Expired Seeds to Greens

Ok, I’ll admit it … I’m a seed hoarder. I guess there could be worse habits in life, so I’ll keep my seed collecting passion. Each January, I get all googly-eyed at the annual seed catalogs. They’re like a never-ending all-you-can-eat smorgasbord, where I simply must try a little bit of everything. Needless to say, all that sampling has left me with more seeds than I have garden space for.


I made myself a promise this year, to sort out my expired, and less-than-desirable, seed packages before allowing myself to order new varieties for the coming season. I’ve found cauliflower seeds from 2001, cabbage, several open packages of lettuce varieties, radishes, all kinds of kale, sunflowers and several baggies of saved seeds that are unlabeled … oops.


I couldn’t bring myself to throw the expired seeds into the compost heap, or give them away in good conscience (because they might not be viable). So, I decided to grow some microgreens. A microgreen is a tiny vegetable green that adds visual beauty, distinctive flavour and a huge boost of nutrients to our meals. The edible young greens are produced from various kinds of seeds, sprouted in soil and allowed to grow, but harvested before they are more than 3″ tall.  Most microgreens can be eaten within 10-14 days of planting.


This is a pot of arugula microgreens that were grown from seeds that were over 6 years old. A pinch of them, snipped off with scissors, is a wonderful spicy addition to our winter salads. I am growing these and many other pots of microgreens, outdoors, on the south side of our house, under glass. Clamshell packages, or other clear plastic containers, are very useful when growing microgreens. Place them in any warm, sunny area, where they will not freeze and receive some daily light.


Give it a try! Sort out your expired seeds and grow some microgreens today.

2 thoughts on “Expired Seeds to Greens

  1. I loved your posting! You have a better collection of seeds than I do, although I could totally relate to and laugh with you about your various “old” seeds. Last year I did sort out and inventory my seeds. However, I had less of a conscience than you, and gave a bag of stale dated seeds to the Thrift Store (hope some of them grew). I like your idea about growing micro greens. I’ve been drooling over my West Coast Seeds catalogue too…you’ve inspired me to go and make friends once more with my bin of last year’s seeds. May have some micro seeds growing here soon.

  2. Hi Vera,
    Thank you for your comment 🙂 The microgreen growing idea is new to me, ibut has turned out great 🙂 With our mild winter they are doing just fine outside under some glass. Be sure to send me a picture of your assorted-seed-greens once you get them going. We can all use an excuse to put in a larger order with West Coast Seeds 😉 Have fun and hope to see you soon!!

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