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Fresh Seeds

August 20th, 2013

Earlier this summer when I planted my fall carrots I decided to to an experiment. I’ve noticed that fresh seeds often germinate faster and much better. Even though many seeds will technically store for many years, germination rates will often go down each year. When you’re planting fall crops, a week can make the difference between a good sized vegetable and a baby vegetable.
Carrot Seedlings 1
This first image is a row of carrots planted with fresh seed I purchased this season. The following photo is carrot seed that is two years old. Notice the difference in germination. The fresh seed germinated very quickly, after only 5 days. The older seed had spotty germination and some of it is just now germinating, two full weeks after the first photo.
Carrot Seedlings 2
I’m thinking from now on, I’ll focus on making sure I have fresh seed each season, at for fall crops when time really is of the essence. I’d rather spend a few dollars on a pack of fresh seed than wait two or three extra weeks for germination to occur. I’m already weeding through my seed stash culling the older seed, they’ll be sprinkled in flats this winter and grown as greens for the chickens. Some seed are fine with longer storage, like tomatoes, those I’ll continue to save.

Have noticed differing germination rates for fresh seed?

3 Comments to “Fresh Seeds”
  1. Nebraska Dave on August 20, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Susy, I’ve not tried to save any seeds yet but perhaps some day that will be on my list of things to do. I used to buy seeds at the big box store but found that for a few pennies more the seed companies provided a much better seed. Some seeds at the big box didn’t germinate at all. There are huge differences in seed and how they germinate and grow. In my humble opinion seed is the second most important thing in gardening right after soil preparation.

    Have a great fall seed sowing day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  2. bonnie k. on August 20, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    I always think I’ll throw a little extra turnip seed on the patch to compensate for the lower germination rates of older seeds. HA! I still always manage to sow them too thickly. I guess turnip seeds keep well.

    I need to cull my stash of old seeds, too.

    Some seeds, such as peas seem to keep well for me in the freezer.

    Reply to bonnie k.'s comment

  3. Rocky on August 26, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Carrots, onions, beans seeds are known to last the shortest even when kept in air tight cans in refrigerator. Sometimes, even if they germinate, plants from old seeds struggle to grow. I usually save seeds, but often regret using them after a while.

    Reply to Rocky's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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