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 Post subject: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:21 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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So i have some old corn seeds, planted them and nuthin'.
Followed some online instructions about how to germinate them using paper towels- i did and after 24 hours i have mold growing on the paper towel. Can i rinse and restart, new towel, or am i basically forked now?
thanks garden masters!

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:20 pm 
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Well I had moldy petri dishes for my grad school thing and we used diluted bleach. I think though that peroxide is actually better?

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:30 pm 
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have they sprouted yet? if not, bleach should be fine. (the sproutman has a suggestion of the ratio. but it's really dilute) if they have, then they're probably toast.

actually, i would start over with brand new seeds. swish them around a little bleach solution. let them soak in clean water and then go about your sprouty ways. (maybe even bleach/rinse the paper towel a little bit. in case that was the culprit)

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:38 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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they only soaked, they haven't sprouted.
so a bleach solution won't kill them? awesome. i think i may end up trying again with new seeds anyway as i timed this experiment really stupidly- tomorrow i have to go away for 3 days, and i can only imagine what sort of spore-o-rama i'm going to return to!!

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:52 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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so, i did it, and they got moldy again and didnt sprout.
note to self- next time use seeds within 4 years of purchase. d'oh!

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:12 am 
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Its probably not the seeds that get all moldy but the sprouting soil having stuffs. I mean it could be both. Maybe peroxide before it gets going is the way to go about it?

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:45 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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sadly, they've never seen soil- seeds in a packet, and sprouted on towels. i have a few seeds left to try again, and i will do some sort of pre-soaking rinse next time.

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:15 pm 
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Chip Strong
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Unless you've kept the seeds in a cool place (like a frig) in an air-tight container, I agree that it is the seeds are too old. And even under ideal conditions, 4 years would probably be stretching the limit for corn. I just planted 6 year old turnip seed, and they're less vigorous than they were last year, and that's about the longest I've kept any seeds in production. Except for maybe lettuce - they seem to last a long, long time!

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:12 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS!!!

a few years ago i went on a seed buying spree in the US (end of season 95% off at Christmas tree shops). they have definitely not been refrigerated.
i have been hoarding the things i know i can't get here (kale, chard, sweet corn, spinach). Lo and behold, all of these, according to Dr Google, do not keep well. Live and learn, I suppose. D'oh!

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:14 am 
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Don't give up hope! The oldest seed known to have germinated was 2000 years old!

Otherwise make sure your towel isn't too wet, get some airflow going, and maybe some hydrogen peroxide. Good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Chip Strong
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torque wrote:
HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS!!!

a few years ago i went on a seed buying spree in the US (end of season 95% off at Christmas tree shops). they have definitely not been refrigerated.
i have been hoarding the things i know i can't get here (kale, chard, sweet corn, spinach). Lo and behold, all of these, according to Dr Google, do not keep well. Live and learn, I suppose. D'oh!

Home-stored seeds do best at fairly low, constant temps and with low humidity. Adding some dessicant packs to storage containers helps too.

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:23 am 
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Some seeds naturally do look like they're mouldy in some of the earlier stages when sprouted (like radish seeds) but in fact are not and perfectly fine.

If it on the other hand both looks and smells like mould then you have bad luck.

Have you any colander with holes small enough so that the seeds won't "get trough"? I sprout most of my stuff in stapled colanders and it works better (and way cheaper) than anything else since you both very easily can rinse the sprouts and they get enough air to not turn bad. The important thing in choosing a colander is that it must have perforation of some kind also in the bottom so that no water is going to stay inside.


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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:48 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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so some time has passed -- when i am doing a tricky sprout i will use cotton (like for goji berries). The other stuff, I use sprout bags (that I made). It normally works, but there is something about corn and a few other things, like gourds, they just don`t want to participate. not sure if it is seeds or what. I've been trying to grow popcorn (for the bird to eat) and no matter what I try, it just doesn`t sprout.

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:18 pm 
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Chip Strong
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Torque, I'm confused - are you sprouting for sprouts or just to get seed started before planting out? I always assumed the latter. If it is for planting out, soak seed for a day or 2 in a jar and then plant in your seed starting mix or straight into the garden. You can often tell what is viable with corn, beans, squash, peas, etc. because they will readily swell up, while the duds won't.

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:30 pm 
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the latter, absolutely!!
the corn didn't come to nothing. i threw it in the compost, and it sprouted. ;-P

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:45 am 
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Chip Strong
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torque wrote:
the latter, absolutely!!
the corn didn't come to nothing. i threw it in the compost, and it sprouted. ;-P

Some seeds need darkness, like when covered with soil or otherwise in a dark space, to germinate, while some of the tiniest flower seeds need light. It all makes sense, because the tiniest seed wouldn't have enough energy to throw shoots up out of the soil if too deep, while larger ones might dry out too quickly if exposed.

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:05 pm 
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Chip Strong
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It wouldn't let me edit - I wanted to add: I think you're trying too hard and would have better luck by keeping it simple. There's lots of microbes everywhere, and by exposing your seeds on mats or in bags, your chance of having them mold before they sprout is higher than if you planted them. I imagine it's because seeds evolved to germinate in soil and there's more good, protective microbes there than in air? Saying that, again, I do soak most large seeds before planting, but the longer I wait to plant out, the more problematic it's been.

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:09 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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hm. thanks for the input. some of these seeds are so rare (chard and corn, especially) that I feel I need to take extra care to get the highest germination rate possible. and some seeds (nigauri or bitter melon, shiso/perilla) no matter what i do i couldn't get sprouts.

also, yes, we have ridiculous, ridiculous amounts of mold here in certain seasons (very high humidity levels).

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:28 pm 
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Chip Strong
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torque wrote:
hm. thanks for the input. some of these seeds are so rare (chard and corn, especially) that I feel I need to take extra care to get the highest germination rate possible. and some seeds (nigauri or bitter melon, shiso/perilla) no matter what i do i couldn't get sprouts.

also, yes, we have ridiculous, ridiculous amounts of mold here in certain seasons (very high humidity levels).

Maybe do a test and try planting a few in a good seed-starting mix in pots after soaking, while doing the rest with your normal routine? And your main issue may be the age of your seeds - I didn't realize until recently that seed companies don't always sell the freshest seeds. One company I (used to) buy from kindly did label seed packets with harvest year and sell by dates, and I had 0% germination from (new) onion seed that was actually 4 years old!

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 2:27 pm 
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(i often don't get to plant them for 2-4 years after i buy them. sob)

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 3:01 pm 
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you can refrigerate or even freeze certain seeds to allow them to last longer. (onions can definitely be frozen.) there are lists somewhere. as long as the seeds are fully dry, the ones that can be frozen will do fine.

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 Post subject: Re: sprouting seeds get moldy, whatdoido
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:21 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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all my seeds live in the fridge.

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