The Shelf Life of Seeds

Park Seed Co. gold foil seed packs
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The Shelf Life of Seeds

Fresh Flower and Vegetable Seeds Are the Best Seeds, Here’s Why You Don’t Need to Wait to Order

Written by Annette, Park Seed’s Seed Analyst

You’ve likely noticed that we sell seeds year-round. Does that leave you thinking, “Why, Park Seed, I can’t plant them now – it’s snowing”? Even though it might be the wrong season for you, there are a couple of good reasons we sell seeds year-round.

We sell seeds across the country -- from Arizona to Alaska -- and accommodate each USDA Hardiness Zone’s planting season.

Some gardeners opt for an early and extended harvest by starting their seeds indoors and setting the young plants directly into the soil in spring once their Zone has passed the threat of frost.

Yes, Buy Those Seeds Now

So, when you see a new seed, a unique variety, a colorful blend, or from time to time a sale you’d like to take advantage of, yes! You absolutely can and probably should buy those seeds now. Popular and new varieties sell fast and often many seeds sell out during the busier spring season. Why is it ok to buy early? Because seeds are stable, sturdy, and hardy bits of life.

When properly stored in a cold (below 50 degrees Fahrenheit but above freezing) and dry place, all seeds should remain fresh for at least a year. As a rule of thumb, edibles like fruits and veggies can last up to six years when properly stored. The exception to this I've noticed, as the Park Seed seed analyst, is melons. They tend to behave more like flower seeds and hold up reliably for a maximum of about three years.

I've frequently been asked whether twenty-year-old seeds are going to grow. My honest answer is probably not, but you never know. We've all heard stories of rains in the desert causing plants thought extinct to burst back to life. My recommendation? Try it and see. If they grow share pictures, contact Park Seed, and share your story with all the gardeners you know. We'd enjoy sharing your experience with our gardeners too. Now back to the topic of proper storage.

As mentioned previously, the optimal conditions are cold and dry. Our Seed Room here at Park Seed is larger than my house and kept cold to maintain these optimal conditions. But, unless you're a commercial farmer, you’ll want a more practical option. Conveniently, your refrigerator is already set to the correct temperature range.

Patented Packaging for Maximum Freshness

Our patented gold foil seed packs are designed to preserve freshness. Foil packs prohibit moisture, but paper packs don't. You can easily store opened packs by folding down the open edge and securing it with a staple, or paper clip. Here’s a tip, if you use tape to secure the pack, use gift wrapping tape because it's designed to work with foil wrapping paper.

And what about those paper packs? Will you need to use all the seeds or toss them at the end of the season? Nope. They can be stored in plastic zipper bags, if you've closed them securely, or, a popular favorite for many gardening families is to store them in glass jars with a securely sealed lid. You can also put your foil packs in a Mason jar but it's unnecessary.

So, get out there and shop now! We have new varieties year-round and our updated spring assortment is available to order and ship in November.

Enough writing, it’s time for me to play in the dirt again (I love my job). Good luck with your garden and please let us know how it’s growing!

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