The Q&A Archives: Seed Viability

Question: I work in a daycare and have a package of Salad Bar seed Lot K-1 from 1994 that was found there. We would like to use this seed if possible and are wondering about the germination.

Answer: If seed is stored in an air-tight container, in a cool, dark location, it can remain viable for years. If it received less than optimal storage conditions, it may still be viable. Check the germination rate by placing a few seeds between the folds of a dampened papertowel, placed into a plastic baggie, and sealed. Keep the baggie at regular room temperature and check in 7 days to see if any seeds have sprouted. If so, divide the number of germinated seeds by the original number of seeds in the test to find the percentage. If not, wait a few more days and check again for sprouts. After about two weeks, if no seeds have germinated, toss them out and purchase new seeds.

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