Planting Old Seed - Knowledgebase Question

N . Attleboro, MA
Question by cruelsun
January 27, 1998
I bought many types of seeds last year for my garden. The ones that I have left are common vegetables and flowers. If I planted my leftover seeds this year would they germinate? All the packages are open so they were exposed to some air.


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Answer from NGA
January 27, 1998

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There's really only one way to tell, and that's to let them germinate. You could do that with a few from each packet. Then you'd know how viable each bunch was. That will only give you an indication, however, it's not a guarantee!

Put a few seeds on a wet paper towel and stand the paper towel in a glass so that the seed is held between the towel and the side of the glass, allowing you to "watch the action". The seed packets should tell you how long germination takes. Keep the towel damp for that period of time (maybe giving it a day or two extra) and wait for the seeds to sprout. If they all sprout...that's great. Your packet of seed should be just fine. If none sprout...bummer...chuck it! If a few sprout, youdecide...is it worth it? It might pay to just get a new envelope!

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