Old seeds still good?

This is my 7th grow. Previous efforts have maintained about an 85% seed to harvest success rate. I crack seeds in paper towels with PH’d distilled H20, when a tap root appears it is placed in a jiffy cup with seed starter soil, watered with a spray bottle to keep moist using a moisture meter. Placed in a Mondi propagator under a combo of lights (LED, growlights and fluorescentthat produces 600 to 1000 lumens) After they have shown a set of figured leaves they are set outdoors for natural sun a little more time each day till ready for full time outdoors. This year I’ve use 41 seeds to so far produce 4 plants! About half even cracked, then never poked up above soil or did and died soon after. I already figured infection and have sterilized and started over with new soil and cups only for the same thing t happen until all 41 seeds were used up. I had heard seeds will last if kept air tight in the refrigerator (egg section) for several years?? NOT FOR ME! I’m awaiting new seed shipments…I’m hoping it’s just stale seeds… anybody have other thoughts?


Hi @Gdub !

I have ADD, so I’m going in for another read (4th time) because maybe I have missed it, but what is it you have been growing?

There were several types of seeds used. Of the 41 seeds soaked, four are now growing. Three of ten Gorilla Bomb and one of five OG Kush. New seeds will arrive next week so I can fill out my grow. It seems that one should NOT store seeds for the coming year. Guarantees only last 60 days so I’ll not order more than I need each year again.

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@Gdub if you want old seeds to sprout the trick is to score them, sanitize them, replenish the sucrose and oxygenate, then you pop them.

My method is to line a matchbox with fine sand paper and then shake the seeds around in it a bit. After that I sanitize them in a 50/50 mix of room temperature milk and distilled water. After that I put them in a tube with a mixture of distilled water and 1 tsp per gallon liquid kelp and hibrix molasses that’s been aerated for 24 hours. I then then soak the seeds for roughly 12 hours to over night. After that I take them out of the soak and put them in sterile coco pellets charged with the same mix I did the seed soak with with some added cal-mag phd to 6.0. Then I dome them and put them on a heated propogation pad set to between 75f and 80f under a low light. It works pretty good.


I had read that seeds could be kept for several years if in a dark dry cool place. I have kept seeds this way for years and never had trouble germinating and maintaining an 85% success rate, seed to harvest for these 7 years I’ve been growing. ALL the seed companies make it much more expensive to buy (if they even do it) just a few. (I’m in CA and can only legally grow 5) So I have always had leftovers. This year this built up to 41 seeds. Started 3/21 as always, tween sheets of paper towels, distilled water (just enough to maintain dampness, checked thrice daily) placed on a propagation heat matt. I start 6 to 8 at a time based on past success rate. So far this year ALL 41 SEEDS ARE GONE and I have four seedlings to prove for it after 6 weeks of germination attempts. When I complained to the seed company they told me they only guarantee for 60 days. So what does that tell you?? Don’t buy more seeds than you can use THAT season! Boycott any seed company that tries to leverage you into buying more. Take pics to prove the veracity of your statements and the quality of your care FOR EVERY ATTEMPT! Then act quickly if you expect replacements. No I don’t surgically score, or chemically treat my seeds, I shouldn’t have to. I have to wonder about this industry. This years purchase, from two separate company’s, one in Holland and one in Canada came from the exact same address right here locally!! Some kind of seed mafia? What’s up with that?

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I feel your pain but I also beg to differ. I sprouted, this season, my Acapulco Gold seeds, from 10 years ago. I also gave a few away. The “SunShine” (she got named by her new owner) in California sprouted in 2 days and is growing. Mine is almost ready to flower, One up in Washington with my breeder partner, and ONE last seed of an era gone by that I may save and possibly encase in resin for the many many years of memories.
Even Eric Clapton wrote of it…“I’ll stay with you till my seeds are dry”…
Good seeds are good seeds. Properly stored seeds area treasure…

Buy…the main reason I no longer buy large amounts of seeds is becasue of the guarantees…10% has to be bad…and you only get to claim the bad seeds so if you do not grow them for a while, the guarantee on the balance is lost and if you are not careful, you get measly points that add up to maybe 10% of the cost of the seed.

