how long will tomato seeds last
how far back have you gone?
This year, we filled a bunch of peat pods with tomato seeds that were packed for Y2K. Source was an online seller/seed saver/something like that. Not a commercial retail seed pack. Stored under the most non-recommended conditions - some in ziplock, some in paper envelope. Bounced around in drawers for years, boxed up and stuck in the garage for a few more years in a place with snow in winter and humid summers. Survived a flood in the garage. Moved to another garage in the desert for a few years that reaches temps easily over 100 in the summer. Result? Close to 100% germination, and the little buggers are still coming up. Varieties: Spoon Tomato and Gold Nugget Cherry.
However, twice as many seeds planted for Matt's Wild Cherry (also Y2K seeds), and germination rate was zero. I tossed the pods after 4 weeks. Somewhere in a landfill, they're probably sprouting as I type.
This is of course, anecdotal, and only one experience. But I've read "on the internet," for what that's worth, that tomato seeds can last a long time. Peppers, not so much.
Given that the Spoons have a tendency to self-seed, I told hubby that his Millenium Garden has to grow on the strip next to the garage. We're gonna let 'em run wild, then save some seeds for the zombie apocalypse.
You can always do periodic germination tests to see if they're still viable. If the rate is slumping off, grow a few out to replenish your supply.