By Vanessa Richins
Many gardeners choose to store garden seeds–especially from vegetables–at the end of the growing season, but the seeds will not last forever.
The natural shelf life of garden seeds depends on the kind of plant.
Store seeds in a cool, dry location so they will last longer than their natural shelf life.
They can be placed in a sealed jar in the refrigerator with a moisture absorbent like rice, silica packets or powdered milk.
Seeds that can be stored successfully for one year include parsnips, spinach and sweet corn. Annual flower seeds can last from one to three years.
Beans, beets, parsley, peas, peppers and Swiss chard have a natural shelf life of two years. Leeks and onions can last two to three years. Perennial flower seeds are good for two to four years.
A shelf life of three years can be expected for carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, melons, Oriental greens, rutabagas, and tomatoes. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard, kale and kohlrabi will last three to five years. Squash seeds can be planted for three to four years.
Radish and turnip seeds can last up to four years.