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Old March 18, 2020   #46
eyolf
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Further report: I now have 3 more Heshpoles from the nitrate soak that are shedding their seed coats, but the bleached one couldn't get its hat off and looks dead.

One Faribo Gold from 2/27 came out to play; 19 days at 80 degrees. None (yet from the nitrate soak).

I threw away 50 dead seeds of Djena Lee that are about 18 years of age. Most were spitting out squishy innards. No bleach
Nothing on the Orange Russian either.

The Lycoprea is germinating at about 10%...bleached, hydro peroxide then rinse with molasses and water, and nitrate soak...all the same.

Early conclusion? Bleach kills mold and fungus, may have some effect on degrading seed coat, and speeds up emergence...sometimes. But performance is "iffy" and certainly cant bring back seeds that are over the edge.
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Old March 26, 2020   #47
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More reports. A mouse loose in my basement snacked on a few tomatoes, so I had to replant. It was Kotlas, old seed, low germination (about 5%)

So I soaked some overnight in nitrate, soaked some in carefully measured 2.7% bleach for 30 minutes, and soaked some in 1% Hydrogen Peroxide. The peroxide soak was up in 4 days. No sign of the others ( took 9-10 days with nitrate the first time around).

Here they are. 9 seeds of 50, vs 3 of 50 first time around.

Nothing (yet) from the nitrate or bleach.

I have some 2005 Kimberly seeds in containers as well. This is as much fun as science class!

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Old March 28, 2020   #48
eyolf
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Last(?)entry.

Seeing germination from bleach and nitrate soak. 2008 Kotlas seed.
H2O2 (1%) soak: 13/50; 4 days
Nitrate soak. 8/50; 8 days
2.7% Hypochlorite. 12/50 5 days

Conclusion: make your own.

The H202 soak seemed to deliver as many as it was going to by day 5. Bleach delivered NO stragglers. I assume the nitrate might still deliver one or two if I wanted to keep watching.
Similar treatments to seeds as old as 18 years have failed to yield a single surviving seedling. Seeds 10 years and younger germinated at acceptible rates without special treatment.

A tiny-seeded variety (a container cherry) was dead at ten years, but Lycoprea (a rugose-leaved dwarf delivering golf-ball sized red tomatoes) germinated at 50% from 2009 seed. My own selection of a L. Pink Bulgarian cross (Thank you, Fusion) did about 5% from 2008 seed, 30% from 2012.

A Martin Longseth variety of paste did 50% from 2008 seed, but Italian Black from Bill Minkey (2008, again) did 3/50

I don't mind throwing dead seed away. But I'm sad to throw away living seedlings. But I don't have the energy to care for 500 tomatoes like I did 20 years ago.

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Old March 29, 2020   #49
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Quote:
A Martin Longseth variety of paste did 50% from 2008 seed, but Italian Black from Bill Minkey (2008, again) did 3/50
These are the kind of results that drive me crazy! Since the same age seeds have been in your possession, the storage conditions must have been similar, if not identical. So one can only speculate whether the different rate is from some condition of seed fermentation/cleaning, stage of tomato ripeness at seed saving, some factor at the time of pollination, or ????? Some varieties are said to be harder to germinate. I can't say I have experienced this, since my failures tend to be random and I usually don't start enough newer seeds (4-6) per variety to be able to say that with certainty. Often same variety seeds from another source will sprout just fine another year.
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Old April 1, 2020   #50
eyolf
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More.
2 Djena Lee's soaked in bleach on 3/7 germinated last night and one more this morning. That's really bad, pecentage-wise, but interesting in that it took about 3 weeks...and the non-bleached DL seeds were a mass of fungus and discarded a week ago.

I still don't know a lot of things. Old seeds can take a long time. Sometimes bleach works, sometimes H2O2, sometimes Nitrate, and sometimes nothing.

I have about 2X as many plants as I expected to grow. But I can resurrect more space...if Mama doesn't worry about having enough tomatoes to feed the whole township...

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Old April 2, 2020   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roper2008 View Post
I wonder if this works with peppers. The bleach treatment.
I do something similar with peppers (and toms) - I use 3% hydrogen peroxide (diluted) in the soak and germinating bag. It keeps down the fungus lurking on the seeds. H2O2 is similar to weak chlorine bleach. The seeds don't mind it** and I even use it on seedlings with no ill effect.

BTW, as far as seeds are concerned, I see no appreciable differences between toms and peppers.


** Up to a point. A few years ago I wondered whether there are limits in how much to use. I did a test using full-strength 3% H2O2 in the germinating bag. Nothing germinated and lived and the seeds gradually turned white, as if they'd been bleached. Well, I guess they had. So only a few drops in the soak and in the germ bag now.
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Old April 2, 2020   #52
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BTW, one thing I've noticed (with peppers). Some varieties/species respond differently than others to heat in the germinating bag, and presumably in soil.

IIRC (sketchy, that), C.annuum likes closer to room temp. C.chinense, especially the persnickety super-hots, seem to like a period of relatively high temp (up to 85F) then cooler (mid-70s).

Which ones isn't important - the point is, splitting your batches and trying some at higher temp and some cooler may help identify a preference.
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Old April 2, 2020   #53
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A (bell) pepper seed germination experiment by Finland Farm –
no pre soak vs water soak vs chamomile tea soak
for 3 hours - results after 3 days:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP_yUa6LUrY
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