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Your guide to Chesaeake Country's freshest produce and more!

Are Your Seeds Fresh and Lively?

Here’s how to tell

If you want to be sure your seeds will sprout, buy fresh ones this season. Fresh seeds have a higher percentage of germination and germinate faster than old seeds.
     

New Life for Old Vines?

Is it possible to move very old grapevines?  I have a friend who wants to remove his, and if so I might want them.
–Lois Noonan, by email

No.  Grape vines have very coarse roots. and it would be nearly impossible to dig enough roots for the plants to survive.

Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at frgouin@erols.com.
All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.

             Maryland law requires that all seeds of intended for planting be tested. Seed purity tests are typically limited to grass and grain seeds while all seeds are tested for percent germination.

         The test date and percent germination should be printed on the seed packet.

         Seeds marketed in 2013 were likely tested in November or December of 2012 in the Maryland Department of Agriculture seed-testing laboratory. The seed-germinating tests are conducted under ideal germinating conditions with regards to requirements for temperature, light and humidity. The seeds are germinated in chambers according to the specific needs of each species.

    Such ideal conditions are unlikely under gardening conditions. But the information printed on the packs tells you that the seeds are fresh and guides you as to how densely to plant. If the packet indicates percent germination of 85 to 95 percent, you sow the seeds at the recommended rate. However, if the packet indicates only 50 percent germination, you will need to sow the seeds closer together to obtain the desired yield.
    Catalog sees are produced for the catalog year. When shopping seeds locally, seed dating can help you make productive decisions.

Thank you for mentioning the seed testing program at the Maryland Department of Agriculture in your column. I want to assure you that the seed law does apply to flowering and perennial plant seeds. In fact, our law states that we shall "Inspect, sample, analyze, test, and examine any seed transported, sold, offered, or exposed for sale in the State for planting purposes".

--
Lois Capshaw
Chief, Turf & Seed Section
Maryland Department of Agriculture