How to Test for Germination on Pea Seeds

How to test for germination on pea seeds

I was going through my seeds to see what I could donate to Ladner Seedy Saturday’s seed swap. I love peas and I think most people do. Picking them fresh from the garden is so enjoyable. They make a great snack for a hungry gardener. I didn’t grow peas last year so its time to think about stocking up the freezer in the fall. I hate to buy them when they are so easy to grow.

How to Test for Germination on Pea Seeds

I came across this large package of pea seeds that someone had donated to our seed swap last year. My concern was the date on the top said 2006. Wow! The seeds are ten years old. I don’t want to donate this seed if they won’t grow. Then I thought, why not do a germination test on the peas? That will tell me the germination rate.
How to Test for Germination on Pea Seeds

I remember reading about a germination test using damp paper towels. I moistened a paper towel and spread it out on the counter. I placed ten pea seeds on the moist paper towel making sure they were not touching. I rolled the towel up and placed it inside a Ziploc bag. I sealed the bag and placed it on the counter in a warm place. I wrote the date which was February 3  and the name of the peas on the bag. All I could do was wait.

How to Test for Germination on Pea Seeds

Four days later I carefully unrolled the moist paper towel. This is what I saw. Eight out of the ten pea seeds had started to germinate. Isn’t this cool?

How to Test for Germination on Pea Seeds

I waited one more day to see if these two seeds would germinate. It looked like they might but they didn’t. So if eight out of ten seeds germinate in just four days that means the bag of seed has an 80% germination rate. That’s pretty good for ten-year old seed. I have planted the eight pea seeds in seed starter mix and they are now in the greenhouse. I will plant them out in the garden in March. Will the plants be of good quality?  I will watch and see. If so, I will grow the peas on for seed. I will leave a few pods to dry on the vine and collect the seeds from inside their yellowed pods.

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