Most gardeners have good intentions when buying seeds and that’s the reason they often purchase seed packets which contain more seeds than you plant in one season. Over time you may have many partial packets of seeds without knowing how old they are.
Do you think you can plant them no matter how old they are? So, rather than wasting money you’ve spent on purchasing seeds, why not to test the viability of seeds to know that there’s any life left in them?
Importance Of Plant Vigour:
Most seeds, though not all will keep for at least three years while maintaining decent percentage of germination. When properly stored, seeds shelf life can be extended yet, even then there is no guarantee that will still productive for next seasons planting. So, here are some simple ways to check the viability of seeds to plant them for next season.
Tests To Check The Viability Of Seeds:
- Germination Test:
Take some of your seeds and place them in a row on damp paper towel. Fold the paper towel and keep it in a zip-up plastic bag and seal it. Then place it in warm location like on top of refrigerator or on the top shelves. Don’t forget to check them often, once in a day to check the moisture level of paper towel.
If it needs water, carefully mist the paper towel where it needs to be damp. But, be careful not to apply too much water and make sure the seeds are away from direct sunlight.
Seeds can germinate in several days up to couple of weeks, depending on the seed type. A good rule of thumb is, wait for 10 days and for best results research the germination of specific seeds.
Once the time is done, check the seeds to know how many have germinated and home many not. If you placed 10 seeds on paper towel, it will be quite easy for you to calculate. If you see more than 5 sprouted, then your seeds have a lot of vigor left in them and if less than 5 seeds are sprouted, then you may not have much success when it come to planting.
Some people often wait for germination test until the planting time, so that they can directly plant them in their garden which is a good way to cut time and ensure the plants will beautifully flourish beautifully outdoors.
- Water Test:
This is very simple to do, take container of water and put your seeds in it. Leave them in water for about 15 minutes and if seeds sink, they’re viable and if they float, they most likely will not sprout. However, this is not the best way to check the viability, so use germination test for your seeds.
No matter what step you choose to test the viability of seeds, remember that every seed is different and results also may vary.
Should You Not Use The Old Seeds?
As I said earlier, different seeds and crops will have varied plant vigour. You can use old seeds if they were stored properly and which shows no signs of no vigour. If you germinate your old seeds, but the growth is poor and don’t look normal, then it’s better to buy fresh seeds instead.