Seed Viability Test

comments (0) February 21st, 2011

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yourownvictorygarden Greg Holdsworth, contributor
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Video Length: 4:24
Produced by: Greg Holdsworth

Here's a simple test to see if your vegetable seeds are viable and ready to plant. The required items are most likely things you already have in your home - spray bottle w/water, paper towel, plastic bag, and of course the seeds you wish to test.

You simply put 10 seeds on the paper towel, lightly spray them with water, then cover it with either a second paper towel or fold over the first sheet in half. Place the moist towel in the plastic bag, seal it, then put it in a dark location at room temperature. It's a good idea to label each bag with the date and the type of seed tested, especially if you are checking multiple packets.

You'll wait about a week to 10 days to see if any of the seeds appear to have sprouted in the bag. Only open the bag to check to see if it is still moist, every 2-3 days perhaps.

After that, take the paper towel out of the bag, gently open it, and see how many seeds sprouted. We did ten seeds because it represents percentages to 100. If only 3-4 seeds (30-40%) sprout for example, then you will have to either plant more or not use them at all. If at least 6-7 seeds (60-70%) sprout, they are probably still good.

The only catch here is that you have to have enough seeds to test. Better safe than sorry, right?

Have fun!

For more on articles and videos on starting seeds, see All About Starting Seeds.

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posted in: seeds, seed-starting, planting