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    Posted on February 1st, 2013 Pam No comments

    This week is easy.
    This week take inventory of all seeds that may be left over from previous years. After making the inventory, create a list of what seeds are needed or what is in the inventory.

    As seeds age, the percentage of germination or sprouting drops, so don’t carry too many seeds into the next year. Spinach, parsnips and onion seeds only last one year and should not be carried over to the next year. Try to plant all of these seeds every year and buy fresh the next year. Other seeds like lettuce, parsley, peppers, corn and swiss chard will last two years while peas, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and beans will last three about years.

    Keep the inventory list handy in your purse or wallet, or on your phone, then it will handy when needed. Try this… make the list and email it to yourself, then it can be used from a cell phone that has the Internet, or it can be accessed from almost anywhere. Then unnecessary purchases are not made and this will help keep the inventory low.

    If there are questions if certain seeds will sprout, test them by putting 10 seeds in a wet paper towel and place the paper towel in a ziplock bag. Make sure to label the bag with the seed information. Place the bag in a warm place, but not in the sun. Check it every few days to see that it is still damp and if any of the seeds of sprouted. If the after two to four weeks nothing has happened, the seeds may not be any good. Be patient when testing seeds some seeds could take up to four weeks.

    If after four weeks they haven’t sprouted, throw them away. If seven out of 10 seeds sprout then 70% of the seeds will germinate, so it is safe to use the seeds, just plant them a little thicker than normal. If all 10 seats sprout and then 100% of the seeds will germinate. Usually around 80 to 85% of seeds in packets will germinate. The percentage of sprouted seeds from seeds that you have saved yourself is usually higher.

    Now that I have said this, I have planted seeds that are much older than 3-5 years and sometimes I have had good luck with them. I usually plant them thicker and watch them carefully. I may also plant extra seed of the same type that was purchased this year. It isn’t a good idea to do this, because if the seed doesn’t germinate well, the entire season may be lost. It is always best to plant fresh seed. Spend time and money with seeds that are within the dates listed above.

    For example, one year I tried planting Sweet Meat seed that I had saved myself, as well as some seed that were pretty old. I thought that at least one of these types would come up. This is what happened. The Sweet Meat that I saved myself was not mature enough and DID NOT COME UP. The old seed was apparently too old and DID NOT COME UP. So this particular year, even though I had planted over 75 seeds, I didn’t have ANY Sweet Meat to eat or to sell. In my opinion, Sweet Meat is the best winter squash there is and I didn’t have any that year. So I learned my lesson, and I try to plant seed that is fresh seed and that has the best chance of growing.

    If this is the first gardening year for your family, begin making a list of things you may want to plant in your garden this year.

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