The Q&A Archives: Viability of Garden Seeds

Question: Are there any vegetable seeds that will not or have a high probability of not germinating if they are left over from previous years?

Answer: There are many variables involved, including what the plant does in the "wild," and its moisture content. Hard-coated and/or dry seeds like peas or tomatoes can last up to 10 years. Fleshy seeds need to be planted as soon as they ripen. Seeds stored at optimum conditions will last longer, but slight changes in those conditions can greatly reduce viability. As a general rule, most seeds like dark, dry cool storage conditions. Most vegetable seeds will still have some percentage that will germinate after a year, but the percentage will go down each year.

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