Found Seeds In My Purse – Can I Germinate Them?

Q: I found in my change purse some seeds that were given to me five years ago. They look like peas and are sooty black with a white eye. Is there any chance of germinating them?

A: They might be hyacinth beans. It won’t hurt anything to wait until April to test them. When the time comes, dampen a paper towel, wrap the seeds in it and put everything in a resealable plastic bag. Put it in a warm window. Check the seeds in three to five days. If they are swelling and sprouting, that’s great news. Loosen the paper towel to expose the white stems to light but keep the damp towel touching the black seeds. Continue to keep things damp until the white stems have made two green leaves apiece. Use scissors to carefully cut away the pieces of paper towel that do not have roots attached to them. Transplant each seedling into a small pot and keep them in the window until early May, when you can plant outdoors.

If the seeds do not initially sprout in the paper towel, wait a few days and check again. If nothing has yet happened, the seeds will never sprout.

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