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Tootles

Good Morning,

Too cold outside to get into the garden here in Nottinghamshire so I'm having a seed audit (and a nice cuppa).  I've already bought some exciting new seeds from Higgledy Garden which won't fit in  my seed tin because it's so full of, well, seed packets that are open, out of date, and sealed but out of date. Would you just chuck old seeds? I know, in theory, they lose viability, but I have heard that can just be so the seed companies encourage us to buy more. Also, how out of date is just too old? I have some 2015 seeds in there.

Any advice much appreciated. Thanks!

Singing Gardener

I think it depends a lot on what seeds they are. I have lots that I continue to use for years (lettuce, french beans, beetroot, in particular because there are loads in a packet). Others don't seem to last so well. I seem to remember that somebody posted a list of the expected lifetime of different seeds here but it was a long time ago.

nutcutlet

2015 isn't long ago. As SG says, depends what they are. I don't waste a lot of time and compost with well out of date seeds, just chuck them on the garden. But 2 years is nothing to the majority of properly stored seeds.

BobTheGardener
Singing Gardener says:

I think it depends a lot on what seeds they are. I have lots that I continue to use for years (lettuce, french beans, beetroot, in particular because there are loads in a packet). Others don't seem to last so well. I seem to remember that somebody posted a list of the expected lifetime of different seeds here but it was a long time ago.

See original post

 I think that was me:

http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/1999/4-2-1999/veggielife.html

Tootles

That article is really useful, thanks! 

Ive decided to chuck a couple of packets that I wasn't keen on but will keep the rest and give them a go.

I wonder if the viability is all about germination. If seeds germinate could their fruiting capacity be effected by the age of the seed?

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nutcutlet

I think if they germinate they will be normal. Seeds, especially weeds, lurk in the soil and germinate when conditions are right, soil disturbed, enough water etc. they make normal plants when they do germinate.

Tootles

Thanks Nut.

i fear that once again my gardening eyes are bigger than my belly and I'll run out of room if I sow it all! 

nutcutlet

I expect so Tootles. Same here 

BobTheGardener

And me.  I still have 2 trays of leeks that never made it into the ground.  I think I usually have to compost more than half of my seedlings and it's probably far more than that! 

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