A Beginners Guide to Buying Seeds

If you are a novice gardener you may feel as though you are constantly having to look things up and ask for advice. Even when you have been gardening for a while, there is still always a lot to learn. Everyone has to start in the same place, by deciding what they would like in their garden. Since growing from seed is usually the cheapest and often the easiest option, many people begin by choosing and buying seeds. If you are starting from scratch and would like to just buy and plant a few seeds, here are a few hints and tips to help you get started:

Choices:

Before you buy any seeds at all you should think carefully about what you plan to grow, and why. Is your choice suitable for the conditions in your garden? Consider where you live, the climate, how sunny the intended location is and, if you are sowing seeds in garden beds, what sort of soil you have there. Think about your habits, your needs and how you use the space. You will want to consider yield, if you are growing your own, and of course aesthetics with a flower garden. You might also want to consider the wildlife in your garden, and try to find seeds for plants that will increase biodiversity and bring beneficial insect life to your space. Make sure that you buy seeds that are suitable for the conditions and also suit your own needs and wants.

Timing:

Timing is everything when it comes to sowing seeds, so don't leave it too late to plan what you would like to grow in your garden. Seed packets will come with instructions on when seeds ought to be sown and you should always be sure to follow them. Remember though, that some seeds are better for early season growing and some for growing later in the season – peas and carrots, for example, both have different varieties best planted at different times of year. Choose the right variety for the time of year and be sure to buy it in plenty of time. Winter is the best time to plan your planting for the year ahead. Do you intend to plant your seeds directly into the ground? In that case many seeds must wait until after the late frost date in your area. Planting indoors will often give you a head-start, just be sure not to plant out too early.

F1 Hybrid or Open-Pollinated?

As well as considering the conditions where you live and the timing you may also wish to delve a little deeper into discovering what sort of seeds you are buying. F1 hybrid seeds are seeds of plants bred from two stable seed lines. There are pros and cons to buying this sort of seed. On the one hand, F1 hybrids are often more reliable, uniform and disease resistant. The size and strength of the plants can often be greater. On the other hand, F1 hybrid seeds are much more expensive due to the complications and intricate work involved in creating them. Those who wish to work towards sustainability by saving their own seed should also be aware that hybrid seeds do not come true to the parent type.

Make your own decisions and happy planting!

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