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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!

I've been receiving a lot of questions lately, either via our company's email address, phone calls and/or messages on social media about the shelf life of seeds, specifically in the retail seed packets. Many want to know if they should throw the seed packets they bought from us and buy new seeds for the next season, as theirs will be "expired" by the time they can plant again.

Most experienced gardeners have figured out not to throw away their seed packets, but some novice might look at the sell-by date and think their seeds have gone bad. For many, it makes the simple act of gardening more expensive than it has to be.

The simple answer to this question is that no, you do not need to buy new seeds for the next season. And then again... yes, you do! It really depends on the type of seeds and if you can afford to do a replanting if your germination rate and/or viability is not where you want it to be.

Here's a little chart I but together this morning to show you the average viability of common vegetable and herb seeds, by year from harvest.

Read the entire article here: The Shelf Life of Seeds.

r/vegetablegardening - The Shelf life of Seeds

Those are just the official numbers. I grew loads of great crops from older seeds than that and I am sure many here have stories of very old seeds that went on to produce crops anyway.

For example, I grew 75lbs of onions in our family garden this summer with very old seeds. Granted, germination rate was maybe 30%, but I used up all the older seeds and fed my family with the products! Now, as a general rule we gift seeds that have passed the sell-by date to community gardens and other charities, but 4-5 years old onion seeds were not fit to give to anyone, so I tossed them onto a tray and grew what I could.

Long rambling just to let you know not to get too hung up on the chart, even if I made it myself!

Hope this helps and remember: anyone in zones 6 and above can still plant lettuce, radishes, arugula, mustards... the list goes on! Cheers!
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