Starting and Restarting Seeds

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The last frost date here is a week from now and this is what my basil looks like. No early pesto for us this year. My first planting failed to germinate. I had saved seeds from my Red Freddy Genovese basil that I grew last year. None of what I sowed six weeks ago came up. I put some of the remaining seeds I saved in the freezer for two weeks, then planted again. The top pot are the seeds that emerged after experiencing the artificial winter treatment.

The lower pot with many more plants is the result of planting seeds from the packet I ordered a year ago. I didn’t give them any cold treatment. Why the older seeds from the packet germinated better than my saved seeds, I don’t know.

I also had disappointing results with onion seeds. I planted about a hundred leftover seeds from a packet I purchased for last season. Only 5 onions sprouted. I do have an idea why. Onion seeds have a short shelf life. Had I done the research before planting, I would have ordered fresh seeds. I had’t realized that expected shelf life off vegetable seeds  varies so much. Some will likely last six years, but others only one according to an Iowa State U publication I found online.

Also visible in the upper pot are maple seeds. They were falling when the pots were out in the 80 degree weather we had earlier in the week. But our low tonight will be near freezing, so my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are inside along with the little basil. If the long term forecast can be trusted this will be our last chance for frost until fall. Spring comes with wild temperature swings here. Waiting for the frost free date is a good idea.

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