Saturday, January 17, 2015

Testing Old Seeds for Viability




Each year we always wind up with lots of leftover seeds for most of the vegetables we grow in our garden. We try to reuse what we can, but after a few years it becomes hard to determine whether it is worth it to plant them in case of low germination rates.

old seed packets from last year or the year before

new seed packets that I received as a Christmas gift :)

That is where testing old seeds for germination can help save some money by reusing old seed! I think it's a good idea to do this anyway with saved seed from your garden to see if you are doing a good job of seed saving methods.



To test for germination, the process was pretty simple and there are multiple ways you can go about doing it. What I did was begin with a wet paper towel, place roughly 10 seeds onto the paper towel and then fold it two or three times on each other with the seeds in it. Label the paper towel and seal in a plastic bag or other airtight container.

tomato seeds placed on a wet paper towel

paper towel folded over and placed into ziplock plastic bag with a label

Make sure the paper towels remain moist. I placed several seeds with labels on top together in one plastic bag to save on plastic baggies.



In about 3 to 10 days, you should be able to check and see if your seeds have germinated. With ten seeds, you want to have at least 6 of them germinate to have a good rate. If my rate on a particular veggie is less than 60%, I will plan on buying a new packet of seed for that plant.

The pickling cucumber seeds did fantastic- they passed with flying colors!


The KY Wonder Pole Bean seeds passed as well- these were given to me by a family member

This year in addition to using a lot of our leftover seeds, we plan to purchase new some hybrid tomato seeds (canning and slicing), Sungold cherry tomatoes, some spinach, strawberries, October beans, peppers, herbs, potatoes, onions, and garlic.

Seed catalogs- I love looking through them during the winter :)

It's almost time to start our seedlings for veggies to be transplanted in the early spring. Yikes!  Have you planned out your garden yet?




1 comment:

  1. This is a great idea Megan! BTW- Southern Exposure is totally my favorite seed catalog! :) Thanks for linking up to the Homestead Blog Hop!

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