How Long are my Seeds Good for?

How Long are my Seeds Good for?

The great thing about buying seeds is you get so many possible plants from one package, but you never can use them all in one season (unless you are lucky enough to have a huge garden).  So…how long are they good for?

Check the date on the package near the lot number.  If there’s no date, you may want to get in the habit of writing the year on your seeds weather you’ve bought them or gathered them yourself.  As the years pass, you’ll probably not have 100% germination.  But here’s a general idea of how long you will still get some sprouts.

Short-Lived (1-2 seasons)

  • corn
  • onions and leeks
  • parsley
  • peppers
  • spinach (I’ve seen this listed on the long lived list too?)

Medium-Lived (3-4 seasons)

  • beans and peas
  • beets
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • celery
  • chard
  • eggplants
  • squash
  • tomatoes (I’ve seen this on the long-lived list also?)

Long-Lived (5-6 seasons)

  • cucumber
  • lettuce
  • kale
  • melons
  • sunflower

If you just have no idea at all how old they are, here’s an easy germination test.

  1. place 10 on a damp paper towel
  2. seal in a plastic bag
  3. keep moist and at room temperature for about a week
  4. check to see how many sprouted  (if it’s less then 10, just sow seeds thicker)

(this helpful information is in part from Organic Gardening Oct/Nov 20120 and Travis Saling)

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