Is Fresh Seed Best?

Prior to 2006 we did not sell seed in December, January and early February, beginning sales again with new season's seed in late February.

This was done to ensure that you all receive seed that is as fresh as possible, in the belief that fresh is best. This is however not always the case. There is considerable variation in the germination of fresh seed. Some varieties germinate well but others sometimes germinate poorly. This was highlighted when I almost trashed a large batch of fresh seed because of low germination. I didn't trash it but instead tried again some months later. It then germinated beautifully. This was reinforced when we had our main seedlines germination tested independently after a year in refrigeration and they were all above 75% and mostly above 80%. This led to a change in policy. We now sell seed year round according to germination rates experienced rather than date of harvest. Consequently, where possible, we are filling your order immediately rather than waiting for new seed. We have confidence in all the seed we sell. If however you experience trouble germinating this seed please let us know.

Customer Feedback:

Greetings from Maine,USA
Perhaps you will recall sending seed last fall when I had asked for fresh seed in the spring, which you also sent and which I appreciated very much. The 2008 seed was overwintered here in my refrigerator and the 50 seed pkt germinated 38. The fresh seed produced 42 seedlings--all had the same vigor so my theory of fresh seed is not valid. Also the "free' seed pkt sent last fall was even more productive. Looking forward to the doubles blooming.

Thanks again
Alan Mead

Dear Dowdeswells,

I thought you might be interested in this. Last year I bought some seeds from you I didn't get a chance to plant. They were a cream mix and a gift pkt. you had included. I didn't feel well last summer so they sat in the refridgerator all spring, summer, winter, and most of this spring til I decided to clean out the fridge. I was going to throw the seeds away and thought, "Oh, why not plant them. They may not grow if I plant them but they certainly won't if I throw them away". I planted them in regular windowbox soil in two medium windowboxes I have under the appletrees in the yard. I just stirred all the dirt up leaves and all and smoothed it down. I put the seeds in, covered with just a little dirt, saw that the soil was moist and left. When I went back it looks like all of them are up. I'm impressed. I think I have to move them as some spruces have grown up in front of the apples and it's shadier there now than when I started planting things there 20 years ago. Thanks for the good seeds, it was a pleasant surprise.

Yours truly,

Blanche Baker