PLANT A LITTLE, HARVEST A LOT
GROW ORGANIC PRODUCE & FLOWERS
3902 6TH STREET S MOORHEAD,
MN 56560 T: (701) 640-8985
Spring is Coming, Are Your Seeds Ready? Part 3
March 5, 2019
Let's look at how viable our stored seeds are. This is the process of testing germination rates.
You can go out and buy new seed every year and probably have a good rate of germination, but if you look on the package, that rate will never be 100%, in fact 90-95% is good. What about our stored seeds? Here is an old farmer method of testing germination that will help you determine the viability of your saved seeds.
Take several sheet of paper towel or like my Grandpa did, the Sunday news paper, and thoroughly dampen it with room temperature water. Next take ten seeds or less if you have a very limited supply, and place them on top of the wet paper. If you are testing seeds with a hard shell like peas, corn or other hard seed coat seed you will want to scarify them with a little sand paper or a fingernail file to allow the seed coat to more easily be penetrated. After you have placed the ten seed on the paper, then dampen them with a fine mist of water and roll the paper up and set on the top of your refrigerator or other warm place and leave for 10 days. besure to keep the paper moist during this time but not too wet.
After ten days have passed, carefully unroll the paper to expose the seeds. If you planted ten seeds, count the number of seeds that have germinated and multiply by ten and that will give you the germination rate for the seeds, if you planted less than ten seeds then you will have some math to do.
If your germination rate is less than 70%, you may not have the fullest rows, but I would plant as many as possible and harvest some and leave some to increase your seed supply and keep your seed bank well supplied for the future.