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What You Need to Know About Seeds

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Planting seeds and watching them germinate and grow is such a fascinating process that brings so much joy. If you have never experienced it, you will know what we are talking about it when it happens to you.

We want to help you by giving you the tools to successfully start seeds, so that they can grow into healthy mature plants.


AN INTRO TO SEEDS

There are several different types of seeds, you may have heard about heritage, heirloom and hybrid seeds. Let's look at the difference between these seeds.

Heirloom and heritage seeds are the same thing, these seeds come from plants that are predictable and have been grown for a long time. You can harvest the seeds from these crops and grow them year after year. Since these seeds have been around for a while, they have developed a resistance against local insect and disease pathogens and have become hardy in our climate and extreme weather on the prairies. They are valued because of their taste, texture, color, fragrance and their story. Not all heirloom seeds are great though, some may have less resistance to other pathogens and insects, and may not produce as well.


Hybrid seeds are cross-pollinated seeds bred from two different parents for specific reasons. The reasons may include production, taste, looks, size, uniformity, ease of harvest, storability, bigger blooms, resistance to diseases and more. Hybridized seeds are the property of the breeder and are often trademarked. On top of that, saving and replanting seeds from hybrid plants is impractical as they very rarely grow true to the type that they were

collected from.


CHOOSING SEEDS

There are a so many varieties of seeds available that picking out your seeds can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you choose!

First off, know what will grow in our climate. Just because it is on the shelf in the store does not mean it will survive here, and that would be discouraging. You will want to pay attention to the days to harvest to see if our growing season is long enough. Our growing season is around 110 days.

(ps. Sandra has done this step for you and has only put seeds on our shelves that are native to our area or will grow here).


Second is taste, there is no use in putting in the work of growing vegetables if you won't even eat them so you might as well grow the plants that you will be able to enjoy.


Third is seeding, are you wanting to start seeds indoors or sow them straight into the soil once the weather allows? Some seeds have to be started indoors (like peppers) in order to grow big enough and produce in our short growing season, other seeds do best when planted straight into the ground end of May. Choose what suits you best.









I HAVE OLD SEEDS, WILL THEY GERMINATE?

A seed is living, it is a capsule with an embryo and also contains the food that it will need to germinate and sprout. Some seeds like lettuce, radishes and celery, will most likely still germinate after sitting in your cupboard for 5 years. While others, like oregano, may only be viable for one year. It can be very frustrating to sow a bunch of seeds and have very low germination success.

Complete this simple test to see if your seeds will have good germination success or not.

Simply place a moistened paper towel on a tray and put 10 seeds on it. Next, place the paper towel in a location where it will receive a little bit of bottom warmth (the top of a fridge typically works good). Keep the paper towel moist through the whole process.

Wait for the seeds to germinate in the usual range that the species takes to germinate. After that period is over, see how many of your seeds have sprouted. If 8 out 10 germinated, your seeds are in excellent condition. Even 5 out of 10 is not too bad, just double up on your seed when sowing them. If three or less seeds germinated then don't waste your time. After you have completed this test, the seeds that sprouted can be placed into the soil and already have a good start to becoming plants.

It is important to note that some species have a much lower viability than others. Some seed packages will tell you when the seeds should all be sown by because their viability rate may be low after that period of time.


SEED TAPE AND IT'S BENEFITS

You may have seen seed tape packages like the ones pictured below. This is a roll of fully biodegradable paper embedded with seeds.

Seed tape makes planting very fine seeds like carrots much simpler. The seeds are already perfectly placed in the paper so all you need to do is dig your furrow and place the unrolled paper in the row. Read the package to see if your seed tape needs to be covered with soil or not. Since the seeds are perfectly placed, there is no need to thin out your seedlings which may save you a great deal of time. *Note: seed tapes must remain moist at all times or the germinating seed cannot break through the paper strip.











We said it before but we will say it again, starting seeds, whether indoors or outdoors is such a fascinating process. We have many other blogs that cover other topics to help you be the best gardener. Our passion is to teach others what we have learned about sustaining ourselves and those around us. It is a worthwhile investment that can save you large amounts on grocery bills, improve your health mentally and physically, and bring communities together.








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