I really need to get better organized with my garden seed storage - not the actual storing of the seeds, but seed expiration dates. I know some of my seeds are too old. I find it hard to just throw them out, though. I also have seeds that I grew once or twice, and then they never seem to make the cut again when it comes to plotting out my growing space.
Time to sit down and clear things out. Sowing seeds that no longer germinate just wastes time, and my growing season is short enough as it is. Hanging on to seeds I'll probably never plant is silly too. Time to whittle my seed storage box down to what I know I like, will grow here, and then keep up with it.
What brought on this rant is the sorry state of this year's corn patch. Wanting to spread the harvest out over many weeks, I have packets of seeds with varying maturity dates - plant once and harvest in succession. But this also means only planting a few of each type each year, so some of those packets are getting up in years. Some, this year, didn't germinate at all; others were down to less than 30%. Luckily, I track what is where (or should be, anyway), so I do know which packets to toss out for the birds.
I think I was able to salvage my corn harvest for this year, though. I've been trying to move more and more to saving my own seeds, so have been giving various non-hybrid varieties a trial or two in my garden. Hometown Seeds has a prepared package of emergency "survival seeds" - a packet designed to store in your freezer, with enough seeds for 3-4 seasons worth, or enough to get an entire block of neighbors growing their own fresh food (a good idea, in my mind - if things really did deteriorate to a genuine emergency state, I don't think I'd want to have the only food source in sight). I've seen other survival seed packages listed online, but I live in a rather rigorous growing environment. Just because something grows well in the Great Plains or Florida doesn't mean I'll get a crop from it. But Hometown Seeds is in Utah - the same Great Basin, high-desert, environment as my home. If things do well for them, they should be good here too.
So, one of my corn rows was their Golden Bantam 8 variety. Those seeds are great! Every one of them popped right up (however, growing well is only half the trial - they have to pass the taste test too). And since I'm used to the lower germination rates of other seed sources, I'd planted too many of them. Corn, being a grass-type plant, can take transplanting though, so that's what I did. I dug out every other GB8 plant and moved it over to fill in the gaps in three other rows.
Not quite enough, though. I still had two almost empty rows. But while grocery shopping the other evening, I checked out the little seed stand there. I found a packet of Trinity Hybrid - at 64 days, the shortest days-to-harvest I could find. I got them in the ground night before last (with lots of protection from hungry birds until they get up and growing). I'm hoping, with the hot days now, that they'll be up in no time . Our first frosts can come anytime after mid-September, but will sometimes hold off until early October. So maybe, just maybe, they'll have just enough time to set a crop.