Approximate life expectancy of vegetable seeds stored under favorable conditions.
|Cabbage||4||New Zealand spinach||3|
Some veggies that I had a tough time germinating last year were onions (poor), parsley (poor), parsnips (zero), spinach (poor), and leeks (poor). Three of those five show up as to having just a one year seed life expectancy. Now, my usual plan is to buy the leftover seed from the past year when it goes on sale for 50% off packet price. Not such a good plan if it results in lousy or zero germination.
I just went through my rather huge piles of seed packets to retrieve those seeds with short life expectancies. I am going to plant ALL of those seeds shortly to see what happens. And buy fresh seed to plant for items I particularly want, such as Walla Walla onions. I am finding that the cold frames are great for extending the fall greens harvest into winter, but I need now to get started on planting to look ahead to the spring gardens.
A different reference suggests that spinach seeds are very short lived:
These folks are suggesting just one year for spinach rather than the three years suggested by the Iowa reference. My experience with poor germination of spinach either in cell packs or sown directly, would support this second reference. Maybe using fresh spinach seed would finally result in a decent crop. And another thought. Is the quality and viability of a plant that does germinate from old seed less than that of a plant germinated from fresh seed? Even the spinach plants that I have been able to germinate have had short lives before succumbing to some insect pest. So all of the spinach seed on hand gets used or trashed as well. Maybe I can reduce a lot of packet clutter.