Spring Garden Heirloom Seeds

Asked January 2, 2013, 5:17 PM EST

I still have many Heirloom veggie seeds from last spring. I did not keep them refrigerated.
1.) Any chance they are still good?
2.) Is there a simple "test" to determine viability?

Clark County Nevada

1 Response

The short answer is - it depends on the plant. If the seeds were stored in the garage over the summer here in So. Nevada, your germination rate will probably be quite low. If they were kept at room temperature, some will germinate almost as well as new.
Members of the cabbage family (cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc.) will often remain viable for several years if kept at room temp. Onion seeds generally do not do well after a year, even under good conditions.
A quick test that will give you at least an idea: place a few seeds between two sheets of moist paper towel and place them somewhere like the top of a refrigerator, where it is a little warmer than room temp. Make sure they stay moist, not wet. If they are viable, they should germinate within a couple of weeks. if not, your chances of success are fairly low.
Good luck!
If you have other questions, please call the Master Gardener Help Line - 702-257-5555; it's open M-F, 8 - 5.