If you are getting ready to plant a crop of fruit or vegetable plants, it is imperative that you begin with fresh seeds. Though seed packets can be purchased very inexpensively, you will want to be sure they are of good quality so that they will germinate properly. The freshness of different types of seeds can be determined using specific methods.
Bite into a pea seed, and take note of its hardness. If it is of a moderate texture then it is fresh; if it is very hard the seed is likely more than a year old.
Kidney bean seeds can be checked in a similar fashion as pea seeds. Other types of beans should very pale to white when new. If they range from a light to a dark brown they may not be suitable for planting.
It is easy to determine the freshness of carrot seed. When it is new, it will have a slight shade of green. As it ages the green will fade and the seed will become a dingy brown.
Similar to carrot seed, parsnip seeds will be slightly green when fresh. When the seeds are more than a year old, they will lose their green color.
Onion seed presents a bit more of a challenge in determining its age. Bite into the seed and pay careful attention to its texture and moisture. If the seed is tender with a moist skin, with a kernel that may even be slightly oily, then you have a nice new seed. Older seed has a tougher skin and harder interior kernel. If the seed and kernel are completely dry, it will be of no use whatsoever.
6. Cabbage and Broccoli
Both cabbage and broccoli seeds will last longer than others, being good for three years or more, sometimes as long as six. If the interior kernel of these seeds is observed, it should be green. The older the seed becomes, the more its green color fades to brown.
Celery seed is very fragrant when fresh, as it is used as a seasoning in cooking. If you encounter a celery seed with little to no fragrance, it should be discarded.