A week or so ago when I went through my supply of garden seeds to see what new ones I needed to order for the coming season, I found a rather large packet of Scarlet Nantes carrot seeds. They had a date of 2009 on them.
Would they still be viable? If I used them, could I be assured of getting my usual good crop of carrots?
Only one way to be sure. See if the seeds would sprout.
An easy way to do this is to spread some seeds on a piece of paper toweling that had been folded a few times, moisten the seeds and paper towel, and place them in a small plastic bag, closed but not sealed.
I put the bag on the shelf of my kitchen island about six feet from the wood stove in the kitchen. I knew the seeds would be warm enough during the day, but also knew the temperature in the kitchen cools down significantly during the night. That didn't seem to have a negative effect on the test. (Whew!)
This morning, a week after moistening the seeds and placing them in the plastic bag, I took a look at them.
Nearly every one of them had sprouted.
Here's a shot where you can see the sprouts better.
The experiment turned out just the way I hoped it would. I've always had good luck saving "older" seeds and being able to use them years past the year I got them.
I did include some new carrot seeds on my recent seed order, but feel confident I can go ahead and use these seeds from 2009 in the garden this year. Yay!!