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Now that I’ve been looking forward to our cooler winter weather, it doesn’t seem to come, at least not consistently. I know that in 3 months I’ll want to again have some of this heat, but for now I’d like to move on with my winter garden.
I’ve started some seeds in my Speedling® trays (available from www.groworganic.com), and some have germinated, so I’m debating whether to pot them up in individual containers or to just resow the empty cells.
Maybe I’ll do some of both – pot up the more developed seedlings, and let the scrawnier ones continue to develop in their cells.
If the resown seeds don’t germinate, I’ll toss those seed packets and buy new ones. Or maybe sow the remaining seeds thickly in a nursery bed, see if anything comes up, and transplant those later.
Such is the process even with seed packets dated 2015, which should have been fully viable. But, you never really know what conditions the seed packets have been kept under at the store, and for how long.
This is why you should always purchase packets from a store that displays them indoors, out of the sun and away from frequently-opening doors. This may seem strange, since the seeds will be ultimately be sown and grown outdoors. But you want your seed to be kept in as ideal conditions for as long as possible before you purchase them and sow them.
And, keep in mind that different kinds of seeds remain viable for different lengths of time, even under ideal conditions. Here are some examples of vegetables that I grow, from Knott’s Handbook for Vegetable Growers, Third Edition, by Oscar Lorenz and Don Maynard, page 389 (with whom I worked years ago in the Vegetable Crops Cooperative Extension office at the University of California Davis):
1 year = onion, parsley
2 years = sweet corn, leek, pepper
3 years = asparagus, bean, broccoli, carrot, celery, Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, New Zealand spinach, pea, spinach
4 years = beet, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Swiss chard, kale, squash, tomato
5 years = cucumber, radish
6 years = lettuce
These guidelines alert you to save the seed from year to year for only that limited time to assure that you’ll achieve good germination. Even then, like with my current experience, the magic doesn’t always work.
Just play more in the garden, having fun and trying something new that may surprise you with grand and unexpected success!
Still Hot Weather