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seeds


valB

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Hello all you experts out there  !!!!!  I have found a packet of  carrot seeds bought in UK two years ago and passed the sale by date. Would I be wasting my time planting and sitting waiting for them to grow ? Also, the pack contains lettuce, spring onion, and radish seeds as well and as it was cheap I don't mind too much if I have to bin them.
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Val, I grow veggies in three gardens on an industrial scale - put them in, see what happens, I use seeds much older than those and get great levels of germination, if you're really unsure head for your local brico shed, buy a 99c bucket and put them in the bucket - with compost of course - then you wont use up garden space..
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As Tony rightly states most seeds have about three or more years life perhaps more.  Save for parsnip which you should always use fresh each year and my tip and this is from Sarah Raven is to grow them initially as with carrots and beetroot in plastic guttering and then just slip them into the trench in the garden.

This year in the Vendee have leased a huge plot and I thought it would not be possible to fill it.  However looking at the stuff already in and under cover my eyes are bigger than my belly and I will run out of space.  Hence envy and Tony's three plots.

I have forced true Jersey Royal seed pots under cover and perhaps within a month we will have the first picking.

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Thank you all so much for your replies and great ideas and I will certainly have a go in buckets and anything else I can find hanging around...why did I not think of that  ?   Dragonrouge, if you are growing Jersey spuds please tell me where you live and I will be round for a meal as I just love them. Many years ago I lived in Portsmouth and I used to go to where they unloaded them and they would always "drop" a bag. It would split open and we were ready with our bags and could fill them very quickly.  I planted a lot of veggies last year but lost a lot due to the wet weather but I will persevere.
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seeds can last for a lot longer - they succeeded in germinating wheat (I think it was) from several thousand years ago!

I'm still using my Dad's seed-box up - he died in 2004. So far no failures, even parsnips. Just keep the seeds dry and that's it! I would've said keep at a reasonable temperature too, but I leave my seed-box out in the workshop where plants in pots freeze, so as long as they're dry I don't think it matters.
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If you have a lot of seeds ... try germinating a few in a propagator (or seeds tray covered in clingfilm to keep the warm in).  Keep in the house and see if they germinate and grow into tiny seedlings.  If they do, then you can safely sow them in prepared earth with no risk of wasting the space.

Also depends where the seeds have been kept.  If in a cold and dry place, then you'll have a lot more chance of success than if they were found on a dusty windowsill.  I keep all of mine in a tin box in the fridge.

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More good suggestions...thanks. While we were in a Brico shop yesterday I noticed plants for sale, tomato, peppers and many others but surely it is a bit early to put plants ? I know last year I did not plant toms until a lot later.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Try putting them on damp kitchen paper, then in a plastic container, watch carefully and remove seeds as soon as they start sprouting.  I tried that with some old seed last year and it worked, it also works with Parsnips. I am no expert, but picked the tip up from a very knowledgable gardener on the Kitchen Garden web site.

Jeanne

 

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I have put some parsnip seeds onto damp kitchen roll and put into a plastic container. Do I cover the container ? also do I keep the kitchen roll dampened down or not.  All new tips for me so i want to get it right.
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I did mine far too early and had to plant them out . They've probably died so I'm doing it again. I had an incredible 100% germination on the parsnips.

I used one of those plastic carrot boxes from the supermarket. Laid a double thickness of damp paper towel on the bottom. Placed the seeds individually ( this can be a bit fiddley ,but saves more work later) then cover the box with more damp paper towel, the box not the seeds. Put them in a black plastic bag with gentle bottom heat. Make sure to keep the towel damp.They'll sprout in a few days. I did 300 seeds the first time --I don't like parsnips that much!

I'll do about 50 this  time.

Bon courage!

Water Rat

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hello water rat

I am now going to put more damp kitchen roll over them and will folow all your advice. I just love roast parsnip and we have put some straight into the gound but I have been told they are quite slow to surface. The carrots we planted have done nothing so far so I will try the same thing with them as well. Thanks for replying.

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Val I always keep the kitchen paper damp and keeping the lid on the plastic container helps to keep it moist until the seeds germinate, they don't take too long, check them regularly and as soon as you see they have sprouted, put them in a loo roll which has compost in, then when the root starts showing through the bottom, I use a dipper to get a nice deep hole in the soil, and put the whole lot loo roll and all, this gives you quite a nice long straight parsnip.  I do hope that is not too much information, if you already know all this I am sorry.

Jeanne   

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Every year our experience of growing parsnips is different. 2006 and they looked like prize specimens, it must have been the perfect weather for them. 2007 saw just 2 make it through the atrocious summer, but mon dieu! Each was the size and shape of a football, I kid you not! We were going to ditch them 'cos we thought they would be woody, but I cooked a bit of one as an experiment and they were tender and delicious. I just sliced some off every time we wanted a bit .  I suppose in the end they were about the same amount as a normal crop. Wonder what we'll get this year?
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I know what you mean about the vagaries of parsnips, but the folks on the Kitchen Garden site know what they are talking about, so I gave it a shot and it worked.  My soil (if you can call it that) is horrible pure clay, so I have to use a dipper as if planting a bulb, then fill it with compost and put in the germinated loo roll, this works like a dream.  So here's hoping we all get beautiful parsnips, swedes and cerleriac, all of which I have had trial and error with.  Now I need to learn how to grow the perfect cauliflower.

Jeanne

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I used to have clay - how I miss it now!

The 1st year I tried to grow caulis they were miniature vegetables - before they became fashionable!

Dad bought me 6 sacks of concentrated manure for xmas, and things were never the same after. 6" of well composted horse manure each year after that and I was laughing.

Then we moved.

Here in France we have acid soil - drains fast and very stony. The caulis love it though - and the other brassicas.

I was taught that brassicas like alkaline soil, but here the neighbours always ask me "what on earth could you grow on an alkaline soil?"

Answer everywhere seems to be the same - muck, and lots of it.

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I will use all the advice given here and as I am a total novice at growing veggies and OH said he has to much to do in the house to help but will do all the hard graft..digging etc.  I have already runner beans and sweetcorn growing in toilet rolls and doing very well. Thee parsnip seeds have been on damp kitchen roll in a container for three days but nothing happening yet.
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