Memphis Backyard Farmer

Seed Testing
January 25, 2011, 2:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

It’s winter, and I’m bored. It’s too cold and wet to get out and do much in the garden, so I’m resigned to projects I can do in preparation for spring.

One project is testing seed. I order seed, like most everyone else, but I try in earnest to save seed from any heirloom and/or open pollinated varieties of fruit I’ve grown the year before. A guide to seed saving is way beyond what I can do in one post, but testing the seed you’ve saved is easy cheesy. I like to test both seed I’ve saved from the previous year’s harvest, but also leftover seed from seed packets I’ve bought.

To see if your seed-saving efforts were successful, take a few seeds and wrap them in a paper napkin, or half a paper towel. Dampen the paper towel with a little tap water. (That was dampen not soak). Seeds need a little moisture to germinate, but too much and they’ll rot. Take the paper towel-encased seeds and tuck them into a zip lock baggie. Don’t “zip” it – leave it open to get a little air. Then take the baggie and put it someplace warm, hopefully 65 degrees or higher (I put mine on the blower unit of my¬†furnace in the attic). Wait a few days, maybe a week, and depending on the expected germination time of your seeds, you should see growth. If you don’t – wait a few more days, but that generally means you have a problem with your seeds, and you should consider purchasing new seed.

If you have enough seed and want to be a bit more scientific, you can test a large sample of seeds, then compare how many sprouted vs. the total amount. That will give you an estimate of what your failure rate is, and help you decide how much to plant come spring.


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[…] Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: high mowing seeds, spring, summer, vegetables As I mentioned in this post a few days ago, I’ve been testing seed to decide what we’ll be planting this year. […]

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