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Check Stored Seeds for Viability

Don’t discard those left over seeds from last season.  When properly stored, many seeds can last for years, saving you money when you plan and plant this year’s garden.

Use this quick and easy test to see if your stored seeds are still viable.  Place 10 seeds on a damp paper towel.  Roll up the towel with the seeds safely tucked inside.  Set the paper towel in a plastic bag and store in a warm dark location. 

After a week or so, unwrap the paper towel and check the seeds for spouting. If nothing has happened rewrap the seeds and wait a few more days. 

If all the seeds have sprouted, you have 100% germination and can plant the seeds as you normally would.  If only half the seeds sprout, you should sow the seeds twice as thick to compensate for lower germination.  You can plant these sprouted seeds if space, growing conditions and time allows.

And if none of the seeds sprout, consider breaking out the glue and getting the family involved in turning these nonviable seeds into seed art.

A bit more information: Improve seed longevity with proper storage.  Leave them in their original package so all the planting information will be available.  Place the envelope in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or a consistently cool, not freezing location.  Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, muskmelon, radishes and spinach can last an average of 5 years.

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