Can I Use Last Year’s Seeds?

Gardening Basics
// August 16, 2017
seed saving and seed storage

Most of the edible things around our homes have an expiration or a use-by date. It’s how we know which ingredients are fresh and viable and which are not.  Just like that, so many other things have an expiration date as well. But have you ever thought about whether your seeds are one of those?

saving vegetable seeds

Suppose that last year you bought vegetable seeds and you just couldn’t find the time to sow and take care of. Then the sowing season passed, and soon you just couldn’t use those seeds. But what if you could use those same seeds next year? Not only does that save you money but also ensures that none of your seeds goes to waste. Read about seed saving techniques.

So, the big question is that can you use last year’s seeds? Here’s a simple answer: Yes!

saving pumpkin seeds

In fact, for some varieties like cucumber, eggplant, radish and lettuce, you can use seeds that are up to four years old! Isn’t that an amazing fact? The truth is that most vegetable seeds last for a few years and will germinate if they have been stored correctly.

That’s what tells us whether or not old seeds will sprout: their storage conditions.

Storing your seeds:

If you feel that you won’t be able to use all the seeds that you have this year and you don’t know enough people to give them to, then here’s what you do. Take your seeds in separate air tight containers and store them in a cool, dark and dry place.

garden seed storage containers

Cabinets and store cupboards are usually a safe bet.

The key is to ensure that no sunlight or moisture get to the seeds. This will keep them in a stable pre-germination condition. Some people prefer keeping them in refrigerators, but over the course of the year, this may take up too much space.

If you are looking for specialist equipment, then you can commercially purchase seed keepers that will ensure the viability of your seeds.

how to store seeds

One year later, germinating old seeds:

Now that you are ready to use your seeds, the first thing would be to test them out and see whether they are in good health.

The easiest way to do that is to look at the surface. If it is shrivelled up like a raisin, then it may not have been stored correctly. But if it’s maintained its shape, then you’re ready to go! Learn 10 essential tips for seed sowing.

Another way would be to do a germination test. This involves taking a moist towel and keeping it in an area that receives a good amount of warmth and sunlight. Randomly choose some seeds and lay them down on this towel.

Check on them a few days later. If they germinate, then you can consider that you entire sample is in good health and can be used. Otherwise, you can always purchase new seeds, and at ugaoo.com you’ll always find the best deals and most variety!

germinating old seeds

How are your seeds doing one year later? Let us know in the comments below; we’d love to hear your story!

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Gardening Basics