Expired Seeds Experiment

Now to prove to you that my cheapness knows no bounds, I will share with you my latest experiment.  While at the hardware store with my husband, painful I know, I starting browsing the seeds.  Robert gave me “the eye” because he knows how dangerous I can be at a seed display.  I can’t seem to buy just one packet I come home with dozens.  Well this time he was pleased.  I noticed immediately that the seeds were expired.  If you flip your current seed packet over you will notice that it usually expires in either October or November.  I asked if they would still be willing to sell them, at a discounted rate of course.  They had to get a manager but they accepted my offer.  $0.25 a packet!!!  Game on.  I started grabbing seeds like they were going out of style.  Other customers were looking at me like I was crazy.  As you know a full price seed packet can be anywhere from $1.50 to $2.95.  So this was a deep discount.  In total I bought 31 vegetable seed packets and 36 flower seed packets for a total of $16.75!!

Here’s my rationale for buying every packet in sight.   If only 50% of the seeds came up I was still getting a really good deal.   Realistically I think I can expect 75% germination if not more depending on the type of seed.  I have read that most seeds last more than one year, in fact most last 3 to 4 years.  And besides how many partial seed packets do you have at home?  I know I have some seeds remaining from every packet I bought last year.  Which means that even if I have to plant to whole packet it’s no big deal.  It would be just my luck that none of the tomatoes would germinate and all of the zucchini.  I don’t know if I could handle another bumper crop of zucchini.  That was exhausting.

Needless to say I was bitten by the seed bargain bug.  I went to all the other hardware stores in town.  There was one other store that still displayed their expired seeds and I was able to talk the manager down to $0.38 a packet.  Still pretty good and I was able to fill in the holes from what the other store didn’t offer.

I found that the smaller hardware stores were the ones with the expired seeds.  The big guys Home Depot and Lowes had already started displaying new inventory.  You better believe that next year I am going to go earlier and give it a try.  One of my favorite nurserys in town said they donate to the local high school FFA, how sweet.  I bought some full price seeds from them just to give my support, plus I couldn’t find broccoli raab or parsnips anywhere else.

I am so excited to see how my seeds do.  I will try to keep a tally of how many germinate and give you some results at the end of the season.  It’s probably not too late though to run out and snatch up some yourselves.

I am ashamed to admit that I even put some seeds in my mom’s stocking and Robert’s stocking.

I’ll post pictures later when my camera batteries are charged.

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7 responses to “Expired Seeds Experiment

  1. What a great idea! I’ll definitely pull my butt out of the house this week and see what I can stir up for seeds.
    By the way, I’ve read that if you store your seeds in a cool dark place they can last 3-4 years or even longer. I’m assuming you’ll lose some germination rates, but that’s still a really cheap “insurance” policy for your produce. I plan on storing mine in my garage refrigerator in a card board box with plastic in the bottom. My idea is that the cardboard will absorb the moisture that’s in the fridge and keep the seeds nice and dry.
    I love a bargain!

    • I like your refrigerator idea. My refrigerator does a fantastic job drying out my bread, my cheese and all my leftovers so it should be just perfect for seeds. We don’t have a spare fridge or I’d try it. Let me know how it turns out.

  2. Diana Smith

    Enjoying your blog…and your survival blog article on the Freedom chickens; never heard of them but definitely in our spring plans. Have never been satisfied with Cornish x chickens. They sit like lumps and eat or die; almost zombie chickens!! At least my laying girls have personalities!

    The only problem with seeds leftover from a store might be the temps they were exposed to…our little grocery kept their seeds on a rack outside until I talked to the manager and he moved them in where it was cool. Seeds left out in MO 90 degree weather …not good! It is easy to just plant things a little thicker or if it is something special you want to try plant in flat first and baby the seedlings. I get leftovers from our friends who have a hardware store and sell our honey and no problems with getting them to grow. Plants want to grow! Mutti from HT

    • Thanks Diana. The Freedom rangers were quite amazing. They were so hardy we really enjoyed them. Plus they were very handsome birds.

      I am glad to hear that you had no problems with leftover hardware store seeds. I am so excited to see how they grow. Also would love to know more about honey – do you blog? Honeybees are on my list of things to figure out.

  3. Ummm… you can bet I’ll be heading to our hardware store this weekend. Thanks for the great tip!

  4. Diana Smith

    We don’t blog…a future plan…but always willing to answer bee questions. DH has had bees since we were first married 45 years ago…an elderly neighbor on our road introduced him to it.

    Forgot to mention that I greatly admired your mitered corners! Determined to put them on my newest quilt. Have been so busy learning the ins and out of a new sewing machine. Right now making an octogon table runner so that binding job should be interesting. DEE

  5. Okay well I know who to ask about bee questions. 45 years, that is quite impressive, for being married and for keeping bees. 🙂

    I keep trying to figure out how I can get those corners on my next quilt too. I want to try. Good luck with yours, octagon sounds tricky.

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