How to Buy Garden Seed

As some people are learning more about their environment and the advantages of homegrown food, they may want to plant their own gardens. Learning how to buy garden seed can be the exciting and confusing part of getting your garden supplies together. Many places sell seed, from feed stores to big box stores, but you need to know how if you are obtaining quality seed that will sprout after being planted. Beginning gardeners may also be confused with the plethora of seeds out there and may wonder at the difference between the types of seeds available.


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    Learn the types of seed that are available to plant in your garden.
    • Hybrid seeds: These are seeds whose parent plants are 2 distinctly different plants that have been crossbred to promote certain desirable traits. These seeds may produce plants that are more disease resistant, produce larger fruit, or have an easier harvest. The disadvantage of this type of garden seed is that many unique genes are lost and attributes such as a unique taste, smell, or texture may not be present in the plants and fruits from hybrid seeds. The seeds collected from hybrid plants may not be suitable to plant for the next year as they may not produce the same type of plants as those they came from.
    • Heirloom seeds: Heirloom seeds come from plants that have not been genetically changed by humans. Heirloom plants and vegetables have distinct smells, tastes, and textures that hybrid seeds may not have. The seeds from these plants will produce the same type of plant they were harvested from. Although heirloom seeds may not have some characteristics bred into them that the hybrid seeds possess, many of these characteristics are not particularly sought after by the backyard gardener.
    • Organic seeds: These seeds come from parent plants that are pesticide-free and organically grown. These seeds may be heirloom or hybrid.
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    Decide on the types of seeds you want to plant in your garden, and write down a list of them. Mark off the seeds as you find sources for them so you do not double order.
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    Buy from a reputable seed company. Many seed companies have been in business for many years and take pride in producing quality seeds that have good sprout rates and will produce healthy plants. Look into how long a seed company has been in business and if there are any consumer complaints against them.
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    Check the expiration date on the seed packet at the store or when the seeds arrive in the mail. Seed packets come with an expiration date printed on them. Make sure you have the current year's seeds. Although expired seeds may sprout, the sprout rate may be less or the plants may not be as healthy as they could be.
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    Choose garden seeds that can be grown in the zone in which you live. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a map of 11 climate zones in North America that lets gardeners know if the plants of the seeds they are buying for their garden will survive in their part of the country. This can give you a general guidelines to follow when selecting seeds for a garden.
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    Buy garden seeds for the growing season you want to planting in. Some seeds need cool weather for germination, such are cabbages, lettuce, and Brussels sprouts. Others prefer warm to hot weather, such as zucchini, corn, and watermelon. Look on the back of your seed packet for the months to achieve the best germination rate for your gardening zone.

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Categories: Gardening