Germinating Tomato Seeds, Update

In my previous post about germinating tomato seeds, I mentioned that I had planted quite a few seeds that were at least 10 years old.  While I expected some of these seeds to germinate (I do have some rare seeds in my collection), I wasn’t expecting a high germination rate.  At most, I was hoping 25%.

Wow, have I ever been surprised!  For some of  the varieties, the germination rate has been in the neighborhood of 75%.  Brandywine is one of them; Yellow Cherry another.  Then there are varieties in the 60% range, like Pineapple and White Bush.  Of all the varieties I planted, only Big Rainbow has had a low germination rate.  Then again, it might be that it’s been slower and more seedlings will start popping their heads above ground today or tomorrow.

I’m trying to decide if the Terracycle I sprayed on the soil on Sunday helped the germination, or at least hastened it.  Sunday hadn’t shown much action with the seeds, but Monday a whole bunch showed up.  Tuesday a whole lot more.  And even today I see some more new seedlings starting through the soil.

The next batch of seeds, I’ll remember to spray the Terracycle sooner (my fault, my plant sprayer had disappeared and I had to go get a new one…and was a bit slow about it).  But now I have a new sprayer.

There’s a Problem, Though…

I have a problem now, but it’s a good one to have.  I planted way more seeds than I had needed, because I thought the germination rate would be really low.  Yikes!  I now have way more tomato plants than I have containers, by a large margin.  Time to gift my family and friends with some seedlings, or maybe take them to a farmer’s market to sell, in another month or so (after the second transplant).

So, don’t throw out those old seeds without giving them a try, and keep in mind that they may take somewhat longer to germinate than newer seeds.  Remember, when germinating, tomato seeds like warmth and humidity. 

I’ll give another update next week on how the seedlings are faring.

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