I noticed something on the packets of B&Q seeds i was looking at, the sow by dates seem a lot shorter these days than they were many years ago. I allways save my own seeds when i leave a plant in long enough to collect them, i allways use heirloom or open polinated varieties too and NEVER buy F1's.
Overall, seed longevity is improved by storage in a cool dry place, out of direct light.
Some seeds can be expected to germinate well after having been stored for up to 10 years, most notably those of wheat, sorghum, rice and other grains.
Other types of long-lasting seeds include those in the brassica family—broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts—which can last about five years. More types of seeds with a longevity of four to five years include cucurbits—cucumbers, pumpkins, squash and some melons—as well as radishes, turnips, celery, Swiss chard, beets and lettuce,spinach may be among the longer-lived seeds or among those which last just a year or two, but it has lasted quite well for me, ive tried both(regular and perpetual).
The seeds in the nightshade family vary. Eggplant can last up to five years, tomatoes four, and peppers only two.I bought chilli/pepper grow kits from Aldi, one pot has grown allready covered by 1 cm of choir, the other two show nothing at the mo.
The midrange seeds—those which last about three years—include beans, peas and carrots.
Some sources say leeks can last up to three years, as well, and other sources place it in the shorter-lived category with its allium relatives such as onions.
In addition to onions and possibly leeks, other short-lived vegetable seeds which can be expected to last only one or two years include corn,parsley,and parsnips.Keep in mind that there are few hard and fast rules about how long each seed might last. The best thing to do is to give them a try, bearing in mind that the older the seeds and the shorter the general viability, the less likely they are to germinate. But there is no harm in trying a few on a wet paper towel inside a plastic sandwich bag;) to see ratio of germination to ammount of seed, it doesn't take long.
Open-pollinated seeds are those which can be replicated at home. In other words, the seeds produced by your open-pollinated vegetables can be dried, saved and planted next year, and the result will be the same vegetable as this year.
I bought some heirloom brassica seeds (mainly kales) in 2012 and still using from that pack, I also got some brassica seeds (all mixed in together including chaff lol) from my friends father in Portugal, they were wrapped simply in a small hessian sack and sent through the post, I'm still wading through the varieties, no labels lol (God Bless Him).
Hybrid seeds are genetic mutations. They very often produce a higher quality vegetable out of the seed packet, having been developed for specific purposes such as disease-resistance or drought tolerance or higher sugar content or better productivity. But the seeds from this year’s vegetables will not produce identical offspring next year.
If you are a seed-saver, open-pollinated is a must. If you are not, then it is OK to choose your seeds based upon other factors.
Gardening tips and questions.
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