I was sorting through my seed packets at the weekend as some of them are very old and probably need throwing away. Later I just happened to be reading through an old Gardener's World magazine (which I borrowed from the doctor's surgery) and there was an article on how to test if old seed is still viable which I thought might be worth sharing with you.
As I was searching for an image to add to my blog I found these lovely vintage seed packet designs at http://artzeechris.blogspot.com/search/label/Seed%20Packets
Aren't they just beautiful? There are lots of other images; I also particularly like the postage stamps & vintage florals.
To test your seed
1. Put a piece of kitchen towel in the base of a clear plastic container (the type a take away meal comes in) and dampen slightly. I used two separate pieces of paper so I could put two types of seed in each pot.
2. Place the seed on the damp paper and replace the lid.
3. Label the pots and to save space stack them on a warm windowsill.
4. If the seed does germinate, carefully lift the paper and place it on the top of a pot filled with dampened compost. Lightly cover with compost. The seeds should root through the paper to the compost below.
If the seed doesn't germinate at least you've saved yourself the time and trouble of filling pots of compost or being disappointed if you've planted the seed in the ground and they don't come up.
I'll let you know if I have any luck with mine.