Veg seed storage times

If you're a veg grower, you've probably got lots of old seed packets lying around – some opened, some still sealed. Are they still worth sowing?

Moisture and heat are the two factors that will reduce the viability of your seeds. Keep them cool and dry and they will last much longer.

Over time, seed viability decreases. Onions, parsnips and sweetcorn have an especially short shelf life, so are not worth keeping, but cucumbers and beets last for several years.

To sow with confidence, try our simple 14-day test to check whether your old seed is worth sowing. In the meantime, here's our guide to how long seeds can last, if stored in optimum conditions.


One year

· Lettuce

· Onions

· Parsnips

· Sweetcorn

Two years

· Carrots

· Celery

· Leeks

· Peppers

· Swedes/turnips

Three years

· Beans

· Peas

· Salad leaves

· Spinach

· Swiss chard

· Tomatoes

Four years

· Aubergines

· Brassicas

· Courgettes

· Radishes

Five years

· Beetroot

· Cucumbers


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