How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

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How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

Organic Gardening and Seed Saving, Homesteading, Raising Livestock, Herbal Remedies and Homestead Recipes

How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

How long do seeds last, really? If you’re a gardener, that’s probably a question you’ve asked at some point!

There are a lot of different numbers, out there, because there are many factors that can affect a seed’s longevity. If you are a seed saver, your homegrown seeds, hand-harvested at the perfect time, have the potential to last much longer than a crop of commercial seed that was all harvested at the same time.

Every year, seeds lose a little of their vigor, so the quality and percentage of plants that will germinate goes down a little each year. For example, a batch of beet seeds might have 85% germination its first year. By year three maybe only 75% would sprout, and by year 5 only 65%. Once the germination rate gets down in the 60’s, the plant quality can begin to deteriorate slightly. These numbers are not hard and fast, just an example of how germination rates work! Seed will always be at its best the first year or two after it was grown.

How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

These numbers will give you a general idea of the longevity of some common garden vegetables. These numbers are based on seed that was harvested correctly and stored in optimal conditions.

- Corn, flour/flint/popcorn 6-12 years

- Squash, summer/winter 6-10 years

Seed storage plays a huge role in how long your seeds will last!

The two biggest factors that will affect your seeds’ longevity are temperature and moisture. Exposure to light also plays a role.

How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

Storing Seeds at Room Temperature

Seeds should normally be stored in paper so that they have some airflow, not in glass or plastic. Unless you have gone to extra measures to reduce the moisture content of your seeds, they need to breathe!

Seeds stored in paper out of sunlight should last somewhere in the timeframes listed above.

If your climate or your home are very hot or humid, those numbers will go down.

To extend seed life, you can dry your seeds in a dehydrator at 95F for a few hours , or place them in a container with silica gel for several days. Seeds dried this way can be stored in an airtight containers such as glass jars, and will last longer than seeds stored in paper.

How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

Freezing can extend seed life by tenfold or more! Seeds stored in a freezer can last anywhere from 20 to hundreds of years!

Only freeze seeds that are extra dry. Seeds with excess moisture can crack in the freezer. As described above, you can dry your seeds in a dehydrator at 95F for a few hours , or place them in a container with silica gel for several days.

To test the moisture content of larger seeds, you can crush a seed with a hammer or rock. A seed that is dry will shatter, while one with excessive moisture will just look smashed.

Frozen seeds should be stored in an airtight container. Paper envelopes stored in a freezer can get wet, and you want your seeds to stay extra dry!

Frozen seeds should be allowed to thaw before you open the container so that moisture doesn’t condense and get them wet!

How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

Want to Learn More About Seeds?

The art of saving seeds from your garden is quickly gaining popularity. When you save your own vegetable seeds, you can have your favorite varieties year after year, without paying a penny for them!

You can collect rare heirloom vegetables from around the world, or come up with your own brand new variety! Seeds saved from your garden will gradually become more adapted to your climate and your specific soil.

And if you are overwhelmed by all the info out there about seed saving, we can help! We’ve developed an online course for beginning seed savers that organizes everything you need to know into a simple, easy-to-follow and visual format. The course can be completed in as little as an afternoon!

With a one-time purchase, you can have lifetime access to the course. You’ll also get downloadable reference charts for more than 20 garden veggies, making it easy to remember what you’ve learned!

How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

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How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

Organic Gardening and Seed Saving, Homesteading, Raising Livestock, Herbal Remedies and Homestead Recipes

How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

How long do seeds last, really? If you’re a gardener, that’s probably a question you’ve asked at some point!

There are a lot of different numbers, out there, because there are many factors that can affect a seed’s longevity. If you are a seed saver, your homegrown seeds, hand-harvested at the perfect time, have the potential to last much longer than a crop of commercial seed that was all harvested at the same time.

How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

Every year, seeds lose a little of their vigor, so the quality and percentage of plants that will germinate goes down a little each year. For example, a batch of beet seeds might have 85% germination its first year. By year three maybe only 75% would sprout, and by year 5 only 65%. Once the germination rate gets down in the 60’s, the plant quality can begin to deteriorate slightly. These numbers are not hard and fast, just an example of how germination rates work! Seed will always be at its best the first year or two after it was grown.

These numbers will give you a general idea of the longevity of some common garden vegetables. These numbers are based on seed that was harvested correctly and stored in optimal conditions.

- Corn, flour/flint/popcorn 6-12 years

- Squash, summer/winter 6-10 years

Seed storage plays a huge role in how long your seeds will last!

How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

The two biggest factors that will affect your seeds’ longevity are temperature and moisture. Exposure to light also plays a role.

Storing Seeds at Room Temperature

Seeds should normally be stored in paper so that they have some airflow, not in glass or plastic. Unless you have gone to extra measures to reduce the moisture content of your seeds, they need to breathe!

Seeds stored in paper out of sunlight should last somewhere in the timeframes listed above.

If your climate or your home are very hot or humid, those numbers will go down.

How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

To extend seed life, you can dry your seeds in a dehydrator at 95F for a few hours , or place them in a container with silica gel for several days. Seeds dried this way can be stored in an airtight containers such as glass jars, and will last longer than seeds stored in paper.

Freezing can extend seed life by tenfold or more! Seeds stored in a freezer can last anywhere from 20 to hundreds of years!

Only freeze seeds that are extra dry. Seeds with excess moisture can crack in the freezer. As described above, you can dry your seeds in a dehydrator at 95F for a few hours , or place them in a container with silica gel for several days.

To test the moisture content of larger seeds, you can crush a seed with a hammer or rock. A seed that is dry will shatter, while one with excessive moisture will just look smashed.

Frozen seeds should be stored in an airtight container. Paper envelopes stored in a freezer can get wet, and you want your seeds to stay extra dry!

How Long Do Seeds Last, Really?

Frozen seeds should be allowed to thaw before you open the container so that moisture doesn’t condense and get them wet!

Want to Learn More About Seeds?

The art of saving seeds from your garden is quickly gaining popularity. When you save your own vegetable seeds, you can have your favorite varieties year after year, without paying a penny for them!

You can collect rare heirloom vegetables from around the world, or come up with your own brand new variety! Seeds saved from your garden will gradually become more adapted to your climate and your specific soil.

And if you are overwhelmed by all the info out there about seed saving, we can help! We’ve developed an online course for beginning seed savers that organizes everything you need to know into a simple, easy-to-follow and visual format. The course can be completed in as little as an afternoon!

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