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How Long Do Seeds Last? Best Practices & A Story

Mar 02, 2018
 

The red-winged blackbirds have returned and we just got eighteen inches of snow!  

Before I sat down with a cup of chaga tea to write you this morning, here is what we did at dawn:

 

How Long Do Seeds Last?

Friends, I've been asked a lot recently:

"Is it worth planting these seeds I didn't sow last season?"

The answer is yes. Mostly.

Here's the thing: most seeds will last three to five years kept dry and stable, relatively low temperatures. A kitchen cupboard or desk drawer are perfect places for seeds. So planting seed from the year or two prior is perfect. 

The only exception: anything in the allium family (onion, leek, scallion, chive, shallot) and parsnip. Their seed coat is thin and fragile, so they readily oxidize and lose their germination. These are the only seeds to purchase each year. If you do have extra from years past, sow them more densely than you would if their germination was optimal. 

Many seeds are delicious as seedlings...

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