Saturday, February 10, 2018

Easy Seed Viability Check

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!!

16 comments:

wisps of words said...

There is a way, to check old seeds! Thank you.

And I'm so glad your experiment, came out positive.

Wishing you snow! So you won't have a dry spring. We still have the rest of Feb., and even March. To get more snowfall. I would send you some of mine, if I could! :-)))

The Wykeham Observer said...

I have a lot of old seed packs. What am I waiting for? Thanks for sharing!

Mama Pea said...

wisps of words - Believe it or not, we traditionally get more inches of snow in March than any other winter month here in northern Minnesota, so there is still hope for us!

Mama Pea said...

Phil - Yes, by all means do check those "old" seeds. I know gardeners who always toss any seeds left from the past season and buy all new. Whadda waste!!

Kristina said...

I'm actually doing that with my radish seeds right now. Before I open all those pods in my garage.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I am always astonished at the power of nature's seeds.I love those stories where archeologists find, in clay pots or tombs, ancient seeds that are successfully grown out into seed producing plants. Or how about those ancient, viable seeds thawing out of ice age permafrost.Truly amazing and magical!!!-M

Katie C. said...

thank you for this post! I have a bunch of seeds that I am not sure about. Did you just put the sprouted seeds in the compost pile? In the past, I have put old seeds in the bird feeder though lately, I should call it the FAT squirrel feeder!

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - Great idea before you go to the work of removing all the seeds from the pods! I'm betting the seeds will be good.

Mama Pea said...

M - Yes, it's those that have been frozen for umpteen years that I find amazing! (That might come in handy up here near the tundra some time!!)

Mama Pea said...

Katie C. - I put the carrot sprouted seeds in the chicken bucket! There were so few of them they probably went unnoticed by the chickens though!

Rain said...

Oh thank you for that advice Mama Pea! I do have some very old seeds and I'm always worried I'll be wasting my time planting them, now I know! :)

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Hi Mama Pea! I am so far behind in my blogs that I think I am first! This is my second attempt at trying to post this comment...Blogger is cheeky lately! YAY for the seeds sprouting! YAY for scarlet nantes...I love those carrots!

wisps of words said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog, today.

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Seeds are getting so expensive that I don't think any of us want to discard ones that are still viable! And yet we don't want to plant ones that will never germinate either!!

Mama Pea said...

MrsDM - Good ol' Scarlet Nantes have been my main carrot crop for many years. An old standard that has been very reliable for me.

Blogger is still giving me fits, too. Grrrr!

Mama Pea said...

wisps of words - You're very welcome!