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Seed Storage Times and Viability

Seed Storage Times and Viability

How long can we store vegetable seeds and still expect them to germinate and grow when planted?

Table below shows the longevity of vegetable seeds in near perfect storage conditions. It is a compilation of my own experience, experience from other gardening bloggers and “estimates” published by gardening websites. Please note that these values can and will vary widely depending on your individual conditions, so virtually everyone will have a different experience. While reasonably accurate, the numbers below are achievable if you follow seed storage guidelines to the best of your possibilities. The numbers are conservative, meaning you could probably store your seeds for longer periods, but again, these are rough estimates for well stored seeds!

Best seeds storage conditions are: very dry, dark, low and stable temperature. These conditions aren’t that hard to achieve if you use a plastic or metal container or ammo case. Put some desiccant (like silica gel) with your seeds in the case, and store the case in a dry and cool (circa 45°F) place. Bear in mind that the temperature should be as steady as possible! In extreme situation, if you have water-resistant container, you could bury it two feet in the ground.

If storage conditions are ideal, some seeds can last twice as long as shown in this table, but these conditions aren’t easy to sustain for such a long periods of time.

The table is sorted alphabetically, but you can click on “relative longevity” text in header to sort it by longevity if you prefer. Or you can search for particular vegetable using the search bar. If you find this table useful , feel free to bookmark it or share it.

 kind of seedrelative longevity (years)
Asparagus
3-4
Beans
3-6
Beets
3-4
Broccoli
4-5
Brussels Sprouts
4-5
Cabbage
4-5
Cabbage, Chinese
3-4
Cantaloupe
6-10
Carrots
3-5
Cauliflower
4-5
Celeriac
4-5
Celery
3-5
Chicory
4-5
Collards
4-5
Corn
4-6
Corn salad (mache)
5-6
Corn, sweet
2-3
Cress
5-6
Cucumbers
5-7
Eggplants
3-5
Escarole/Endive
3-4
Kale
4-5
Kohlrabi
4-5
Leeks
2-4
Lettuce
3-5
Mustard
5-8
Okra
1-2
Onions
2-4
Parsley
3-5
Parsnips
1-3
Peas
4-6
Peppers (all)
3-5
Potatoes (real seed)
5-7
Pumpkins
3-5
Radish
3-5
Spinach
3-4
Squash (all)
3-5
Strawberry
3-6
Sunflower
4-6
Swiss Chard
3-4
Tomato
4-7
Turnip
5-8
Watermelon
4-6