The bad part, you pay thrice the cost to order just a few measly seeds…hard to justify the cost unless you are buying at least a dozen…

But then Mike, how did YOU store these seeds? I will be having to store seeds again this year. Grower’s Choice Seeds contacted me wanting to know what the free seeds were in that package. I’m hoping that means they are considering replacing them. However, I, in need of getting the season started, now a month late, I already purchased replacements while the conversation went on. I’m hoping they may allow a credit for use next year rather than sending new seeds now. But I bought enough (Ten Bergman’s Gold from ILGM and 10 Godfather OG, as I stated above, they both came from the same address!) So how DO YOU store your seeds for so long Mike?

Here is how I store my seeds for long term storage
First of all, I start with fresh, mature seeds. I place them in DARK GLASS CONTAINER. I then add a drying agent to keep moisture OUT
… It’s called AZOMITE, and it’s completely harmless (don’t snort it), and made from mostly volcanic ash rhyolitic tuff breccia minerals, and especially helpful. It is 100% naturally derived and is completely free of additives, synthetics or fillers. It’s also an anti-caking agent, and will keep those seeds alive and dry from any moisture, or mold.
Then, when I germinate, I put all that dust on my seeds to get them to sprout, it will make the roots go WILD


Thanks Mike, I’ll try your method. I got new seeds four days ago. Set immediately, they cracked and threw a 1mm tail in 36 hours then stopped. Now four days later they look identical to the way they did after 36 hours. Just stalled out! No, they never went dry, no, they are not too wet. They are set between paper towels in a Corel plate sandwich (upside down on top to create a moisture dome) kept damp with PH’d distilled water and set on a seed propagator warming matt and checked several times a day. Yet they just stall out with this 1 to 2mm tail. Those planted 1cm deep in starter soil in jiffy cups never popped above ground or did and then just stopped growing. Started on the 1st day of spring as always, I now out of 41 seeds used have four viable seedlings!! Now the replacements are doing the same thing!!?? I tossed all the soil used for them and started over to prevent any disease. I sanitize my seed tweezers, seeds are never touched. No there are no lights left on in the room used. Help!

Each of us has their own methods to propagate seedlings. I will invite @MDBuds as something seems amiss. Sometimes we need an outside view to recognize an issue we didn’t think of even though it could be staring us in the face. Sometimes we are just too busy, or scatterbrained from dealing with life, or repetition, frustrations…other times, we can’t see the forest through the trees
My method…I do not score new seeds but I do score old seeds. I expect newly purchased seeds to be of an age where they don’t need scoring…as per your “cracked” in 36 hrs…Signs of good seeds.
I have test tubes and soak my seeds in h202 (peroxide 3%) with 30H202/70h20 mix.
I soak for 12 hours
Brand new baggie, brand new paper towel sheet…wet with distilled or bottled water, left to drip out excess liquid
I also use UNBLEACHED coffee filters inside the paper towel…it just prevents roots from getting stuck in the fibers of the towels
seeds in filters, filters in paper towel,paper towel in baggie - seal it
then it goes to my mat…I also get a 36 hour root tap…
Sometimes, if my temps are a little high, the roots do not get longer than exactly what you are defining here…After taps emerge, I lower my temp …just a drop…3 or 4°
Within 24 hours your taps should be between 1/2 to 1 inch long…no planting till they are that length
seeds/seedlings do not need nutrients
When I have OLDER seeds, I will add kelp and molasses to the water to wet my paper towels…
I have, at times, placed 1/2mm into peat pods…my key here is they go in to / under a dome…I am about 80° here so the rh is HIGH…
I cover the seedling entirely…so the seed is covered…water every so gently and here is where i make sure of my water temp and my rh and ph…
My germination rate is in the 90% bracket…but that does not mean I do not have failures or bad seeds…
Every grow is a NEW STERILE environment…I use a tweezers and seed grabber (sterilized each time I use) for touching the seeds…never by hand and I DO WASH MY HANDS FIRST!
I sterilize my tubes after every use…first alcohol,then peroxide,then dry completely, and cover

Lets see if we get any other opinions of what may be happening…Also, what seeds did you buy?

