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    Posted on March 23rd, 2011 Pam No comments

    1. Buy only the seeds that will be planted this year.
     They say gardeners buy three times the seed they need each year. I probably buy five times the amount of seed I actually use. I also save seeds from heirloom vegetables I grow. I try to plant my ‘heirloom’ seeds each year to keep seed fresh, but that doesn’t always happen. 

    2. Know the life expectancy of various garden seeds. 
    Some seeds only have one year of good germination, it is good to know which seeds these are. Below is a list of vegetables and an estimate of their longevity. But remember, how the seeds are handled and cared for will also determine how long a seed will last and still germinate.
    Some recommend putting seeds in a glass jar and placing it in the refrigerator, others say a cold basement shelf will do the trick. I worry about putting seeds in the refrigerator, they might freeze if placed in the coldest part. Did you know the warmest place in a refrigerator is the door? That might be the best place for storing seeds.
    But however seeds are stored, keep them dry, cool and out of direct sunlight. I put all of my seeds in a box or a tub and away from light. I also test them for germination if I want to know if the seeds are still good.  


    1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Years +
    Onions Peppers Carrots Beets Cucumbers
    Parsley Sweet Corn Peas Broccoli Lettuce
        Spinach Cabbage Spinach
        Beans Swiss Chard Radish
    3. Mark seed packets. 
    It is a good idea to mark the seed packets when they are purchased each year. I use a different colored marker every year. Most of the seed packets will have a date, but having the packages color coordinated makes it easier to find the packages that need to be planted before their expiration date. Another thing that might be helpful is to write the last year they should be planted on the packet. 
    It is also good to keep the empty seed packets for future reference, I staple them in my garden journal. I also put other information next to the seed packet, such as, where and when I planted the seeds. 
    4. Take an inventory. 
    It is sometimes helpful to go through seed packets each Spring, before it is time to purchase new seeds. Make a list of the seeds to buy and separate the seeds that need to be planted this year before their expiration date expires. 
    5. More about germination. 
     Some seeds need a certain temperature before they will germinate. It is good to know what those conditions are for each type of seed. Some seeds will germinate at 50 degrees while others like a temperature as high as 85 degrees. Although some seeds will have some germination results at a lower or higher temperature, each seed has an optimum germination temperature. Some need light conditions while others need dark, some need a cold treatment first and some do not. Check the seed packet, some will give that type of information.


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