The TRUTH About Seed Storage | Seed Shelf Life Answered by Dam Seeds

Last month I had the thought of buying a lifetime supply of seeds and creating my own ‘doomsday’ seed vault like the one tucked into the side of a frigid mountain in Svalbard, Norway in the picture below.

That way there would be nothing the banker c*nts and CEOs pushing humanity towards technocracy could do to prevent me from eating in the future. And what a great feeling that would be!

However, it would be an awful waste to spend $10,000 on seeds only to have them fail to sprout when I need them. So the question I asked and answer for you in this article is: How long do seeds last in storage?

Who better to answer this question than one of the greatest seed retailers in the world? I reached out to support at William Dam Seeds in Ontario, Canada for an answer to my question, and will share with you their answer below.

William Dam Seeds on Seed Shelf-Life

Below is the exact response I’ve received from William Dam Seeds on seed shelf-life.

The longevity of seed depends very much on the type of seed and the seed lot.  Below is some general information that I copied from a website.  It is just a guideline and there are no garantees:

Vegetable seeds that are considered “long-lived” include the Brassicas (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, kohlrabi…) the chicory group (endive, escarole, radicchio), cucumber, kale, lettuce, melons, mustards, peppers, radish, rutabaga, sunflower, tomato and turnips. Stored correctly, these seeds should maintain a good viability for more than five years.

“Medium-lived” varieties include beans, carrots, celery, chard, eggplant, parsley, peas, pumpkin, salsify, and squash. These varieties, if properly stored, should last up to five years.

“Short-lived” seeds include corn, leek, onion, parsnip, and spinach. These are generally not recommended for more than one season, although they may maintain acceptable germination rates in the second year.

Pelleted seeds should be bought fresh each year.

– William Dam Seeds

Short-lived Seeds (1 to 2 years):

·         okra

·         onion

·         parsley

·         parsnip

·         pepper

·         sweet corn

Intermediate Seeds (3 to 4 years):

·         bean

·         beet

·         cabbage family (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, etc.)

·         carrot

·         celery

·         eggplant

·         leek

·         pea

·         pumpkin

·         spinach

·         squash

·         tomato

·         turnip

·         watermelon

Long-lived Seeds (5 to 6 years):

·         cucumber

·         lettuce

·         radish


It’s always good to be prepared, which includes having a supply of seeds on hand so you can produce some of your own food. But seeds don’t store forever! (Apparently they last a lot longer in the freezer).

In order to successfully plan a seed storage vault, it’s important how long they last so you can use them before they fail to produce for you. And then, of course, you can replace them.

Based on the response from William Dam Seeds, it looks like seeds will last at least a couple of years, and some as many as 6 years before you need to use them. So keep that in mind when filling your doomsday seed vault this year.

I hope this article helps you understand a bit more about seed storage and helps you plan your seed savings. Thanks for reading and I hope your garden this year produces abundance for you and your family.