Preparing and Planting Seed Packets

Spring is officially here and with it comes the perfect conditions to grow a wide array of beautiful plants. While buying potted plants can be one way of adding color to your garden, you can also do so the old-fashioned way: Buying and planting seeds.  

Whether you are at a supermarket or a garden center, seed packets seem to appear at every sales or checkout counter, just begging to be bought. With so many options, picking out the right seed packets can be difficult, more so if you are relatively new to gardening and home agriculture. But you can select the right seeds for your outdoor garden. Read on to learn more.

Know the Seed Types

The many types of seeds available generally fit into two categories: Heirloom and hybrid. Heirloom seeds (as can be judged by the name) are typically older and can be pricier. Many heirloom seeds can trace their lineages back to World War II and even beforehand. Heirloom seeds grow true to the plant, meaning seeds from that plant will always create the exact same plant.

This isn't the case with hybrid seeds, however. Unlike heirloom seeds (which occur "naturally," in that they come directly from the plant), hybrid seeds are deliberately produced by seed companies as a cross between two or more unrelated, but similar, plant types. This creates seeds with super-power-like abilities; they're more resistant to disease and can be stronger than their heirloom counterparts.

Many gardeners have their own opinions concerning heirloom versus hybrid seeds. Determining the "best" seed is a personal preference. Regardless of the seed type you select, you should pay attention to the plant's characteristics, which might include the color, dimensions, harvest, blossoms and type of bedding uses.

Know Your Dirt

Before snagging those seed packets, be sure to understand what works in your particular garden. Sometimes this requires some experimentation. Other times, you'll be able to immediately identify issues. For instance, if your garden's soil is typically moist or wet, you might be better off with Irises, Royal Ferns or Cardinal flowers. Russian Sage and Butterfly Weed do well with direct sunlight, while Ice Plants and Sedum are ideal when it comes to drought tolerance. 

Other issues to keep in mind are insects, pests, and seed purpose. With the latter, some plants end up being better ground cover than others. Be sure to read the seed packet information to get a good idea of the results.

Know How to Plant

Performing due diligence on the seeds is often the most complicated part of the process. The actual planting is actually pretty simple. Here are the basic steps:

  • Clear the garden or ground of any debris, like sticks, stones, or foliage
  • "Turn" the earth so that water and air can better reach the seeds once planted
  • Break up clumps in the seed packet before opening by massaging it with your fingers
  • Rip open the corner of the packet
  • Plant the seeds evenly by slowly pouring them out of the packet and onto the ground. You could also empty the seeds into the palm of your hand and, using thumb and finger of your other hand, scatter them.
  • Once the seeds are in the ground, cover them with with a good portion of soil, and water generously

Keep an eye on the plants as they grow, and remove weeds as necessary. 

While growing seeds might seem a little daunting at first, acquiring the relevant information and experimenting can help you create a terrific garden of flowers or vegetables. Ready? Now go forth and grow. 

For information about plants of all kinds, visit Plants on Broadway