SAVING VEGETABLE SEEDS

Proper storage conditions keep seeds viable

By: Sandy Feather ©2009
Penn State Extension


Q. I grow a lot of open-pollinated varieties of vegetables so that I can save my own seed. What is the best way to store vegetable seed and how long will the veggie seeds remain viable?

A. Store your vegetable seed in airtight jars or containers in the refrigerator. Those silica gel packs that are shipped with shoes and electronic equipment can be placed in the container to help keep the seeds dry. Be sure to mark the seed containers with the variety and the date saved. Depending on the vegetable crop, seed will remain viable from one to five years. You can check the germination by sprouting the seeds between moist paper towels.

   Green Peppers

Green Peppers

If germination is low (say one out of ten seeds), discard the old seed and buy fresh seed. You may be able to plant enough of the old seed to get the desired number of plants.


Vegetable Seed Viability

Number of Years Vegetable Seed Can Be Stored
Source: Penn State Master Gardener Handbook

    VEGETABLE - YEARS

  • Asparagus  3
  • Bean  3
  • Beet  4
  • Broccoli  5
  • Brussels Sprouts  5
  • Cabbage  5
  • Carrot  3
  • Cauliflower  5
  • Celery  5
  • Chinese Cabbage  5
  • Collard  5
  • Cucumber  5
  • Eggplant  5
  • Endive  5
  • Kale  5
  • Kohlrabi  5
  • Leek  1
  • Lettuce  5
  • Muskmelon  5
  • Okra  2
  • Onion  1
  • Parsley  2
  • Parsnip  1
  • Pea  3
  • Pepper  4
  • Pumpkin  4
  • Radish  5
  • Rutabaga  5
  • Spinach  5
  • Squash  5
  • Sweet Corn  1
  • Tomato  4
  • Turnip  5
  • Watermelon  5