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Billy Goat

Hi all,

A bobby basic question here, so please bear with me...I have some seeds left over from last year as I always order too many and I am keen to know if I should bin them or can I plant them?


Sorry if this has been asked before


Depends what they are and how they've been stored Billy

Some seeds last for years, others a very short time

Most gardeners seem to accumulate seeds, I certainly do, keept dry and cold many seem to last for years. Sorting through your tin in winter is a treat haha. You can always do a test sow. I use a piece of kitchen paper folded into a quarter, sow a few seeds into the middle ie like mini envelope. Dampen it and pop it into a plastic box or polythene bag. Leave on a window sill but not in full sun or it will cook. If seeds sprout the rest of the packet should be OK. Don't forget to label them if doing more than one test.  Jean

Generally the larger the seed the longer its viable life.

Larger seeds can be tested for germination (such as runner bean, broad bean) by placing them in moist compost inside a clear plastic bag in a warm place.

Give them 10-14 days, tip them out, see which ones have germinated and pot on.

Those that haven't back in the bag.

otnorot but just call me Bill

Another way to test your seeds,take a paper towel,dampen it lay it flat sprinkle 10 seeds on one half,fold other half over seeds.Keep damp a couple of days,now pull the sheet open some or all will have started to sprout.If all 10 are sprouting the you will get 100% seedling growth if only 5 have sprouted then you will get 50% growth from your seeds. ECT.




Don't bin them Billy Goat as they will most certainly be OK.  The only ones that are very 'iffy' are parsnips which you should buy fresh every year.  I have had success with seeds that have been up to 10 years old (veg seeds).


As well as parsnips, you should also get fresh onion seed each year.

Billy Goat

Thanks very much for the replies folks.

I'm pleased I asked as I will save a few quid this year, so my veg will taste even better!!


does nasturtium keep ive got some off last year?


Most garden seeds remain viable for at least two years. Nasturtium will be fine if stored correctly. 

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