Picket Fence Greenhouse/ Gardens & DianeMummVideos

Iowa Gardening~Growing from Seed~Garden Videos~Greenhouse


Picket Fence Greenhouse/ Gardens & DianeMummVideos

Are My Seeds Still Viable- How Long do Garden Seeds Last

How long do Garden Seeds Last?

I know many often ask this question, and there is some guidelines to go by..

but remember this, the viability of a seed clearly will depend on storage and care of the seed .

If you have seeds that have been laying around for some time in your home and you are unsure if they are any good..

Before wasting your time and money planting them in soil.. Do this first..

The best way to really know is to test germination using the paper towel method.

Place around 10 seeds on a wet paper towel, write down the name, date ..

Fold over the paper towel place in a plastic bag and place in a warm area in your home..

Germination can be quickly or slowly depending on the seed type..

I would check them in a few days , and repeat for a few weeks.. most should of germinated by then unless it is a seed that can take up to 30 days to germinate..

You will know by the amount of seed that sprout if they are good enough to keep..

calla lily seeds

Here is some Calla Lilies that I sprouted using paper towel method

To make your life easier, do this method on your seeds, this way you will know right away what is viable and not be waiting for them to pop out of the soil.. Once they sprout place them in soil, water in and place under lights.. Really watch them well for a few days till they take root in their new surroundings..:)

You can also cover them with a plastic lid or plastic film to be assured they do not dry out during this critical time..

I hope that helps!

Now onto some guidelines of how long do garden seeds last?

Ok this is the minimum years and can well succeed this is given proper storage and cool temperatures..

Seed Storing advice: Seed is best stored through the winter at 50 degrees, at 50 percent humidity. A good way to store unused seed packets is to place them in a sealed jar with a desiccant such as powdered milk or rice at the bottom (to absorb moisture). Rice can be reused again as a desiccant if you dry it in the oven at a low temperature. Store your seed jar in the refrigerator or a cool area, such as a basement.

Bush and pole beans – two years

Beets – two years

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi – three to five years

Carrots – three years

Collard, Kale – three to five years

Sweet Corn – one year

Cucumbers – three years

Leeks, onions – two to three years

Lettuce – three years

Melons – three years

Oriental greens – three years

Parsley – two years

Parsnips – one year

Peas – two years

Peppers – two years

Radishes – four years

Rutabagas – three years

Spinach – one season

Squashes – three to four years

Swiss Chard – two years

Tomatoes – three years

Turnips – four years

Flower seed – annuals are generally good for one to three years; perennials for two to four years.


Quick video on some bean seeds I save.. and yes I pronounced Heirloom wrong..

It is said that parsnips, spinach , lettuce and alliums have the shortest seed life. The seed life may have something to do with the oil content of the seeds. Generally, the highter oil content of the seed, the decline in germination is quicker.

If you plan on saving your own seed year to year, your climate may have a lot to do with your success..Always if saving your own seed do a simple seed germination test.. This will clearly tell you if your seeds or your seed saving was a success..

Happy Growing!

Diane Mumm

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