Asking yourself the question: do seeds expire? Here's an easy way to tell if last year's garden seeds will still sprout.
Do seeds expire? Wondering if an outdated packet of seeds is still good to plant? Our garden expert Ann Wied has the scoop.
“Most flower and vegetable seeds will keep for a year without special protection; many remain viable for up to five years if stored in a cool, dark, dry place,” she says. “If you want to see if an expired packet of seeds is worth planting, try this: Put a few between two layers of moist paper towels, then place in a plastic bag. Punch a few small holes in it so the air can circulate.
“Keep the towels damp, checking for sprouting within the time listed on the packet. If only half of them germinate, sow the rest thickly, or don’t use them.”
Ann Wied is Consumer Horticulture Educator for the UW-Extension in Waukesha, County, Wisconsin.
Illustration by RDA USGB/Sylvia Bokor