Are My Seeds Still Good?

If you are like me, there is so much joy experienced in planning your spring garden in January and February when it is cold outside.

I love to bring in my seed carton (yes it is a bit on the large side) and I start the inventory of my seeds.

I really get excited to see them all again and I get really excited about browsing through my seed catalogs and wondering what to order for the coming season.

I am a bit of a “seedaholic” and can find myself ordering (and spending) more than needed on seeds each season. I have been attempting to save seeds and use previous year’s seeds.

When I see the dates on seed packs and I wonder how accurate it is. I debate if I can use something past that expiration date. For example, last year I planted pepper seeds from the previous year and they did not germinate. BUT on the opposite end of the spectrum I have a huge bag of pension green beans and have been planting from that bag for four years and I always have more beans than I even hope for.

Or maybe you have started saving seeds like me. I don’t have confidence in this area yet so I wonder if they are really good or not after I save them.

An easy way to test your seeds is to conduct a little germination test. It sounds complex but is so simple. So, if you are like me and looking at all those seeds from previous years wondering if you can plant them try this:

Pick some seeds out you would like to test. I chose a favorite tomato seed and some pepper seeds I saved myself. Like I said, I had trouble germinating peppers last year from older seeds plus I saved these myself, so I needed a little confidence builder on these before I plant them.

Dampen a paper towel and then lay out some seeds. I use 10 seeds per paper towel. That way the math is easy for me– if 2 fail I have an 80% germination rate. You can use more seeds (I just find the math more complex then) but use at least 10.

Fold the towel and pop it in a ziploc bag. Be sure to attach the seed packet somehow so you know what is what in there.

Place the bags in a warm place. I chose our sunroom on a chair that is near our heater in there. The heater doesn’t really get hot it just warms the room at a constant temperature. Then you wait about a week (7 – 10 days is good).

After 6 days my tomato seeds look like this:

My pepper seeds are not germinated yet.

BUT peppers can take 2 – 3 weeks so I am not concerned about these at this point. I will keep an eye on them.

Do you check your seeds for viability? Do you buy new each year? Do you save your own seeds from year to year?

Hope this was helpful if you didn’t know how to check your seeds.

Happy Unleashing today!