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Are your old seeds still good?

Can you still use your old seeds in your Planty Garden? Do a germination test: that's how you check which seeds will still sprout roots. I'll show you how.
My old seeds
You only need a few seeds to get your Planty Garden growing. If you've been at it for a year or 2, you probably have some old seeds lying around. Or maybe you just got some of a friend.

So, the question is: how do you know if you can still use your seeds?

Germination power

Germination power is the percentage of seeds that will sprout when the conditions are right. The more germination power, the more likely it is that you'll see seedlings emerge when you sow them. 

A lot of seeds can be left on the shelf for years. Peas or radishes, to name a couple. Others lose their ability to germinate sooner, like old lettuce and spinach. They have a tougher time. 

A simple test makes it easy to see which seeds have a good chance at making it in your garden. 

How to do a germination test

Take a plastic to-go container or Tupperware and place a damp paper towel on the bottom, folded in half. 
Seeds on a damp paper towel, ready for testing
Put your seeds in rows and then cover the container with plastic wrap. The plastic keeps the paper towel from drying out. 

Put a sheet of paper under the container. Write each vegetable's name on it. Otherwise, you'll forget which is which. Trust me, I know from experience.

Lastly, cover the container with a dark cloth. Some seeds only germinate in the dark.

Just a little patience

Over the next few days, you should see the seeds start to sprout.

But beware: not all seeds germinate at the same speed. Radishes will take just a few days, lettuce takes a little longer and spinach seeds take about 10 days.

Check the app for each vegetable's germination timeframe. You can also check the seed description in the webshop
Germinated seeds

So, are they keepers?

Do almost all your seeds sprout? Then their powers of germination are strong 😉  You can use them.

Do only a few germinate, or none at all? Then toss them in the trash. It's a bummer, but nothing's more frustrating than sowing, waiting for weeks, and then seeing nothing come up.

Is it 50/50? Then you can still use the seeds. But when you sow, just plant a few extra seeds in each hole. Something like 5 instead of the usual 2 or 3.

If you get extra seedlings, you just thin them out later. 

Storing your seeds

Most seeds stay good for years, even longer than the date on the bag. You just need to keep them cool and dry. 

Mel Bartholomew writes in his Square Foot Gardening book that you should keep them in a sealed jar in the fridge. 

When you need them, you just:
  • open the fridge 
  • take out the jar
  • take out the seed bag
  • take out some seeds
  • put the bag back in the jar 
  • put the jar back in the fridge
Sounds good. In theory.
Seeds kept in open bags won't keep as well

In practice?

I'm not the greatest seed-storer of all time. Not as bad as the picture, but I don't do the fridge method.

My seedbox is usually left open and exposed in the pantry throughout the growing season. And sometimes, I find open bags in my coat pocket a week after I sowed them.

That's why I always check to see if my seeds are still good at the start of each sowing season.

Alternatief voor bewaren

You could also just use all your seeds instead. Or share your extra seeds with a neighbor.

Our seed selection gives you a lot of options to choose from: vegetables, herbs, and flowers that all work perfectly in our garden box, square patch system. The right size, quick to grow, and above all, delicious.

Each seed bag includes all the info you need to start sowing. Like how many plants you'll grow per square patch. And there are enough seeds in each bag to fill more than one vegetable patch.

You can get the bags separately or in bulk as seed packs. Each pack has its own theme:
  • basic - should be in every vegetable garden
  • climbers - for the climbing frame
  • specials - like it says: a bit special
  • total - the basic, specials and climber package
Dozens of seeds to choose from
Each seed pack comes with all the information you need about that seed. With our seed packs, you can easily keep a few vegetable garden boxes filled for the whole season.

All our seeds are included in the Planty Gardening app. So you get a free gardening coach that walks you through every step of the way. 

Doesn't get any better than that, does it? 😉

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