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

Seed to Plate - Growing from seed
Sat 3 Mar 2018 10:00am - 4:00pm Walled Garden Packing Shed, Hardwick Road, Whitchurch-on-Thames RG8 7RB

Time to get sowing: learn principles, tips and tricks for successful propagation

This workshop is aimed at beginner or more experienced gardeners who wish to develop their skills in organic, sustainable gardening techniques and want to learn more about successful propagation to grow their crops from seed.

What will you learn? This workshop will take you through the basics, deal with your queries and build your confidence to grow your own veg from seed. It will involve both a theoretical and a practical session and introduce participants to key essentials, including:

  • Propagation media and materials, including how to make your own seed compost
  • Tips for optimum germination
  • Direct sowing: ground preparation and sowing techniques
  • Planning your spring sowing schedule
  • Growing healthy seedlings: what can go wrong and how to keep them strong!

You will sow a tray of seeds in our home made seed compost to grow on at home.

Read more >>
Get Growing: Seed sowing/propagation
Sat 10 Mar 2018 10:00am - 12:00pm Food4families Training Base, South Reading New Directions, 330 Northumberland Ave, Reading RG2 8DH

This year Food4families will be running 6 separate 'Get Growing' modules, on the second Saturday of the month from 10 am - 12 noon, including a light refreshment break.

The sessions cost £15 each or sign up for 4 for £50.

Read more >>
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

Read more >>
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.

Read more >>