How Long Do Vegetable Seeds Last?

raspberryflyerDecember 22, 2006

The seed catalogs are pouring in now, but I still have seeds left from last year.

How many years can the following seeds last:

Corn

Beans

Lettuce

Cabbage

Bell Peppers

Tomatoes

Yellow Squash

Marigolds

Watermelon

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veggiecanner(Id 5/6)

All of the seeds listed should still grow this year. I buy some of my seeds in bulk, at a savings in money of course and get several years uses from them. With parsnips and onions being the ones that last the least time.
Cabbage family and tomatoes last the longest.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 11:47PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

That depends on how they are stored. Heat and humidity are death to all seeds so if they are stored in a cool dry environment they should be viable for a long time.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 8:08AM
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marylandmojo(zone 7--Md.)

To follow up, as veggiecanner said, different seeds have different periods of viability, some being notoriously short-lived: and as kimmsr states, HOW they are stored, being the key word. Freezing, which MANY seed companies do over Winter), is (no doubt) the best method of storage. (Seems to me, I've heard that seeds have been found frozen in glacial ice, thawed, and germinated after MANY years.) A number of times in my life, when inquiring about buying corn seed late in the year, I've been told that they were "already put away in the freezer" (this by a local seed company in my state). I would have preferred not to hear it--makes me wonder how many years some of that seed has been frozen.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 12:51PM
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mojogardener(z6a / KS)

I have some seed that is up to five years old. When I'm done planting for the year, I vacume pack my seeds and store them in a seed box that I made and store in the basement, they receive no light whatsoever and stay cool.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 10:10AM
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calypso985_clear_net

So glad I found this site because I have a small boatload of OLD seeds that have been stored in my freezer, some since 2001. I'm pleased to learn that many of my seeds should still be viable, and I now have the courage to go ahead and plant them! Thanks to everyone here who has posted about their experiences. Great stuff!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 8:14PM
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