Sorting seeds

Talking with a potential summer renter, who’s a keen gardener, I mentioned that I’d look at what vegetable seeds that I had on hand, as she’d be here from June 1- Sept. 30.  Just like last summer’s renter, I’ll be delighted to have her start planting warm-season vegetables in my front beds, well in advance of when we’re planning to leave.

A winter spinach harvest a few years back, in January

Back when I taught vegetable gardening programs much more than I do now, at the botanical garden where I worked,  I used my programs as a wonderful excuse to buy more seeds (so I could distribute them to the participants, while trying new varieties myself.

Alas, most of my seeds are getting pretty “past date” — although since I now have plenty of time on my hands (most all of my classes and presentations have now been canceled), I’m planning to test viability of some of the older seeds.

In a previous research life, I worked with seed germination, so I thought it might be fun to test viability of 7-8 year old vegetable seed.  Of course, I’ve eliminated the obvious ones: onions, leeks, and spinach, which are decidedly short-lived. 

Interestingly, I didn’t have any mesclun mix or lettuce, which I must have taken to Quebec either last summer or the year before, or maybe didn’t have any.

But I’m going to try sprouting argula, broccoli, kale, collards, pea, and squash just for fun.  All of them are edible as sprouts.

The stay-at-home time ahead may be a welcome time to revisit posts like this one: