Old Vegetable Seeds – Are they Still Good?

Have a few old garden packets lying and wondering if they are still good? Find out in today’s post, we are going to talk about sprouting aged vegetable seeds.

BTW: If you are new to Gardening, no worries! Check out my previous post where I talked about “How to Read and Understand Seed Packets.”

Can You Grow Old Seeds

So it’s that time of year again, “Seed Starting.” During this time, I get out my materials, lights, and whatever else I need to get started.  

While in the process, I came across a bag of seeds that I used last years. Out of that I mix, I found seeds that were a year old and some seeds that were more than 6 years old.  

Being a person who hates to waste, it begged the question, “Can I still use these seeds instead of throwing them away?”  

The simple answer? Yes and no. Now let’s talk about it! 

Can You Sprout Aged Seeds? 

Sprouting aged vegetable seeds… Is it possible? I say yes and no. It all depends on the viability of the seed and its storage conditions. 

Viability is the seed’s ability to survive.   

When it comes to seeds, typically they don’t have an expiration date, but they do lose their viability over time (Some quicker than others). 

Depending on the type of seed and its condition, the viability can range anywhere between 1 to 6 years.  

A few factors that can affect the seed’s lifespan are how and where they are stored. (I.e. In a cool area that is waterproof and dark.)  

To give you more details on the viability of garden seeds, check out this seed storage guide provided by Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

So is good to Accumulate & Save Seeds?  

Yes, it really just depends on the seed and believe it or not. It’s really quite easy to do so. 

When I started gardening a couple of years ago, I wanted to use as little money as possible but have as much as possible.  

With that said, I didn’t buy all of my seeds out of pocket. Instead, I got them from giveaways, people changing their minds about gardening, thrift stores, you name it. Eventually, I ended up with more seeds than I could handle. 

On one hand, it saved me a lot of money, but on the other hand, it opened the door for us to have a mix of new and old seeds 

Now the new seeds we knew were good, but I was concerned about the older ones. Once I learned about seed viability, I was curious to see if they still were viable.  

To test this theory, I decided to use my germination space to test my seeds.   

Testing Aged Seeds 

Now testing your seeds can be quite easy but take some time. 

There are three ways you can test your seeds; via soil test, water test, or the paper towel test. Each one will help determine if your seeds are capable of germination. 

Initially, to test my seeds, I decided to do the soil test; This is a process where you can either place the seeds directly into the soil or grow them starters and hope for the best.  

During my seeding phase at planted both new and old seeds indoors and outdoors to see if they would germinate. I planted them the same way, rotated them under my photo lights, watered them frequently, and waited with anticipation.   

The Results? Did it work? Yes. I had a mixture of results; a few popped up and some seeds like my hot peppers didn’t grow back or grew very little.  

Does Using Aged Vegetable Seeds Change the Taste?  

Another concern is usually the change in taste. I am glad to report, the seed’s age will not change the fruit or vegetable’s taste after it grows.  

Other Methods to Test Older Seeds  

If you do not prefer to do the same method I did, there are other ways that you can test your seeds, such as the water test and the paper towel test.  

  1. The Water Test: For this test, put the seeds in a cup of lukewarm water. If they sink after about 20 minutes, then they are good.  
  2. The Paper Towel Test: During this test, moisten a paper towel and place at least 10 to 30 seeds in them. Please make sure the seeds don’t touch, fold the towel, and put them in a Ziploc bag. Place the bag in the window and wait for the cultivator’s recommended number of days to germinate. Make sure that you label and date the seeds.  

Those are two other tests that you can use to test your old seeds. If they don’t grow, then it’s time to buy some more!  

Well, there you have it! Hopefully, I provided enough info on sprouting aged vegetable seeds. Now that we have covered that, in the following post, we will focus on seed germination. So that means that I need to finish organizing my seeds and test the old ones. 😁

Thank you for reading my post, and if you have not already, feel free to subscribe! For those interested in a video version of these questions, check out my YouTube video “Can You Grow Old Seeds?” below.

Once again, thank you for watching in until next week. Have a fabulous day and stay supertastic.  

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