The Q&A Archives: Saving Seeds

Question: I'm a new gardener and would like to know how long seeds last. Vicki Bell Warner Robins, GA

Answer: You can save your unused seeds from the previous year (purchased seeds as opposed to seeds gathered from your own garden plants). Put the unused seeds in double plastic bags and keep them in the freezer. There will be a slight drop in the germination percentage but storing them in this manner will save you the cost of purchasing new seed each year. If you elect not to do this, but choose to store the seed at room temperature; here are lengths of time that seed still remain viable corn-2 yrs cucumber-5 yrs endive-5 yrs leek-2 yrs lettuce-6 yrs melon-5 yrs onion-use fresh seed every year parsnip-use fresh seed every year spinach-use fresh seed every year peas-2 yrs pepper-2 yrs tomato-2 yrs Seeds older than the years indicated should be tested before planting by placing a sample in a warm, moist paper towel and seeing how many germinate in one week. You should get at least 50% germination to make it worthwhile to plant..

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