Spring Garden Tips
Saving Leftover Seeds

Extend the Life of Leftover Seeds

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As you pack away the garden hose, tools and other supplies don’t forget about the left over seeds. Proper storage can extend their life - and that means you need to buy fewer next season.

Leave the seeds in their original packet that contains all the information you need to make planting easier next season. Place them in an air tight container like this plastic one. Or maybe a recycled jar – it will work just fine. Seal it up and place the container in the refrigerator – not freezer. The consistently cool temperature will increase storage success.

The longevity of a seed depends not only on proper storage but the type of seed. Eggplant, muskmelon and Brussels sprouts will last five years or more. But use up those onions and parsnips quickly as they only last about a year.

Once your seeds are packed away you can get back to your other fall chores.

Vegetable Seed Longevity

1 Year       Onions, parsley, parsnips and salsify

2 Years     Corn, okra and pepper

3 Years     Beans and peas

4 Years     Beets, fennel, rutabagas, squash, chard, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon

5 years     Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, muskmelon, radishes, spinach


A bit more information: Many gardeners like to collect seeds from their garden plants to save over winter and use in next year’s garden. Offspring of hybrid and wind or insect pollinated plants do not always grow and look exactly like their parents. The flower or fruit color may vary, the plants may be shorter or taller or leaf color may differ from the parent plant. Some gardeners like the surprises that the collected seeds yield. If you don’t like surprises, then limit your seed saving to purchased seeds or those collected from self pollinating heirloom species.

If all this sounds too complicated, get creative and use poor germinating or left over seeds to create works of art. Yours doesn’t have to be as large or intricate as this seed art on the wall outside a church in Mexico. Just gather the family, seeds, glue and cardboard and have some fun.


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