For years I thought I was saving money, and being a good prudent gardener, by saving my seeds.
This past season, though, I was puzzled by why so few of my pumpkins and broad beans germinated. It could of course be mice. But in my RHS horticultural course, I learned that seeds store a finite supply of carbohydrates to fuel growth after germination. They also need to be stored in a cool, dark environment. Anything else, and the seed begins to deteriorate.
Anyone for a 6 year old broad bean?
I had stored my seeds in a sealed container in the shed. Most of the packs were at least 3 and in some cases 6 years old. I suddenly realised that the seed age, rather than starving mice, was the more likely cause of the poor germination.
Grand clear out
I summoned my courage and chucked most of the old seed packs, then placed the survivors in a sealed container in the fridge. I am now enjoying browsing catalogues and ordering interesting varieties, and hopefully next spring I can swap some of my new seeds for some from my neighbours, and enjoy a healthier crop of vegetables.