Friday, April 20, 2012

Choosing Vegetable Seeds for the Northern Garden

With so many brands and varieties of vegetable seeds on the market, it can be a little overwhelming when choosing which ones to buy, especially for the first time gardener. Asking yourself a few questions will help simplify the process.

Tips for Choosing Vegetable Seed Varieties

1. What are the vegetables going to be used for? Choose vegetable seeds based on their primary purpose such as eating fresh or freezing and preserving. Some varieties freeze and can better than others. Seed catalogues always list which varieties freeze and can well in their descriptions.

2. How big of a yield do you want? If you’ve ever thumbed through a seed catalogue you’ve probably noticed the phrase “prolific grower” or “high yielding.” This means that particular variety of vegetable produces lots of fruit. If you want lots of vegetables, choose a variety that produces a high yield.

3. How long is your growing season? Here in Maine we have a short growing season. For this reason, when it comes to choosing vegetable seeds it’s best to choose those with shorter days to germination. This tip comes in really handy when growing watermelon, pumpkins and other vegetables that take longer to produce mature fruit. Days to germination is listed in catalogues and on the back of seed packets.

Tips for Choosing Vegetable Seed Brands

  • If you’re new to vegetable gardening, ask your friends, family, and neighbors which brands of vegetable seeds they trust the most. You may get a few different responses but it will leave you with a variety of options to choose from.
  • Experiment with different brands. Over the next few years as you continue to grow vegetables, you’ll get a feel for which brands you like best.
  • Use the internet to read reviews and mission statements about different brands and seed companies to find one that you like.
  • Support a local seed company. Here in Maine we have our very own seed company called Johnny's Selected Seeds. You can request a free catalogue online or order vegetable seeds directly from their website.

 Do you have any praises or gripes about a particular brand of vegetable seeds?

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