Firstly, Mike, I’d like to thank you for all the time and consideration given to me. My method is very close to yours though I don’t add anything to the first soak distilled PH’d water till cracking. Then I’ve added a little H202 (less than you) and a few drops of kelp extract. Even a few drops turns the water like coffee and this year because of heat and wind damage last year, I’m adding silica now from this stage on. Just a couple of drops in my quart sprayer like the kelp. The first pass of stored seeds this year was Gorilla Bomb (20, five at a time), resulted in JUST three viable plants. 5 Critical Kush all failed, 4 of 5 OG Kush failed, all three Acapulco gold failed (these from Grower’s Choice Seeds) and the rest were unknown “free” seeds also failed. The new seeds are Bergman’s Gold ILGM, and Godfather OG from Weedseedexpress. The Godfathers are stalled out with 1-2mm tails without any further growth after 3 additional days. The Bergman’s were just laid out yesterday and have cracked but no tail yet (not expected yet). I’ve left a message with Weedseedsexpress for any help as well. I’m running out of time AND MONEY for this season as you can imagine with the cost of seeds now averaging about $10 each! I’m closing in on the cost of just buying delivery this year! Yet I soldier on…I’ve reviewed another ten or so video’s, looking for any possible mistakes to no avail. I’ve never had trouble like this before, maintaining about an 85% success rate, root to toot. I’ll try the pre-soak (really the only difference between your method and mine) if I have to start over again. PERPLEXED!

email me: [email protected]
send me your address…I will give you some seeds…
I do not like doing it here as this is not social media and I am not selling here and do not want to be considered competition to HGC

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Thanks so much, Mike. I always hoped that involvement with this and similar grow sites might make me some new friends with the same interest. I seem to have lost most of the old friends now in my seventh decade as my physical capabilities diminished, so did friends. Funny how when you can’t do something anymore, most of those you knew who shared the same activity, fade away. Both from business and sport are no longer interested in those who can’t participate any longer. So I’m so happy to have found a new friend!

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I feel you…most definitely…don’t stop suddenly, I’m right behind you…probably just a couple / few years

“Don’t snort it” lmao!.. almost ALWAYS great advice.

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Not directed at Mike, just the only way to get a new entry in:
Yesterday I complained to both seed suppliers about the poor performance of their seeds this year. ILGM told me I had to have used ALL the seeds purchased before they would discuss replacements. This creates a whole new area for THIS discussion. Here’s the crux of the problem: Seed suppliers offer STEEP discounts to double your order. I had been told that I could store seeds for years if done properly (cool dry consistent). Being in CA I am limited to the number of plants to 6. Previously my practice has been to use half or so of the seeds when sent and save the rest. In seven seasons using many “aged” seeds, I’ve maintained an about 85% success rate seed to smoke. I wound up with 41 seeds left at the beginning of this year. Starting 3/21 as always, I now have no seeds left and 4 seedlings to show for it. If you’ve read the above you know I started over with new soil and cups to eliminate any possible disease problem. SO I ordered more! Ten each from ILGM and Weedseedexpress. They came and after having trouble with both again contacted both. NO answer from Weedseedexpress and ILGM told me I had to use up all ten seeds sent before they would talk. WELL, that ruins my seeds for next year approach for sure! So if more crack and tail I’m supposed to toss them because I now have too many plants? The warranties are usually only good for 60 days! SO your trapped! I also want to comment that the look of these new seeds was bad from the arrival. SMALL tight, no veining and either don’t crack at all or crack and stall with a miniscule tail. I’m wondering if I have to start rejecting seeds ON ARRIVAL for their poor look!? AND, I’ll never order more than I can use THAT YEAR again! I’ve used Five different seed suppliers and they all have the same policies. So, I suggest don’t buy more than you can use that year and complain in a timely manner with pics to prove your adherence to their policies as soon as you have trouble. Are there so many growers now that the seed supply is deteriorating? And with the average cost of seeds now approaching $10 each, I’ve spent as much on seeds this year as a whole years cost of delivery weed! Not what you want new potential growers to know is it?

I set my last 4 seeds, left them OFF the propagator matt and THEY SPROUTED!! I made a separate entry about it in beginner. I think I did not have enough insulation between the plates and the matt. I won’t use the matt for seeds any longer, just for seedlings. Not without a folded towel under.

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Best storage bottom of fridge
Dry dry dry

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Good evening @Mrb53004 is this the right product