Every year at this time I do a seed inventory of what I have, what I no longer want, and what I've saved. I use this as a basis for figuring out what I need to order for next year. In addition I put up a post about what I have to trade and give away (to come soon) that consists of seed that I have saved over the year and seed that I have decided to no longer grow.
My first pass through the containers nets me two piles. Seed I no longer want to grow and seed that is too old. The first is based upon how things grew and tasted. For instance my Rainbow Chard is going this year. I like the taste of Ruby Chard more and would like to try a green variety. I will miss the yellow stalks of Rainbow Chard, but to me taste reigns supreme and my tastes (I know not all of you agree) say Ruby Chard tastes better.
I can determine if seed is too old by two ways. The first is by a germination test. You put 10 seeds onto a damp paper towel in a plastic bag (make sure there is the smallest bit of airflow) and put the bag in a warm location. If they sprout, you are golden. If not buy more seed. BTW if less than 50% sprout it is usually best to toss anyway. The seeds are not very strong at that point and can make for weak seedlings. I however am just using another method. I check the dates. Different seed keeps a different amount of time.
Short (1-2): alliums, corn, parsnip (use new seed every year), spinach
Medium (3-5): carrots (on the short side), legumes, lettuce, peppers, tomatillos
Long (6+): beets, brassica family, cucurbit family, eggplant, tomato
How you store your seeds makes a big difference too. I store mine in a plastic air tight container in the fridge. Before I open it, I always let it come to room temperature so there is no condensation. This year I threw out some old spinach, carrots, and onions. I will only save spinach or onion each year if I'm not counting on the variety. Otherwise it is only new seed.
Seed that I'm no longer growing:
Lettuce: Austrailan Yellow Leaf(2009), Simpson Elite(2008), Prizehead(2008)
Tomatoes: Tumbling Tom(2009x9), Early Ssubakus Aliana(2009)
Squash: Dark Green Zucchini(2008)
Radish: Crimson Giant(2005), Pinetree Mix(2009), Reggae(2009)
Eggplant: Slim Jim(2008); Lavender Touch(2009)
Peas: Super Sugar Snap(2008), Mammoth Melting Snow Pea(2008)
Greens: Tyfon Holland Greens(2009), Strawberry Spinach(2009), Bright Lights Swiss Chard(2009)
Seed that I saved:
Dried Bean: Ottawa Cranberry; Trail of Tears
Chili Pepper: Early Jalapeno
Lettuce: Red Sails, Deer Tongue
Herbs: Dill, Coriander(cilantro)
Flowers: Ground control marigold, Tithonia, Johnny Jump Up, Borage, False Indigo, Jewel Nasturtium
Tomatoes: Chocolate Cherry, Market Miracle, Black Moor, Emma-Sungold F3, Gabrielle-Sungold F3
Seed that is left over and might be used next year:
Peppers: Cayenne(2009 Pinetree), Early Jalapeno (2009 Pinetree), Serrano (2009 Pinetree)
Tomatoes: Sungold F2(2008 saved), Aussie(2008 saved), Market Miracle(2008 Wintersown), Black Cherry(2008 Wintersown), Chocolate Cherry(2008 Wintersown), Moon Yellow(2008 Wintersown)
Lettuce: Merveille de Quatre Saison(2009 Pinetree); New Red Fire(2008 Pinetree), Red Sails(2008)
Greens: Rhubarb Chard (Burpee 2008), Golden Corn Salad(2009 Michelle)
Brassicas: Dwarf Blue Curled Kale(2008 Botanical Interests), Gonzales Cabbage(2009 Pinetree), Broccoli Packman(2008 Vermont Bean Seed Co), Rubicon Napa Cabbage( 2008 Johnnys), Purple Mizuna(2008 Johnnys), Tatsoi(2008 Johnnys), Komatsuna(2009 Pinetree), Fun Jen(2008 Pinetree)
Squash: Neck Pumpkin(2009 Pinetree), Magdalena Big Cheese(2009SSEY)
Cucumbers: Diamant(2009 Johnnys), Armenian(2009 Wintersown x6)
Basil: Lemon Basil(2009 Pinetree), Holy Basil(2009 Pinetree), Sweet Basil(2008)
Snap Beans: Kentucky Wonder(2008 Pinetree)
Peas: Cascadia(2009 Pinetree)