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I keep ,my seed in their original little foil packets, they are all in a paper tray, which is on a top sheld in the lobby. It is draught proof and frost free. I never keep them in an airtight tin. Especially as I collect a lot of seed and it may not be quite dry enough to store. Damp seeds rot easily if airtight. I check viability of old seed by dropping in a small amount of water, those that sink are viable, those that float have had it and can be tipped out with the water.


Was given a packet of cosmos seed that had a sow by date of 2011 on it, used the entire pack as an experiment and got 5 seedlings (pack contained Avg 50 seeds), so 10% germination rate.  


Depends on the seeds and the storage conditions Tasker. Some last years, some no time at all

Lettuce seeds go on for years and years. So do tomato seeds. Some do some don't.

Keep them cool and dry.

A newbie here so hi everyone. A friend of mine recently found a packet of tomato seeds whilst clearing out some cupboards in the kitchen that's due to get renovated. The seeds Use By was 1988, yep almost 30yrs ago. He isn`t a gardener by any stretch of imagination and planted these seeds in a pot of "old" soil, covered the pot with a piece of circle glass (from an old clock) and blow me down he now has 7 very healthy seedlings that stand about 4" after roughly 3 weeks, he has potted on for me as well, unbelievable, a true taste of the 80s lol hopefully grab a photo of them when I next see him, I'm still gobsmacked.


Jimmy Crawford

Also, another thing worth pointing out in addition to germination rate, is germination time. If you have a batch of seed that has been dormant for five years, don't expect it to germinate within the time stated on the seed packet. It may well take that long for it to absorb enough moisture to kickstart its cell biology. Keep an eye on it, but be prepared to keep an eye on it for a few months before tipping the soil out. Some seeds have mental germination times at the best of times.

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