have lots of packets of seeds, and I think I'm just going to try them and see...I'll try the paper towels and/or little pots.

Layanee - well, my seeds may be doomed, then, because they are all in the hot garage here - which probably fried and dried them to a crisp! It's Dad's job to take her on Halloween every year. Last year she was Daphne and he was Shaggy It's their special thing. And I come up with the ideas to force Daddy into some costume!

Robin - you have lots of wonderful places to tuck a Fairy House of your own! Thanks for the beautiful garden tour and my passalong gifts today. Look for them on my blog tomorrow!

Gail - YEAH - I hadn't thought about those everlasting WEED seeds! So my pretty seeds is decorative packets should live as long as those obnoxious weeds!

Bonnie - The mailman prefers less info and photos on the blog, so I just omitted him! I thought about putting him on there and blacking out his head but figured he really wouldn't like that! Sorry about your spinach seeds. I clearly got your portion of that deal because I can't kill mine! It's the spinach from h.e.**!!!