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To ensure vigorously growing seedlings, it pays to assess the germination and viability of seeds from years past before starting them.

Have you ever found a packet of seeds lying around and wondered if you could grow them? Every year when I get ready to start seeds, I inevitably find a half-full packet or a packet I forgot to plant altogether. Unfortunately, as seeds get older, their germination rate decreases. Fortunately, there is an easy way to test your seeds to see if planting them will be worthwhile.

Many seeds are capable of lasting for several years if stored properly. If they are, in fact, properly stored, plants like basil, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cosmos, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, nasturtium, oregano, pumpkin, radish, snapdragon, squash, sunflower, tomato, watermelon and zinnia can last for four to five years.

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