Hello fellow seed librarians! I have a situation that I would love some advice on.
I am in the extremely fortunate position of having active support from a very large local gardening group. This helps tremendously with getting the word out and getting donations in. Occasionally I'll get a huge donation of questionable seeds and the idea of throwing everything out because I just don't have the time to sort, search, and germ test everything is heartbreaking. I'd give the task to volunteers but we haven't restarted our volunteer program. I know many of these are past their viability window but I also know if they were stored properly there could still be a lot worth saving in here. I'd take some of these home to try growing them myself but my yard isn't big enough. I know if I just had a very clear donation policy and stuck with it I wouldn't have this mess. I also wouldn't have connected with a few of our more quirky and unique seed savers in the community though so I have to say it's usually worth the trade off.
To give you an idea of what I'm working with: Coin packs of Iron Clay Cowpea, no date, handwritten grow information. More coin packs just labeled Ironweed. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange packets from 2006-2009. Mary's Heirloom Seeds from 2019. Baker Creek Heirloom from 2010, 2019, 2021. Labeled coin packs from a local nonprofit from 2016-present. Burpee and Seeds of Change and Johnny's Selected Seeds and so much more.
So my question: How would you approach giant ziplock bags of random seed donations of all varieties, years, and sources? Would you toss the whole batch? Presort? If you sorted, what would your criteria be for keep/test/toss?