In many regions the garden is still slumbering under a blanket of snow, but planning for the new season is already in full swing. If you consider the following shopping tips, you will find the ideal organic vegetable seeds for your garden.
As every year, the online shops and mail order companies are again offering vegetable seeds of numerous old and new varieties that promise top performance. More yield, greater resistance to plant diseases, better taste or faster growth – the list of improvements is long. And the more seeds are offered, the more difficult it is to choose a variety. Here we have listed five criteria for you to make your decision when buying seeds easier.
5 Considerations for Buying Vegetable Seeds
1. F1 or organic seeds?
Whether cucumbers , tomatoes or carrots: The majority of the varieties on offer are so-called F1 seeds. Most hobby gardeners use it, but hardly anyone knows what the name F1 means. The name comes from genetics and describes the first generation of the offspring of two plants that were crossed with one another. Inbreeding is used to combine the positive characteristics of both parents in the F1 generation: First of all, two clones are crossed from each parent plant so that as many characteristics as possible in the genome consist of two identical genes, i.e. are purely inherited. Then the two highly pure-bred so-called inbred lines are crossed to create the F1 generation. This causes a so-called Hererosis effect: the F1 offspring are mixed-breed in almost all genes.
The matter has one disadvantage, because F1 varieties cannot be propagated according to the variety. When their seeds are collected and re-sown, the F2 generation differs in many characteristics from the parent species. From the seed breeder’s point of view, this is a pleasant side effect, because as a hobby gardener you have to buy new seeds every year. By the way: some organic gardeners consider F1 hybridization to be genetic engineering – but this is a prejudice because it is a conventional breeding process.
Vegetables are offered as so-called organic seeds that have been created through selective breeding. In this, the oldest breeding process of mankind, new seeds were only ever obtained from plants that were characterized by particularly good properties such as large fruits, high yields or good aroma. Over time, many of the old local varieties have emerged, some of which are still widespread today. Almost all suppliers now have organic seeds in their range in addition to F1 seeds, which hobby gardeners can obtain themselves from the plants sown. The prerequisite is that only this one variety of the plants is grown, otherwise there will be undesired crossings and the offspring will differ significantly from the parent species.
Even if organic gardeners swear by seed-proof varieties: From a purely horticultural perspective, there is no reason to forego F1 varieties. They are rejected by critical gardening enthusiasts mainly because of the dubious business practices of some large seed companies.
2. Keep the tried and tested, try new things
It pays for the vegetable gardener to keep meticulous records. Write down all the vegetables that you have grown in your garden and write down your experiences after the harvest – you can, for example, give school grades for important criteria such as yield, resistance to diseases, quality and taste of the respective vegetable. Once you’ve been largely satisfied with a vegetable variety, consider growing it again next year and testing one or two new varieties at the same time. If one of the two is better than the one from last year, the old variety is thrown out of the cultivation plan and will be replaced by the new one in the coming year.
Also Read: How to Grow Seeds – 9 Tips for Beginners
3. Pay attention to the correct cultivation time
In spinach, turnip greens, carrots and some other vegetables there early and late varieties. Therefore, when buying, pay close attention to the cultivation time, which is noted on the package. The different sowing or planting dates mostly have to do with the length of the day and sometimes also with the cultivation temperature or the winter hardiness of the respective variety. There are vegetables that tend to shoot if the certain temperature or light conditions occur during the growing season. An important influencing factor, for example, is the length of the day. Some varieties are planted in the morning. Winter hardiness plays a role especially in late vegetables such as Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts and leeks.
4. Use annual seeds
If you still have seeds from last year, in most cases there is no need to buy new ones. When stored correctly – in a cool, dry and dark place – seeds of pumpkin and cabbage plants still show good germinability even after four years. The seeds of tomatoes, peppers , beans, peas, spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce, radishes and radishes last for around two to three years.
The germinability of carrot, leek, onion and parsnip seeds declines relatively quickly . Here you should carry out a germination test in good time for overannual seeds in late winter: Place ten to 20 seeds in a glass bowl with damp kitchen paper and cover them with cling film. In the case of dark germs such as carrots, the container is placed in a dark storage room. If more than half of the seeds germinate, you can still use the seeds, otherwise you’d better buy new ones.
5. Seed bands and seed discs: use sowing aids
In addition to conventional seeds, some suppliers also have seed bands and seed discs in their product range. Here the seeds are embedded in two thin layers of cellulose. This has a great advantage, especially with very fine seeds such as carrots: They already have the optimal distance to each other in the seed band and you save yourself the need to thin out the rows, which is usually necessary when sowing by hand. So that the seed bands and seed discs have good contact with the soil and the seeds germinate reliably, it is very important that the sowing aid is moistened well after it has been laid out before covering it with soil.
An alternative is pelleted seeds. It is coated with organic substances such as cellulose or wood flour, to which potato starch is usually added as a binding agent. Occasionally the shell is also made of ground clay and potato starch. The pelleting also makes it easier to maintain uniform distances with fine seeds. Above all in agriculture and in professional vegetable growing, pill-coated seeds are often used, because otherwise fine seeds cannot be sown mechanically. Here, the wrapping material is also often enriched with fungicides or detergents in order to prevent bird damage and fungal diseases. However, such additives must be expressly indicated on the packaging.
So this is all about 5 wonderful tips that can help you buy vegetable seeds online in India for your garden.