Seed viability times

The length of time that seeds can be stored is quite variable: for example, parsnip seeds are best fresh but peans and beans can keep for around 5 years.

See the table below for details of some vegetable seeds. Please let us know if you have any to add, or if you have found a variation from the times shown.

Asparagus3 years
Aubergine4 - 5 years
Basil5 years
Beetroot2 - 4 years
Broccoli3 - 5 years
Brussels sprouts4 - 5 years
Cabbage4 - 5 years
Carrot3 - 4 years
Cauliflower4 - 5 years
Celeriac5 years
Celery5 - 6 years
Chard2 - 4 years
Chicory / Radicchio5 years
Chinese cabbage5 years
Chives1 - 2 years
Coriander5 years
Courgette2 - 4 years
Cress5 years
Cucumber5 - 10 years
Dill5 years
Endive / escarole3 - 5 years
Fennel3 - 4 years
Forget-me-not2 years
French marigold2 - 3 years
Kale / Borecole4 - 5 years
Kohl Rabi4 - 5 years
Leek1 - 3 years
Lettuce2 - 6 years
Mange tout3 years
Marigold5 - 6 years
Marjoram1 year
Marrow5 - 6 years
Melon5 - 10 years
Nasturtium5 - 7 years
Okra2 years
Onion1 - 2 years
Oregano1 year
Parsley1 - 3 years
Parsnip1 - 2 years
Pea3 - 5 years
Pepper2 - 5 years
Pumpkin4 years
Radish5 years
Rocket3 - 4 years
Sage2 years
Salsify2 years
Scorzonera2 years
Seakale1 - 2 years
Spinach2 - 5 years
Squash2 - 5 years
Swede4 - 5 years
Sweetcorn1 - 2 years
Tomato4 - 8 years
Turnip5 years
Watercress5 years
Watermelon5 years

Related resources

Grow Your Own Vegetables

Excellent book on growing vegetables with sections on techniques, a directory of vegetables, seasonal guide to jobs, and appendices on veg for the hungry gap, successional sowing and more.

How to create a New Vegetable Garden

Charles Dowding draws on his years of experience, to show how easy it is to start a new vegetable garden. Any plot -- whether a building site, overgrown with weeds or unwanted lawn -- can be turned into a beautiful and productive vegetable area. Charles's no-nonsense and straightforward advice is the perfect starting point for the beginner or experienced gardener. The book takes you step-by-step through: * Planning and early stages * Clearing the ground * Mulch - what, why, how? * Minimizing digging * Sowing and planting across the seasons * Growing in polytunnels and greenhouses It is filled with labour-saving ideas and the techniques that Charles uses to garden so successfully, and is illustrated throughout with photos and tales from Charles's first year in his new vegetable garden.

Organic Gardening The Natural No-Dig Way

A very helpful book about growing fruit and vegetables organically and without digging.

Seed sowing techniques

Advice from the Royal Horticultural Society about how to sow seeds

Upcoming events

Organic vegetable growing for beginners
Wed 25 Apr 2018 10:00am - 2:00pm Waltham Place, Church Hill, White Waltham SL6 3JH

Are you growing vegetables yourself or are you thinking of starting to grow some yourself? Would you like to learn a bit more about Organic growing methods?

Come and join Ute and Jess in this simple, straightforward and practical workshop to learn all about starting your own patch or improve your existing skills. During the workshop we will be looking at the different aspects of growing vegetables. We start with the basics like: raising your seedlings, propagation, improving your soil, choosing your crops, crop rotation, uses of compost and green manure, how to deal with pests and diseases.

This workshop is suitable for anyone interested in growing vegetables using organic methods.

Price: £25 to include a light organic lunch and refreshments.
Booking essential as places are limited. estateoffice@walthamplace.com / 01628 825517

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RFGN at Forbury Fiesta
Sat 12 May 2018 11:00am - 4:00pm Forbury Gardens, Reading

Forbury Fiesta is geared at the whole family.

Loads of fun activities including arts and craft, sport, and music and dance workshops, as well as entertainment all day.

We'll be sharing a stand with Food4families, and promoting our "Grow for Reading Town Meal" campaign, with free seeds and seedlings for people to grow for the meal.

Read more >>
RFGN at Water Fest
Sat 16 Jun 2018 11:00am - 5:00pm Along the Kennet, between Chestnut Walk and the Riverside Museum

This year's Reading Water Fest will coincide with the official reopening of Reading Abbey and the start of the Reading Abbey Revealed Festival.  

The event takes place in the Forbury Gardens, Abbey Ruins and along The Kennet, between Chestnut Walk and the Riverside Museum. The event will consist of live entertainment, children's activities and refreshments, water activities, narrow boats, craft and charity stalls. 

We'll be sharing a stand with Food4families, and promoting our "Grow for Reading Town Meal" campaign, with free seeds and seedlings for people to grow for the meal. We'll also have our seed swap with us, so please bring any spare seeds and have a rummage for interesting things to grow.

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RFGN at East Reading Festival
Sun 17 Jun 2018 12:00pm - 6:00pm Palmer Park, Reading

East Reading Festival is a local community festival that runs in June every year in Palmer Park, East Reading. 

We'll be sharing a stand with Food4families, and promoting our "Grow for Reading Town Meal" campaign, with free seeds and seedlings for people to grow for the meal. We'll also have our seed swap with us, so please bring any spare seeds and have a rummage for interesting things to grow.

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RFGN at Whitley Fun Day
Sat 7 Jul 2018 12:00pm - 3:00pm Rabson's Rec, Northumberland Avenue RG2 8DF

A fun day of food and activities, organised by South Reading Churches.

We'll be sharing a stand with Food4families, and promoting our "Grow for Reading Town Meal" campaign, with free seeds for people to grow for the meal.

Seed to Plate - Growing Winter Salads
Sat 11 Aug 2018 10:00am - 4:00pm Walled Garden Packing Shed, Hardwick Road, Whitchurch-on-Thames RG8 7RB

Learn how to keep your garden growing through the winter months and keep the greens on your plate!

Who is the workshop for? This workshop is aimed at beginner or more experienced gardeners who wish to develop their skills in organic, sustainable gardening techniques and want to harvests crops continually through the seasons.

What will you learn? This workshop will take you through the basics, deal with your queries and build your confidence to keep your veg plot productive through the colder months. It will involve both a theoretical and a practical session and introduce participants to key essentials, including:

  • Choosing your growing system
  • Planning your sowing schedule & selecting varieties for winter cropping
  • How to sow, grow and harvest for the best results
  • Soil preparation & management – including fertility-building and rotation
  • Propagation media, materials and techniques

You will sow your own salad seedlings to grow on at home.

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