Testing Old Seeds

Do you have old seeds? Unsure if they will germinate? Did you know you can test your seeds’ germination rate? Follow these steps:

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

  • Water in a container (bowl)
  • Paper towels
  • Seeds
  • Ziploc bag or container with a clear lid.

Step 2: Moisten the Paper Towels

  • Dip the paper towel into the water.
  • Squeeze out the extra water.

Step 3: Seeds

  • Place seeds in the center of the paper towel.
  • Fold the paper towel over to cover the seeds.

Step 4: Seal

  • Write on the container the variety that you are testing.
  • Record the days of germination. This is found on the back of the seed packet.
  • Write the date that you started testing.

Step 5: Placing

  • Put the bag/container in indirect sunlight for the length of time the seeds require for germination.
  • You may be tempted to open your container up and look at the seeds. Don’t do it! You need to keep the seeds warm and moist.

Step 6: Calculating Germination Rate

  • Germination rate is a percentage based on the number of seeds that you tested.
    • If you tested 10 seeds and 6 germinated your seed germination rate is 60%.

Sabrina Schirtzinger, ANR Educator Knox County, can be reached at 740-397-0401 or Schirtzinger.55@osu.edu.

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