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Tips for Selecting Seeds

It's time to start planning for spring planting.  If you haven't chosen seeds and selected the crops you hope to grow, now is the time.  Here are a few thoughts to help you get started.

Seed Starting 

Choose Seeds that Will Grow in Your Area

When selecting seeds that will grow in your area, consider your agricultural zone as well as the length of your growing season.  You can determine the length of your growing season, by finding the number of days between the average last frost and average first frost.  Use this information to determine whether the seeds you are selecting will grow in your zone, keeping in mind that many yards have small micro climates that will allow you some flexibility in what you can grow.  If you have 100 days in your growing season, don't buy melons that take 130 days to ripen.

Choose Seeds that You Will Eat or Like how They Look

This seems obvious, but so often we manage to buy some seed that we don't actually like to eat.  If you are willing to invest money, time, and space into growing a crop from seeds start by choosing your favorite foods and make sure to steer clear of those that are so-so. 

Choose Things that Taste better Fresh

If you can only grow a limited number of seeds, select crops that taste better fresh.  Tomatoes are the perfect example of a mediocre grocery store purchase compared to the mouth watering varieties from the garden.

Consider Heirloom, Organic, and Non-Genetically Engineered Seeds

Look for seed companies that have signed the safe-seed pledge and are selling seeds that have not been genetically engineered.  By choosing to grow heirloom, organic, or just non-genetically modified crops, you are supporting green practices and the small companies that are selling open-pollinated vegetables, fruit and flower seeds.  If you are looking for a list of seed companies, check out the organic seed finder site from AOSCA.

Create a Seed Sharing Group

So often we are interested in growing just a few of each variety in our garden, yet even the smallest seed packets can have hundreds of seeds.  Get together with others in your area, and share your seeds to increase the number of varieties for your own backyard.

Keep a Record of What you Like

This year I am making the pledge to record everything I plant, how it grows and where I put it.  Knowing what worked well last year is incredibly important when you sit down to plan your next years garden (as I'm being reminded of right now).  Keep in mind that some year crops just fail, so give your seeds at least a few years before you give up, and choose another variety.

What else do you consider when selecting seeds for the coming year? 

nebraska dave
1/17/2013 2:33:49 PM

Gretchen, all good points to consider when planting seeds. The most important of the points is to grow something the family likes to eat. I like all vegetables but the family not so much. I grow what the neighbors around me like. Cucumbers being the top of the list and it just happens to be something that can be used to make pickles which is a great hit with my grandson. He can chew his way through a gallon of dill pickles in about two weeks all by himself. Another point to consider is space. Sweet corn, squash, watermelons, pumpkins, etc. all take lots of space. A small patch of sweet corn just doesn't do as well as a bigger patch. All the vining crawling plants will take up a great amount of space. There are bush varieties but I still like the take over the garden vining plants for squash, pumpkin, and watermelon. Have a great day planning the garden.