Are my old garden seed still usable?


Most seed packets state the year of intended use, usually on the top or bottom flap, and many also list minimum germination standards and usual seed life. That's a good place to start when determining whether or not you can use seeds from past seasons.

Seeds that have been stored in a cool, dry place are generally viable for at least a year past the season for which they were packaged and may be good for up to five years. Here is an article "Give seeds a test for A+ performance" that lists average seed life for common vegetables and flowers. The article also includes an easy germination test you can do to check your seeds before planting.

Was this page helpful?

Related Content from OSU Extension

Ask an Expert
Photo: Design by Erik Simmons.

Have a Question? Ask an Expert!

Ask an Expert is a way for you to get answers from the Oregon State University Extension Service. We have experts in family and health, community development, food and agriculture, coastal issues, forestry, programs for young people, and gardening.

Ask Us a Question