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Shelf life of seeds

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Lewis
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Shelf life of seeds

Postby Lewis » Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:13 pm

Hey all, I was wondering if anyone could tell me a realistic shelf life on veggie seeds? The packages you'd buy at the garden section of Walmart or home depot?

I'm sure they all vary, just looking for a ballpark.

Thanks!
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Re: Shelf life of seeds

Postby helicopilot » Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:17 pm

I'm not a master gardener so someone may be better at answering this question, but I've been known to pick up seeds on sale at the end of season for $0.25 or less and used them a couple of years later. I over seed as I imagined I wouldn't get the best germination rate and it worked out ok. Kept the seeds "dark and cool" in a ziplock bag.
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farmgal
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Re: Shelf life of seeds

Postby farmgal » Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:25 pm

ok, this is a much bigger answer then it seems, so my most basic answer is those packages are required to put a best use by date on them, which should mean that they are to be at a certain germination rate till that date, but it has a lot of factors at play..

So the more advanced answer is, it changes based on each plant type, combined with storage considerations

I recommend seed to seed as the book to get- it will address each plant from seed to seed including average storage times per type

The rare one can be as low as two years and it will effect germination rates and others can be twenty years old and stored right and started right, and good to go

https://www.amazon.ca/Seed-Growing-Tech ... 1882424581
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Re: Shelf life of seeds

Postby farmgal » Mon Apr 04, 2016 1:35 pm

that's a great point on over-seeding, nothing wrong with that choice and as said, it works but might I recommend the baggy method to test your germination rates before seeding out, picking up 25 cent packages, awesome, get a few extra years out of them for planting by testing them, even more frugal :)

Now I am not recommending that you use it to sprout your main seeds, unless you have a tiny garden and you do early starts so the main garden is still seeded in ground.

but as a test, it takes little time to do and it gives you the data you need, got a four year old package and you have a 70 percent germination rate by the baggy but a 30 percent in the ground, something needs work on but without the test, you would shrug shoulders and go.. old seed eh

http://faq.gardenweb.com/discussions/27 ... gie-method
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Lewis
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Re: Shelf life of seeds

Postby Lewis » Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:27 pm

Thanks for the quick replies, this is one of the areas I need to sharpen my skills at. I'll certainly take your advice and pick up that book farmgal.

as soon as the season rolls around I plan on starting a small garden at home, doing a little experimenting and working on my green thumb. My initial question I guess was more so wondering if its worth stock piling some seeds, for future use or if its a waste of time/space/money. But i guess for the cost and room they take up it would be worth rolling the dice.

thanks again!
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Re: Shelf life of seeds

Postby Sylvie2674 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:07 pm

It is good to know the shelf life of my seeds. Thank you for this thread Lewis.
I am just curious Farmgal.
I was not able to have a garden for the last 6 years due to poor soil in the last city we lived in. I kept all my seeds and planted them just a couple of weeks ago to see if they would grow. The seeds have all taken off :) . I am quite shocked.
Would you happen to know if the health of these seeds deteriorate at all? Will the seeds produce less healthy vegetables?
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Re: Shelf life of seeds

Postby farmgal » Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:45 pm

Hi Sylvie..

If they sprouted, then they are good, no degrade should be seen.. the plants will produced the best veggies, their genes and the soil will allow them :)

By that I mean, if the seeds were going to produce good quality veggies 6 years ago they still will but the part that is not considered as much is its the soil that has just as much effect on producing top quality veggies, if you soil lacks something, your plants lack it, and when you use them as a prime food source, you will lack it there as well..

Hope that helps answer your question :)
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