Tips on Vegetable Seeds, buying and storing

How to get the best usage from your vegetable seeds

The most important things about buying Vegetable seeds are 1. How many you are buying and 2. Can I use them again.


The situation is that for instance, buy a packet of Carrot Seeds and you'll probably get 1,000 seeds, so should they all come up (you never know!!), you'll have to eat 3 carrots a day all year round - and they don't make you see in the dark!

The thing we are prone to do is to make the drill for the seeds, sprinkle them in, then find we have loads left, so we make another row and you know the rest!

There's also a tendency to try some of the lesser known varieties of some vegetables. If you're growing your own for the first time I advise to buy the popular's ie. Autumn King Carrots, Ailsa Craig or Stuttgarter Onions etc. The popular varieties are tried and tested over many years, stand up to more wear and tear and will serve you well.

So, the big question is, "If I don't use all my seeds, can I use them again next year...........

Storing and using Vegetable Seeds again

Although almost all Seed Packets will have a sell by or use by date on them, it is quite common practice for seasoned Gardeners to use the same packet over again.

The secret is in the storage.

Most vegetable seeds, if stored correctly will certainly keep for next year. Seeds such as Tomatoes, Carrots, Peas and Beans can last up to 4 years ; Cucumber and Lettuce have been known to last up to 6 years.

To make this possible you must follow these guidelines..........

Store in an airtight box or canister (Plastic Biscuit Boxes are good)
Keep in a cool dark place with an even temperature (even the cooling box within a fridge
Some people freeze their seeds over Winter. I haven't tried it, but it's supposed to work well

The only worry about using old seeds is if they are going to germinate or not. There are two ways to show they are OK or not.

1. Sow a very small amount in a tray in the Greenhouse before normal sowing time and see if they come up or not.
2. Sow as early as possible. If the packet says early March, sow them very early March if the temperature is OK. If they don't come up, at least you have time to pop down the Garden Centre and buy a new packet.

I've re-used seeds many times, the only one's I've had problems with have been Beetroot and Runner Beans. I know a packet of seeds isn't a lot of money, but any saving is a good saving.

So, you've used a third of a packet of Carrot seeds and got say 200 Carrots from it - how much would they cost to buy off the Supermarket Shelf - and you only paid between £1 and £3 for them.

Growing your own makes a lot of sense doesn't it !

Down the Lane

Go to the Seed Section with a notebook and write what you want down on paper, then go back home and plan your Plot

Lost between the Sweet Corn and Runner Beans!

The Vegetable Year
Pages written by my good friend John Harrison



Weeding the Runner Beans

Weeding, not nice, but you'll thank yourself when the food's on the table!

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