This time of year finds many of us out planting away with some brand new packets of seeds. In the square foot gardening method, we only plant what we intend to eat, in other words, if we know we will eat 20 salads in a week we will only plant 20 seeds(5 squares.) And if you’re not that confident that your single seed in each hole will come up, maybe you’ll plant 40 seeds. Either way, you’re still going to save 98% of that seed packet during your first year. If you went into a nursery and told them you’ve got some seeds left over from the previous year, you know what you’re going to hear. “Those are no good-you’ll need to buy some new seeds.” My experience, as well as many others, says otherwise. Seeds need three things to grow: warmth, light, and moisture. To store your seeds so that they will be good for many years down the road you simply reverse that process. You’ll need to store your seeds in a place that is “cool, dark, and dry.” That usually takes us to the crisper section of the refrigerator. Done this way, you will have seeds that may last up to 10 years! Right now I’ve been able to sprout tomato seeds that are 10 years old this year. Many of my seeds are 4, 5, or 6 years old. While it’s true that you lose a percentage of viability over time, all that does it tell us that we will not be planting 2 or 3 seeds in each hole, but maybe more like 6 or 7 if the seeds are really older. It’s not necessary to buy seeds every year, although the temptation is almost too much to take when the seed catalogs start arriving in the dead of winter. This picture shows concept lettuce which was started with seeds that were 5 years old.
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