How Long Should I Store My Seeds?

While preparing for the upcoming crop season, I had the privilege of sorting through our large seed collection. It turns out we have seeds going back to 2006. I was not sure how well those would do for planting. However, if you are a plant enthusiast such as myself, and interested in saving & collecting seed here are a few guidelines I found on the Ohio State University Extension page on seed saving:


Asian greens – three years

Bush and pole beans – two years

Beets – two years

Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Kohlrabi – three to five years

Carrots – three years

Collards, Kale – three to five years

Sweet Corn – one year

Cucumbers – three years

Leeks, Onions – two to three yearsDSC_0019

Lettuce – three years

Melons – three years

Parsley – two years

Parsnips– one year

Peas – two years

Peppers – two yearsphoto

Radishes – four years

Rutabagas – three years

Spinach – one season

Swiss Chard – two years

Squashes – three to four years

Tomatoes – three years

Turnips – four years

The authors also mention that annuals are generally good for one to three years; perennials for two to four years.

 Happy seed saving!

– Awinda Otieno-Pala, Horticulturalist, UTC staff

Sickels Street Garden – A Hidden Treasure

The Sickels Street Garden at the corner of Haverford Avenue and Sickels Street

One of the things I love about working at Sickels Street Garden is the way in which the plantings are arranged so that you are always presented with a “surprise” of color from the different blooms throughout the year. It’s almost like a timed energy injection for your eyes, so that as your eye leaps from one bloom to another, a surge of excitement is released, resulting in endless visual pleasure as far as your eye can reach.

Poor maintenance in the past made it difficult to enjoy this experience, but after a year (well maybe more) of planning and lots of work, It is great to see the results of all the effort that went into this space, and to make this exhilarating experience more tangible.
Purple asters


The asters we transplanted last summer along the back wall are now in bloom, showing off their bluish/purple daisy-like flowers. We started with 7, but the big, floppy-leafed plants have now almost doubled in number, and will need to be divided come next spring.

For the first time since I’ve worked on this site, we have been able to successfully disrupt the morning glory vine’s weedy growth enough to enjoy the purple blooms of the Russian sage throughout the entire garden.


Our crop of mums are still forming buds, but you can still enjoy some of the purple echinacea floral blooms, against the yellow backdrop of some late-blooming daylilies.

Along Haverford Ave, nested below the trumpet vine, you can spot a single hidden Kniphofia with its flaming blooms of orange & lime green.

And if you go a little further, the deep pink color of the turtlehead stops you in your tracks.



As you can see, there’s more than meets the eye at this small seemingly plain site. Hopefully you can get your shot of exhilaration before the season is out!

– Awinda Otieno-Pala

The seedlings are sprouting up!

Seedlings of the early crops for the farm are sprouting up, looking like miniatures of their mature selves and making the basement at UTC very green. The group includes peppers, tomatoes, several kinds of kale, lettuces, collards and herbs that will be grown for Neighborhood Foods CSA, and the Rittenhouse and neighborhood markets. Also planted – a variety of flowers to attract pollinators and add color to the gardens!

Staff members are taking turns watering and last week, farmers Ryan and Quenzell worked at transplanting the little seedlings into bigger flats and pots.

Eric Blasco, professional gardener and friend of UTC, is helping with the seed-starting, sharing his expertise and providing some heirloom seeds for both both veggies and flowers.  He is involved with Seed Savers Exchange and works with a farmer growing heirloom seeds. Many thanks to Eric!