By the end of winter, for many gardeners comes the long-awaited time to buy seeds for the new season. Gardeners’ hands are so eager to get into action that brightly colored bags literally jump into the basket on their own. In order not to buy too much, it’s better to think in advance about the planting scheme, review the stocks from last year and make a rough list of necessary seeds. And it is better if the main part of this list will be already proven by experience – then you will not be left without a harvest.
We all suffer to some extent from a craving for experimentation. In gardening, they usually come in the form of exotic vegetables and flowers, which may not be suitable for our climate at all. So do not be lazy to look at the back of the package and specify the vegetation period of the plant, terms and conditions of maturation or flowering. By the way, a conscientious manufacturer will not promise a golden mountain. No matter how much you want to grow ampelic strawberries with atypically huge fruits, it is better to put such a bag aside, but take something simpler from a well-known brand, which values its deserved reputation.
F1: varietal or hybrid?
Many beginners are confused by the inscription “F1” next to the name of the plant. It means that the seeds in the bag are hybrid: the flowers from them will be brighter, lush, unusual color, and vegetables – more beautiful, larger and juicier, more resistant to disease. One disadvantage – hybrid plants are not suitable for collecting seeds at the end of the season: they are often sterile, and if you manage to plant something, the new offspring will not repeat the parental traits.
An alternative to hybrid seeds is varietal seeds. Sowing them once, you can already use your own seed the next year. The disadvantage of varietal plants follows from the advantages of hybrid plants – in terms of yield, maturity, resistance to negative conditions and diseases and other qualities, they lose to seeds marked “F1”.
What seeds you can save on
Many varieties are produced by several brands at once. If the product you need is presented in a colorful and plain paper packaging, you can avoid overpaying for the manufacturer’s printing costs. But the expiration date is worth checking – the fresher the seeds, the better their germination. For this reason, it is also not recommended to buy in advance. Please note: the expiration date should be stamped separately and not printed on the entire label.