Have you ever saved seed for several years because you lost it or forgot about it? Then wondered if they were still good, or should you just toss em? Who wants to go through the effort of potting seeds up, and then wait, and wait, and..... well you know. If they dont come up, you wonder if they are bad seed, or if they need a cold period , or if there is something else wrong. It's very easy to check germination . If you want to figure a "germination rate", then simply check 10 seeds at once. Otherwise, use whatever amount you want.
This is a close-up of the germinated seed. You can click on any of these for a larger view. You can check any seed in this manner. There are some seeds that require special considerations to germinate. Some seeds require darkness to germinate, such as: Bachelor's Buttons, Butterfly Flower, Forget-me-not, Larkspur, Nemesia, Painted Tongue, Phlox, Poppies, and Pansy.
Unlike seeds of annuals, some perennial seeds may require a cold period or stratification period. Some of these are: Monkshood, Penny Black Nemophilia,Sage,and Lily of the valley. Winter sowing is an easy way to handle these guys.
Some seeds also require scarification or nicking to help with germination. These are usually the big hard seeds such as Canna's, and Brugmansia among others. This involves taking a file and filing some of the hard black coat off in a small area , or by snipping a small piece off with toenail clippers. Just be careful what ever method you use, you dont want to hurt yourself if you slip. These coats can get rock hard.
A good helpful site on germination is located here: The Seed Site.
Try growing seeds from other store produce, such as cantelopes, watermelons, grapes, peppers, cucumbers etc. Just think of the fun your missing out on.