Buy Vegetable Seed: 5 Tips

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Like every year, the online shops and mail order companies are once again offering vegetable seeds from many old and new breeds that promise top performance. More yield, greater disease resistance, better taste or faster growth - the list of improvements is long. And the more seeds are offered, the harder it is to choose a variety. Here we have listed five criteria for you, which make it easier for you to decide when buying seeds.

1. F1 or organic seeds?

Whether cucumbers, tomatoes or carrots: Most of the offered varieties are so-called F1 seeds. Most home gardeners use it, but hardly anyone knows what is behind the name F1. The name comes from genetics and refers to the first generation of the offspring of two crossed plants. In order to combine the positive characteristics of both parents in the F1 generation, one uses the inbreeding: One crosses first of each starting plant two clones with each other, so that as many characteristics in the genome consist of two identical genes, are thus pure. Next, cross the two highly inbred so-called inbred lines to create the F1 generation. This causes a so-called hererosis effect: the F1 progeny are mixed in almost all genes. Many favorable characteristics of the parent species are newly combined and the F1 offspring are particularly efficient.
One disadvantage has the thing, because F1 varieties can not reproduce varietal. When you collect and re-seed your seed, the F2 generation differs in many traits from the parent species. From the point of view of the seed breeders pleasant side effect, because so you have to buy as a hobby gardener each year new seed. By the way: Some organic gardeners consider the F1 hybridization to be genetic engineering - but this is a prejudice, because this is a conventional breeding method.

Tomato type Philovita

Tomato type ox heart

'Philovita' (left) is a F1 tomato with high resistance to brown rot. 'Oxheart' (right) is a seed-proof meat tomato

As so-called organic seed vegetables are offered, which were created by Auslesez├╝chtung. In this oldest breeding process of humanity, only the plants were able to produce new seeds, which were characterized by particularly good characteristics such as large fruits, high yields or good aroma. Over time, many of the old landraces have emerged, some of which are still in use today. Almost all suppliers have next to F1- also organic seed in the assortment, which you can win as a hobby gardener from the sown plants themselves. The prerequisite is that one grows of the plants only this one variety, otherwise it comes to unwanted crosses and the offspring differ significantly from the parent.
Even if organic gardeners swear by seed-proof varieties: purely from the gardening point of view, there is no reason to do without F1 varieties. They are rejected by critical garden friends mainly because of the dubious business practices of some large seed companies.

2. Preserve the proven, try something new

It pays for vegetable gardeners to keep a meticulous book. Write down all the vegetables you have grown in your garden and record your experiences after the harvest - you can, for example, give school grades for important criteria such as yield, disease resistance, quality and taste of the particular vegetable variety. If you were satisfied with a vegetable variety by and large, you should grow it again next year and test one or two new varieties at the same time. If one of the two is better than last year, the old variety will fly out of cultivation planning and will be replaced by the new one next year. Experimenting and trying out new varieties is important in order to find a breeding that meets your expectations and expectations as perfectly as possible - because the cultivation conditions and personal preferences regarding the taste are so individual that there is hardly a vegetable variety that arrives everywhere equally well,

3. Pay attention to the correct growing time

Spinach, kohlrabi, carrots and some other vegetables have early and late varieties. Therefore, pay close attention to the cultivation time, which is noted on the package. The different sowing or planting dates usually have to do with the day length and sometimes also with the cultivation temperature or the winter hardiness of the corresponding variety. For example, there are vegetables that tend to shoot when certain temperature or light conditions occur during the growing season. An important influencing factor is for example the day length. Some varieties are planted in the morning.The winter hardiness plays a role especially in late vegetables such as Swiss chard, brussels sprouts and leeks.

4. Use over-year seed

If you still have seeds from the previous year, in most cases there is no reason to buy new ones. Seeds of pumpkin and cabbage plants, when stored correctly - cool, dry and dark - still show a good germination capacity after four years. The seeds of tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, spinach, chard, lettuce, radishes and radishes lasts about two to three years.

Germination test for seeds

With a germ sample can be determined whether the seed from the previous year is still usable

The germination of carrot, leek, onion and parsnip seeds decreases relatively quickly. Here you should carry out a germ-test in time for over-year-old seeds in late winter: Place ten to 20 seeds in a glass bowl with moist kitchen paper and cover them with cling film. In dark germs such as carrots, the vessel is placed in a dark storage room. If more than half of the seeds germinate, you can still use the seeds, otherwise you 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 program. Here the seeds are embedded in two thin pulp layers. This has a great advantage, especially with very fine grains such as carrots: they already have the optimal distance from each other in the seed band and you do not have to thinning the rows, as is usually necessary when sowing by hand. So that seed bands and seed discs have a good bottom connection and the seeds germinate reliably, it is very important that the Aussaathilfe after laying first moisten well before it is covered with soil.

seed tape

Seed bands enable uniform sowing even with fine seeds

An alternative is pilled seed. It is coated with organic substances such as pulp or wood flour, which is usually added potato starch as a binder. Occasionally, the shell also consists of ground clay and potato starch. Pilling also makes it easier to maintain uniform spacing for fine seeds. Especially in agriculture and professional vegetable growing, pilled seed is often used, because otherwise fine seeds can not be sowed by machine. Here, the envelope is often enriched with fungicides or Vergr├Ąmungsmitteln to prevent avian and fungal diseases. However, such additives must be expressly indicated on the packaging.

Video Board: Starting Vegetable Seeds Indoors: Planting, Watering, Feeding Tomatoes & Peppers- KIS Series (3).

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