Pro Gardening Tips: Seed Searching

One way to make sure you have vegetables fresh on hand—grow them yourself.

Allison Jackson, from Rent-a-Gardener, dives into the depths of how seeds work.

The first thing you do when planning a garden is choose what goes in it.

As a tip to first-time gardeners, Jackson says it’s best to start small.

She says there are many seed options in catalogs, and that’s’ why this time of year is her favorite.

“Seed catalogs offer great variety of plants and show new plants that are now available from seed,” Jackson says. “Seeing these options before the growing season starts helps me to better plan out my garden spaces.”

Browsing catalogs helps Jackson see what her growing options are.

Catalogs are packed full of growing information to help the average gardener ensure a successful outcome.

Jackson says there are even catalogs online—all you need to so is search “free seed catalogs” and get on a company mailing list.

Once plants are chosen, it’s time to move on to growing.

Normally, we think of plants growing outside, but seeds can also be started indoors.

Jackson says individuals do this to extend the growing season.

Some seed need to be scored or soaked for a period of time prior to plantings.

This allows the seeds to sprout before being put in the soil.

Growers vary in type of seed produced, which can include heirloom and hybrid seed, wildflower seeds, native seeds and seeds from other countries.

Some growers specialize in specific types of seeds, bulbs and such.

Jackson says catalogs offer:

  1. Detailed growing info.
  2. Help with strategically planning long-term garden spaces.
  3. Seeds for a variety of plants.

There are a few categories of seed:

  • Heirloom Seed

This is seed from a plant that has been passed from one plant generation to another.

Jackson says these plants are typically valued for their flavor, productivity, hardiness or adaptability.

Some heirloom seed has been saved for well over 100 years and longer.

  • Hybrid Seed

This seed is cultivated from two different parent plants, and you need to buy new seed every year.

Hybrid seed has been around since the 1930s, and is cultivated to create plants that produce higher yields, even ripening, improved color and disease resistance, Jackson says.

GMO Seed

  • Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMO seed, are altered using DNA from completely different species and organisms.

This gives the plant different traits, such as resistance to herbicides and an acceptance of fertilizers.

  • Wildflower Seed

This refers to a flower that grows in the wild and was not intentionally planted.

These can be both annual and perennial seeds, Jackson says.

  • Native Seed

These are native plants that were here from before European settlers arrived.

They can include trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses, Jackson says.

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