14 Dec 2022 15:17

Are old seeds still good?



We are about to enter a new year. But we are also about to enter a new greenhouse year. In just a short amount of time, all of our seed distributers will burst with a new assortment for 2023. Every year at Spirekassen, we are very busy at Christmas time, because we reveal our 2023 news the 15th of December.  

Seeds are a puzzling sort.  

All seeds are constructed, even though they look different. All seeds have a package filled with essential nutrients, carbs, fat, and protein. This package is called endosperm.  The endosperm is consumed in the time the seed is lying comfortable in its paper envelope, keeping it capable of germination.  



Store your seeds correctly 

If you store your seeds in the best possibly way, they will last longer. It is quite often, if you store your seeds the wrong way, that your seeds end up losing their ability to germinate. The best thing you can do for your seeds, is to store them at an even temperature, in a cool place, and keep it dark and dry. Remember, correct storage counts from the moment you get your seeds, to the moment the last seed is used.  



No, no, no! 

  • Storing your seed envelopes in a shed or outbuilding   
  • Storing your seeds in your living room  
  • Storing your seeds in your windowsill  
  • Storing your seeds in an airy basement  



Spirekassens best advice for storage  

  • Place your seed envelopes in a plastic bag  
  • Thoroughly close your bag  
  • Place the envelope in your fridge when not used.  

Restart your old seeds.  

On most seed envelopes you will find an expiration date or a ‘’best before date’’. It is good to follow this date, however, you can still use your seeds, even if they have surpassed the expiration date. Do you have a seed, that has not been stored correctly and have surpassed the ‘’best before date’’? 

Some seeds might actually be too old and should be thrown away, but sometimes that is not the case. Seeds can go into seed dormancy. Seeds who are in seed dormancy, will typically not sprout, even if correctly stored. One of the reasons, could be, if your seeds contain a large amount of naturally occurring growth hormone, such as abscissin acid. There are different kinds of seed dormancy. A seed dormancy can be stopped, by placing your seed envelope in an airtight bag in the refrigerator, for about a week. Some even place their seeds in an airtight bag in their freezer, for a couple of days. The cold is an easy and simple way to restart older seeds.     

Facts about durability  

  • Seeds with a short durability: Carrot, been, Phlox drummondii, Nigella, squash, beet 
  • Seeds with a medium long durability: Cosmos, Snapdragon, salad  
  • Seeds with a long durability: Tomato, cucumber, monks’ cress, Zinnia, Calendula 

Seeds aren’t just seeds  

A lot of private consumers buy their seeds online. The quality of seeds, in online shops, often fluctuate. Spirekassens best advice, is to make sure your seeds are stored correctly at your supplier. If your seeds are not cooled during long term storage, they will most likely not be viable. Insufficient colling will almost always end with a bad product.  


 Be smart  

At the entrance of a DIY centre or a garden centre, you will often face racks bursting with seeds. This placement does not meet the proper storage requirement for seeds, as is does not have an even temperature at all times, it is not always cooled, dark or dry.  


Om Spirekassen

Christine Wiemann is a greenhouse grower and an agricultural technician and owner of the seed company Spirekassen. Christine is an author of several books about lifestyle, garden life and plant cultivation. Today she writes blogs and shares her knowledge and passion for greenhouses. Christine is a greenhouse expert and an ambassador for Juliana Drivhuse.

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