Monday, 8 March 2010

Sow by Dates

So how set in stone are these sow by dates on packets of seeds? They always seem to contain far more seeds than I actually need, and I do so hate waste - but with only a small patch like mine I'm hardy going to be growing 300+ parsnips, am I.

Anyway, I have several packets of different varieties of winter squash left over from various failed attempts to grow these in previous years, so I thought I might as well give them a go.

So, now that I have glass in my greenhouse I've been planting:

Pumpkin (no idea how old these seeds are)
Trombone squash, (last year's seed)
ordinary courgette (last year's seed)
Italian round courgette (new seed)
Another sort of squash but I can't remember what it's called. (last year's seed)
Some very old spaghetti squash seeds (don't hold out much hope for these)
And melon (new seed)

I've also started off some cauliflowers and brussel sprouts (Why on earth did I plant the devil's vegetable? Everyone in the family hates them. Oh well.)

And finally - runner beans. Oh, but I've had a right muddle with these. You see I bought a load of loose seeds, in a brown paper bag. When I got home I found that mice had been at one of my old packets of runner bean seeds from last year and they had spilled all over the place. So I picked them up and put them in another brown paper bag.

Yes, you've guessed it - when I went to plant the runner beans I had no idea which were last year's seeds and which were this year's seeds. Great! Well I suppose if nothing grows then I'll know I planted the wrong ones!

Anyway I'll let you know what comes up.


  1. Hi

    Awww how could you say such things about wonderful brussel sprouts!! Cut them up, stir fry - yum!!


    Anyway - I think seeds are ok past their sell by dates. I only know this from planting cottage flower seeds mind rather than veg - but they took. I think it's more bulbs and such like (onions, garlic) where plant by dates may be relevant, I think.

    Oh I can't wait to see pics of your garden and green house now! Well done you! And good luck with your produce!!

    Take care

  2. I find it's some and some. I think someone once told me you should always use fresh carrot seed, but I've never had a problem with other things. Best of luck.

  3. Well the carrot seed I've got is new :-)

    I've got a little heater in there now to keep them toasty as it's been a bit frosty the last couple of nights.

  4. Most seeds are still usable after the date on the packet but the rate of germination may get worse. You may find that only half the seeds sprout. I find that carrots are a right pain to germinate anyway.

    Not sure how warm it is in the greenhouse but courgettes need a fairly high and constant temperature to germinate. I would keep some on the window sill inside as insurance...

  5. Cheers Greenbutterfingers - it's getting quite cold at night with the frosts we've been getting so I think I'll take your advice here :-)