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Nothing Wasted

January 11th, 2014

I mentioned earlier this week that I was going through my seed stash and being ruthless about weeding out old seed.  Last year, I did a few experiments with seed for the same vegetable from differing years (seeds were from the same company).  The fresh seed germinated much quicker and the seedlings were much stronger and were more resistant to stress induced issues (like too much sun, not enough water, etc).  
new seedlings
After my experiments, I decided it was worth it to start each year with seed that is as fresh as possible.  Some seeds stay fresher longer than other, brassicas and tomatoes are among those, thus I’ll keep those seeds for a few years.  Onion seeds on the other hand really shouldn’t be saved from year to year.  I will no longer be pushing the dates for viability of seed, it’s just not worth my time to risk things not germinating or seedlings not thriving.  For a downloadable seed shelf life chart head on over to this post and download the PDF.
sprouts 2
The seeds could have been thrown in the compost pile, but I decided to sprout them for my chickens instead. Of course you could sprout them for yourself if you don’t have chickens. I knew these hard working ladies would appreciate some lovely green sprouts in the middle of the winter, they’re still laying so well, I decided to give the sprouts to them instead of eating them myself. They’ll give them back to me in the form of big, beautiful eggs.
sprouts 1
Sprouting seeds is as easy as can be, and you don’t need any special supplies. A glass jar and a piece of cheesecloth will do. Simply soak seeds for a few hours or overnight, drain out water and set jar upside down, tipped slightly in a bowl to drain excess water. Rinse several times a day when you remember, draining the water each time. Rinsing is important to keep mold away! In a few days sprouts will start to appear, when they are to your liking – enjoy!
What could be easier than that. This is also a good way to watch how seeds germinate and to monitor the different germination times with different vegetables.

What do you do with your old garden seed?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.