Sorting some surplus stored seeds

I finally decided to tackle a job that I’ve been putting off for quite a while — sorting my old seeds. This is a good time  of the year to do it since things are on-hold out in the garden.

There’s a large storage tub full of seed packs that I’ve been accumulating for years. At one time I had them pretty well organized. However, during the past few gardening seasons, I’ve rummaged through the tub looking for particular seeds and was not very careful putting them back in the right place. Now they’re getting disheveled again.

There are quite a few packs that have never opened. Many of those are professional-grade packs that have the original factory seal and are air-tight. Some of those contain hundreds of seeds.

I set up a sheet of plywood on a pair of sawhorses to use as a temporary table while I sort out my seeds..

I set up a sheet of plywood on a pair of sawhorses to use as a temporary table while I sort out my seeds.

I know many of the seeds are too old and are no longer viable — I’ll have to toss those out. Others are still OK so, those will go back into storage.

As for the seeds I’m not sure about, I plan to do a simple germination test. Here’s the way I do it: 1) take a set number of seeds and roll them up in a damp paper towel; 2) put the rolled up paper towel inside a plastic zip-lock bag; 3) place it in a warm spot and check them once a day.

If the seeds are good, they will usually sprout in several days time. Then I count the number of seeds that germinated and calculate the germination percentage. That gives me a rough idea how well the seeds will perform this spring.

Once this project is done, it will be a lot easier to keep track of my surplus seeds in the future.


Bob Dluzen
As a result of being a gardener for more than 40 years, 30 of those as a professional, Bob's gardening has become an integral part of his life. "It's the ever-changing seasons and the wide variety of plants and gardens that keeps me intrigued," he says. Bob lives and gardens in rural Monroe County.