Most vegetable seeds stay good for about two to three years, but some, such as onions, deteriorate in a year. Lettuce, on the other hand, can sprout successfully after five years. Most vegetable seeds will last until their expiration date if they are kept fresh, dry and out of sunlight. Baker Seed guarantees seeds for at least two years after purchase.
Most seeds last three to five years after purchase, but those dates may vary by variety. Before looking at a single seed catalog, I make an inventory of all the seeds I already have on hand, sorting them first by age. Like other seeds, how long grass seeds remain viable depends on the variety of seeds and how well they are stored, Kauth says. I have decided to get rid of the seeds after three years, since it is a lot of work to prepare and plant them and then have a bad result and have to replant several weeks later with other seeds.
The seeds you can buy today for these two wonderful peppers are descendants of the seeds found in that old freezer. Viable seeds should germinate in approximately six to 10 days, but you should check the time period indicated on each seed package. Although most seeds remain viable for years and often decades, the seeds of alliums (anything in the onion family, including shallots, leeks, chives, and chives) and parsnips often lose their germination by 50% each year, regardless of conditions. Every year, you will inevitably run out of space in the garden and you will have a certain amount of seeds left over after planting.
Storing dried seeds in hermetically sealed jars in the freezer can increase the viability of many seeds for years. To help you determine if your seeds are still viable, refer to the table below, which indicates the life expectancy of certain types of vegetable seeds stored under ideal conditions. The length of time that vegetable seeds can be stored varies widely, depending on the type of seed and storage conditions. Still, if you do a germination test on old seeds and the seedlings appear stunted (leaves or root systems smaller than normal), it's probably time to start over with new seeds.
By the time you notice that the seeds haven't germinated, your garden will be several weeks behind what it should be. If you want to try several varieties of vegetables or flowers in a small garden without a lot of leftover seeds, consider sharing seed packs or trading with your neighbors or friends.