GardenShare

GardenShare

Monday, March 16, 2015

Thinking about spring planting?

Can You Use Out-of-Date Seeds?
The simple answer is yes! No harm will come from using old seeds. The question is not so much about whether or not to use old seeds but rather your chances of germinating old seeds. Old seeds may take longer to grow flowers and/or fruit.
The flowers or fruit that come from out-of-date seeds will be of the same quality as if they were grown from fresh seeds. Using old vegetable seeds will produce vegetables that are just as nutritious as those from current season seeds.

How Long Will Old Seeds Stay Viable?
In order for a seed to germinate, it must be viable or alive. All seeds are alive when they come from their mother plant. Three major things affect a seed’s viability:
  1. Age: All seeds stay viable for at least one year and most will be viable for two years. After the first year, germination rates for out-of-date seeds start to fall.
  2. Type: The type of seed can affect how long it stays viable. Corn or pepper seeds will have a hard time surviving past the two year mark. Bean, pea, tomato, and carrot seeds can all stay viable up to four years while cucumber and lettuce seeds can last as long as six years.
  3. Storage conditions: Your old vegetable and flower seed packets will last longer if they are stored in a cool, dark place. Your produce drawer in the refrigerator is a good choice for storage!
Regardless of the date on your seed packet, germinating old seeds is worth a shot. Using old seeds is a great way to empty out those half-used seed packets that tend to accumulate from year to year!