Until I became aware that quality seeds matter, I thought you bought seeds wherever from whomever. I mean, as long as it grows, right? (Well sure, until you start thinking about the downsides to using GMO seeds.)
Then as I started gardening and having success with some seeds and not others, it became apparent why it’s also beneficial to plant local seed varieties, cultivated to thrive in specific regional climates.
You can learn how to save seeds yourself — just remember, it’s important to store seeds properly — but if that’s too much work or it’s too late in the season, it’s good to know where you can get quality seeds.
In addition to those listed in an earlier post, Sourcing Seeds Locally, Cyber-Help for Organic Farmers also offers a list of certified organic seed suppliers in Canada.
Remember, some plants are more particular about the environment they’ll grow in, so it may be beneficial to choose from a source whose seeds come from your own or a similar climate region, too.
As crops in the garden are harvested it’s not a bad idea to leave a few plants and let them “go to seed,” which in this case is a good thing.
Last year one of my garden neighbours left a huge Swiss chard plant go to seed and come spring it became the perfect ladybug love nest. We had a proliferation of ladybugs over the entire season as a result of their happy egg laying, and the entire garden benefited.
The usual reason for letting plants go to seed, of course, is seed collection. But seed collection is pointless if the seeds become useless as a result of improper storage over the winter.
Seeds have unique requirements in order to germinate — each needs the right indicators of temperature, moisture and/or light for their seed sprouting genes to kick in. Sometimes, like the strange seeding strawberry featured earlier this year, they ignore the usual indicators and do their own thing.
As with most things gardening, there is basic seed storage information, and then there is detailed seed storage information. If you have questions about a specific type of seed, your best bet is to tailor your search for that plant and compare a few sources.
A good thing to note is that some regular commercial, non-organic seeds may be hybrid plants which means the seeds won’t sprout no matter what you do with them. Choosing organic seeds and/or heritage varieties from a reputable seed company goes a long way if you want to collect your own seed stock.
In addition, choosing locally grown seeds has the added benefit of ensuring the plant variety is suitable for your climate.
Why Quality Seeds Matter
Sourcing Seeds Locally
Let the Planting Begin