Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Some of my vegetable and ornamental seeds for this year: dent corn, cowpeas, Job's tears, pole beans, gourds, chard, castor beans, and zucchini.

My seeds have started coming in. Yes, I'm somewhat late, but remember that there was a time when everything was planted directly into the ground and not started in greenhouses. I've only gotten about a third of what I've ordered so far, but I'm expecting the rest within the week. And I'm still debating about ordering some more. (I may need an intervention on my seed habit.) There's just something about their potential and beauty that gets me excited and ready to get to work.

This year, all but one of my seeds are open-pollinated, and I only got the one hybrid as a backup to a somewhat expensive packet of heirloom summer squash seeds. Luckily the seed company I ordered from sent more seeds than they stated, so I won't have to worry over them so much. You'll have to wait and see what kind of squash it is when it starts producing, though.

Now to back up a bit, open-pollinated basically means that if the plant is pollinated by a plant of the same variety, the seed produced will be like the parents. This is contrasted with hybrids, which do not produce true to type even if pollinated by the same hybrid variety. Hybrids are extremely common nowadays, and are recommended for increased uniformity and yield. They are also more expensive to produce, and if you want the same plant next year, you would have to buy it again instead of saving the seed. That dependence on the seed company is one of my main beefs with hybrids, and I am planning on saving a lot of seed this year (as opposed to only two varieties last year) so I can have a smaller bill next year and get started a little earlier. Of course I don't think I'll ever not buy seeds because there are so many different varieties to try, each a different experience.

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