Save vegetable seeds from last season’s garden or have extra seeds left over from last year’s planting and wonder if the seeds are viable and will grow? Here is garden trick that will let you know how viable the left over seeds are before planting.
10 Seeds And A Piece Of Paper Towel
Take ten seeds of the same vegetable (corn, beans, tomatoes, etc.) and place them in a single layer in the center of the paper towel. Write the name of the seeds on the paper towel with a waterproof pen. Fold the paper towel over the garden seeds to form a small packet.
Wet Them, Bag Them And Keep Them Warm
Wet the paper towel under running water and wring out the excess water. Place the wet paper towel containing the garden seeds in a Ziploc bag and seal the bag. Place the Ziploc bag in a warm location away from direct sunlight. The top of the refrigerator works well for this step.
Do not disturb the seed packet for three or four days, then open to see if and/or how many of the garden seeds have sprouted. Open the Ziploc bag, unfold the paper towel and look for tiny roots and stems poking through the seed coating. If none of the garden seeds have sprouted, refold the paper towel, place it back in the Ziploc bag and back in the warm location for another three to four days.
Patience is key during this step. The waiting will tell you if the garden seeds will grow, how long it will take the seeds to germinate and the percentage of return that can be expected on the planting.
To Plant Or Not To Plant
If some or all of left over garden seeds sprouted during the first or second three to four day waiting period, here’s how to tell if they are worth the effort of planting or if the seeds should be discarded and new seeds purchased.
Multiply the number of germinated garden seeds by ten. If eight out of the ten seeds germinated, multiply the eight by ten. That’s an eighty percent rate of return if the garden seeds are planted. The seeds are good to plant. The number of days it took the garden seeds to sprout in the paper towel packet is the number of days the seeds will take to germinate after planting in the garden soil.
Fifty percent (five out of ten seeds) or less and the left over garden seeds should not be planted. The effort won’t be worth the return.
If left over garden seeds have been stored properly, they are usually good to be planted this season. Using this garden trick will tell for certain if the seeds are viable or not prior to planting.