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Can you plant old seeds? 

Photo by Binyamin Mellish from Pexels.

Having too many seeds and failing to plant them all sometimes happens to gardeners. After planting a few, there are times we forget them in the storage and discover them again years later. It is still possible to grow these old seeds and the flowers and fruits from them will not differ from those grown from new seeds. 

 

Planting old seeds won’t cause any harm, but the focus must be made on their germination rate. Seeds must be alive for them to germinate. All seeds are alive given that they come from the mother plant. The important thing is to check if seeds are alive, even if they are old. Three things that mainly affect the seeds’ viability are age, type, and storage conditions. 

 

Age. Seeds are viable for a year or two. Although after a year, germination rates will likely decrease. 

 

Type. The type of seed determines the length of a seed’s viability as well. Seeds of tomatoes and carrots can stay alive in as much as four years as compared to corn and pepper. The viability of lettuce and cucumber seeds can last for up to six years. 

 

Storage conditions. Seeds can stay alive longer if they are properly stored. Place them in a cool, dark place like in the refrigerator. 

 

Whether old or new seeds, there’s nothing to lose if you try to grow them.  

 

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Agriculture Monthly magazine is the Philippines' best-selling magazine on all things agriculture. It is packed with information and inspiration on how to make the most of your farm or garden.

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