Gardening Info

The list of download links on this page provide varying information about gardening and plants. As additional informational documents become available, the download list will be added to accordingly.

Are Your Old Seeds Worth Growing? Test Them
submitted by WGC member, as seen in, published 2/13/19:

WASHINGTON — Depending on where you store them and what types of seeds they contain, your old, dog-eared seed packets may or may not be worth using this season.

Seeds are alive; they do not live forever. Sprinkling dead seeds out in the garden or into seed flats is a waste of time.

When you buy a packet of seeds, government standards assure you that a minimum percentage of them are alive. The packing date is usually stamped on the packet and, if below the standard, the percentage germination. I write the year on any seed packets on which the date is not stamped.


Low temperature, low humidity, and low oxygen slow biological and chemical reactions and so also slow aging of seeds. My seeds find their low-temperature and low-humidity home in sealed canning jars in the depths of my freezer in spring and summer. By fall, frozen fruits and vegetables claim freezer space, so I move the jars filled with seed packets into my refrigerator.

An easy way to keep the humidity low in the jars is to sprinkle powdered milk from a freshly opened box in the bottom of the jars. Renew the powdered milk each year.

There’s no practical way for us backyard gardeners to store seeds in a low-oxygen atmosphere. Some seed companies market their seeds in hermetically sealed, plastic-lined foil packets, although I have never noted better germination from these foil packets than from plain old paper packets.


Seeds differ in how long they remain viable. Even with the best storage conditions, it’s generally not worth sowing celery, parsley, parsnip or salsify seeds after they are more than a year old. Two years of sowings can be expected from packets of carrot, onion and sweet corn seed; three years from peas and beans, peppers, radishes and beets; and four or five years from cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cucumbers, melons and lettuce.

Among flower seeds, the shortest-lived are delphinium, aster, candytuft and phlox. Packets of alyssum, Shasta daisy, calendula, sweet peas, poppies, and marigold can be reused for five or 10 years before their seeds get too old.


A yearly germination test is a definitive measure of whether an old seed packet is worth saving. Each spring, count out at least 20 seeds from each packet to be tested, and then spread the seeds between two moist paper towels on a plate. Invert another plate over the first plate to hold in moisture and put the whole setup where the temperature is warm, around 75 degrees.

After one to two weeks, peel apart the paper towels and count the number of seeds with little white root “tails” emerging. Figure the percentage, and if it is low, toss the seed packets into the wastebasket (don’t give them away!) or adjust your sowing rate accordingly.

No one knows exactly what happens within a seed to make it lose viability. Besides lack of germination, old seeds undergo a slight change of color, lose their luster and are more susceptible to fungal infections.

The record for seed longevity was thought to be held by a species of lupine, Lupinus arcticus, whose seeds germinated after 10,000 years. Great story, but further research showed the seed to be much younger — only a few decades old!

The current valid record now for the oldest viable seeds is held by a 2,000-year-old date palm seed recovered near the Dead Sea.

At the other extreme in longevity are seeds of silver maple, which retain their capacity to germinate for only about a week.


–By LEE REICH , Associated Press

Top Ten Bug-Repelling Plants for your Garden or Yard
Here are the Top Ten Bug-Repelling Plants for your garden or yard, submitted by Ken Cwikla's at 365 Hayden Station Road here in Windsor, CT 06095. Ken invites gardeners to stop by and visit his plants.


1 - PETUNIA - These bright-colored beauties are often planted to repel squash bugs, beetles and aphids. They need a sunny spot, so try them near your vegetable garden or in a window box.

2 - BASIL - There’s an oil in basil that kills mosquito eggs. Plant basil in pots near gathering areas to ward off flies and mosquitoes, and to use in pesto!

3 - MARIGOLDS - These pretty, sun-loving plants are often used by farmers to keep pests at bay. They’ll help keep mosquitoes and aphids out of your yard.

4 - LAVENDER - The same scent that ails our insomnia and makes our linens smell amazing is absolutely disgusting to flies, moths and mosquitoes. Plant it if you have a sunny garden, or keep a few bouquets around to ward off the pests.

5 - ROSEMARY - In addition to repelling mosquitoes, potent rosemary will help protect your vegetable plants from infestation.

6 - MINT - This pleasant-smelling plant (along with its cousin lemon balm) helps repel biting insects. It’s best to plant mint in pots, because it will spread like crazy.

7 - CATNIP - Also a member of the mint family, catnip repels bugs thanks to its nepetalactone—the same property that attracts cats.

8 - CHRYSANTHEMUMS - Pyrethrins, a compound that’s found in chrysanthemums and used in many commercial insect repellents, keeps mosquitoes, roaches,beetles, ticks and silverfish away.

9 - ALLIUMS - Chives, leeks, onions, garlic, scallions and shallots fall into this group. They grow tall with pretty purple, white or pink flowers and help protect other veggies (and your yard) against slugs, flies and worms, although they can attract moths. Be warned that, like garlic and onions, allium plants can be extremely toxic to dogs and cats.

10 - LEMONGRASS - Citronella is the oil found in lemongrass (thus its slightly citrus-y scent). Lemongrass needs tons of sun, so most of us will have to enjoy it as an annual in the summer.


Gardening Hints
This page contains numerous sub-pages, each of which contain helpful hints.

Invasive Plant Information
Invasive Plant Information
This is the Windsor Garden Club's invasive plant information page. You will find various documents, all of which feature information regarding invasive plants which threaten the natural horticulture of Connecticut. Updates to the page will be made on a recurring basis. (latest update 04/14/2016)

The Club sets dates annually for invasive plant eradication activities. Contact Maureen Vagnini for additional information .

A listing of designated, invasive plants has been added to this page. (invasive.jpg)

Download: 2015-01-26 eliminate invasives campaign.docx
Download: invasive.jpg