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Need Help with Old seeds, search not working

Posted by joytosew 5MO (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 21, 08 at 22:29

I was going through all the seed packages I had used several years ago before I had to quit gardening.
Most of them are from the year 2000. I don't know if it is really worth keeping them or if I should just get rid of them?
Most of them are vegetable seeds: peas, beans, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, corn, many others including some flower seeds. These are all from the 2000 package date though.

I found several posts on the search, then it goes to the whooops page.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need Help with Old seeds, search not working

8 years may be pushing the limits. ;) But depending on how they were stored (no exposure to heat and humidity), most vegetable seeds are good for several years - flower seeds not so long, and a few expire quickly. Seeds kept frozen will often germinate after 10-12 years.

You can do a test sprouting of them by folding 10 seeds in a moist paper towel and putting it in a ziplock bag near a sunny window. Check for germination daily from the 4th day on. It gives you a good % indicator of how many of your seeds from the same packet will germinate.

Good luck. ;)


thank you

Thank you Dave,
that really does help me with all the seeds. I will work on germinating some this next week. There are some that I would really like to winter sew this season =)


RE: Need Help with Old seeds, search not working

I saw a list of how long various seeds would keep a year or two ago. They varies from 1 to 6 or more years (tomatoes were six). Try a Google search.

RE: Need Help with Old seeds, search not working

After dealing professionally with seeds for more than 30 years, I am starting to believe more in the seeds than any undocumented claims about them not being viable. Folk wisdom claims about viability seem to vary from 1 year or 2 all the way up to 6 or 7 or 8 years. I don't think anyone really knows. I have never seen or heard of a documented viability test, let alone one lasting 20 or 30 years. I think everyone is guessing.

This I know. Small, dark, round seeds seem to last the longest. Onion and parsley seeds seem to die first among the vegetables, and I have seen both last more than 10 years. Seeds stored in cool, dark, dry places last the longest. Cool means less than 70 degrees.

One should never throw away seeds. Trust them. Each is a living, breathing embryo. Each represents software and hardware combined on a complex and elegant scale unmatched by human engineering. Each seed contains information from a feedback loop with its environment stretching back eons, yet is subtle enough to record changes from the past season.

Each seed can reproduce itself. Hold a diamond in your hand. You have a diamond. Hold a seed. You have the seed and you have the system in hand to produce untold numbers more.

Nothing you can hold in your hand will ever be as elegant.

Trust the seeds. Honor them. Give them a chance. I hope hey will surprise and inspire you, over and over and over again as they have done to me for the past 30 years.

RE: Need Help with Old seeds, search not working

Wiles, that was beautiful.
Your words gave me goosebumps.

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