A seed's ability to continue to grow years after it has been created is a factor of genetics. The seeds of certain plants remain viable long after they have been harvested, while others lose their viability shortly after they burst from their pods. For example, most corn seed lasts only one to two years. By contrast, in 2005, scientists germinated a seed from a date palm that is over 3,000 years old. To select seeds that remain viable for years, choose seed varieties that genetically last longer.
Consider which vegetables have seeds that naturally stay viable longer. Tomatoes have seeds that stay viable longer than any other vegetable. Radishes, cucumbers and melons are other plants that have long seed life spans.
Read the backs of seed packets and the descriptions in seed catalogs before purchasing the seed. Note the expiration date of the seed and do not purchase seeds that have a near expiration date.
Select seeds that are dry and have been stored under optimal conditions, such as seed that has been dried and frozen directly after being harvested.