Germination Testing

I bought a bunch of seeds two years ago, and have a few more that I have gathered up from the past five years. I have not stored them carefully. They were thrown in a cardboard box and placed in my grandma’s bomb shelter basement while I was in Georgia. Lately, they have been in a plastic bin outside.


I decided to test the viability of the seeds. It’s pretty easy. It turns out I have quite a batch of seeds and it took a while. Here is what I did.

I placed 10 seeds in a wet paper towel, placed that in a fold-top sandwich bag and put it on my water heater.

set out1

A week and half later I checked it all. I shouldn’t have waited that long, I just forgot. Ideally, I should have been checking them every 2-3 days.


Vegetable seeds germinate quickly and have a high viability rate. And most last 2-5 years just fine. My germination tests resulted in 90-100% for the majority of the seeds. Only a few varieties didn’t have a high rate of germination, some of which were moldy and hence need a re-test.


I’m getting excited for spring…the snow is almost melted, the weather is warming up. I’ve been pruning shrubs and found a bluemist shrub that had self-propagated a beautiful layered cutting. I re-planted it in my own garden.  The seed shelf has been constructed, and I’m planning on starting some vegetable starts soon.


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