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This will probably be a goofy question. Does any seed supplier sell a starter collection of seeds for the small home garden? I don't need 25 cukes, 25 watermelons, but more like 5 seeds of lots of things. I'd like to try to grow from seed, but a whole bunch of different seeds is really expensive for the little bit I would use. Any suggestions?
Most veggie seeds will last a good long time if properly stored. I had the privilege of 'waking up' some tomato seeds a couple of years ago that were 15 and 17 years old. The seeds were quite rare and the stock needed to be freshened. Viability goes down as seeds get older, but after 5 years, instead of getting 100% germination, you might get 70%, after 8 years, maybe 40%.
Something else you might do is if there is a variety that you only want to sample, team up with someone else here on DG and split the seeds and the cost. I know that several folks have done this over the years.
If you like Open Pollinated and Heirloom seeds, many of us have a huge collection of seeds and would be more than happy to share a few with a newbie. There are many alternatives to ordering a huge packet of seeds, you just have to think outside the box a bit.
Fiddle, that is so sweet. Since they will last more than a year, I think I'll go to the little hardware store near here and enjoy the experience of deciding, plus it helps keep them in business (2 box stores on same road).
Would you like an unopened pack of cilantro seeds (100)? I'm allergic and they came with a herb gift I received.
You must really have a productive plant. I grow 50 -100 plants of about 4 -5 different cultivars per year and I don't eat zucchini. Never had any trouble giving it away tho.
This was my most productive cultivar this past year.
There are lots of round zukes. This is a little round one named Cue Ball, sister of One Ball (yellow) and Eight Ball ( Black). It was the best yielding of the three. These are Hollar Products, but several other companies are offering similar products. If I remember correctly, I did get these from Pinetree. Good for trials, but the number of seeds per pkt is really small.
This one is a Lebanese cousa type which got the most raves for flavor - Clarimore. Magda is not quite as pretty but also performed well.
I would use a 5 gal pot and put 4 seeds in . When the plants are up about 3" tall, cut off 2 of them.
This way, you're not behind the game if you happen to get a bad seed. Also, things can happen to baby plants as they grow, you don't want to base your whole harvest on the assumption that 1 plant will make it to maturity and produce.
Always plant a few extra, you can always clip them if you see that there's too many. That goes for cukes and other veggies too. Also, unless you're really good at pot culture, pot grown veggies produce less than their ground grown cousins.
You are all so smart, thank you for the help. This is the first time in 20 years that I've done a bigger garden. My plans (so far) are for short carrots, snow peas, cucumbers, green beans, several kinds of tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, red onions, smaller watermelon, small cantaloupe, strawberries, zucc & now radishes. Some will be in pots, several on a trellis, I hope I have room for it all. Broccoli and cauliflower are on the maybe list.
Do strawberry pots work? I have 2 large ones I've used with flowers.
Do the apple trees that have 2 or 3 varieties grafted on them really grow and produce?
I know, lots of question. Thank you all again for your wisdom, c4
If you're going for trellis for the watermelon and loupes, use old pantyhose or knee highs to "sling" the fruit. I have all my girl friends saving me their old torn pantyhose and knee highs. I use them for a lot of different things. They are so soft and fairly stretchy they work great for tying up plants. I also use them on sunflower heads to save us some of the seeds. The birds don't get em all! LOL
jill, I've been trying to find information and the only problem I've found mentioned so far is for pruning, because of different growth rates, but the writer said it was worth it for the variety in small places. I've not found a place to order.
in an earlier post it says all commercial apple trees are grafted to a rootstock. i did some of this in college and all you need is a mulberry tree root (they grow everywhere and are spread by the birds) and a limb cutting of the same size from the apple tree of your choice. sharpen the twig to a point and split the root stock, then use a rubberband to hold the split together and wrap with grafting wax. using the mulberry rootstock makes the new apple tree a dwarf tree and then its much easier to prune and harvest. hope this helps
fiddle--i see you are a veggie gardener in dallas--i live in plano and want to try this spring to start some veggies--since you live so close can you suggest what grows best here? thanks --i know our temps and soil might be better for certain plants--
After a steady diet of supermarket maters, just about all home growns taste really good to me.
I am partial to the pink types, Momotaro is especially good.
There is an excellent seed starting guide located at the top in the "sticky" section of this forum.
I germinate them indoors and keep them warm, in plastic seed trays, and as soon as the true leaves develop, put them out into my unheated garage under shop lights for 16 hours per day. They like the cooler temps in the garage where the air stays cool but not cold. After 10 days or so under the lights, I transplant them into small cups, either 4 inch plastic cups or 8 ounce styrofoam cups, and put them back under the lights. If all goes well, after about germination +7 weeks they will be about 10 inches high or so, with a thick, stocky main stem. Then they will get a short tour of the fresh air and indirect skylight outside on my patio, maybe an hour or so at first and then progressively longer, to get them used to the real world, but not all at once. At germination +8 weeks, I will set them out into their new raised bed homes. For a week or so, or until at least until the onset of that magical, statistical frost free date, I will keep the cages wrapped with Reemay row cover, maybe up until Easter (remember, we had a surprise freeze last Easter).
All of this takes a large amount of planning and a small dose of luck, but you can do it.
thanks again dennis--i must admit i am a bit intimidated now!! what happens if you try and plant from seed outdoors in the ground? are the seed tomatoes better than the plants they sell or is it mainly that you can have so much more variety?
The only advantage to growing your own tomatoes from seed is variety, Linda. There are literally thousands of different tomatoes, so nurseries will only stock a relative few. They're really not hard to do, even with less-than-perfect conditions (I know from personal experience!), and you will almost certainly get something for your efforts; even if the seedlings are a little weak or spindly they will eventually grow and make nice tomatoes.
That said, for my first several years' efforts, I bought some seedlings from the nursery. A local nursery should carry varieties that do well in your growing climate; they are ready to go straight into the ground with no fuss, they will start stronger for you than a weaker home-grown seedling would, and you'll get to start figuring out what kinds you actually enjoy eating. Even the most generic nursery hybrid plant will make tomatoes that taste so much better than the ones from the grocery store!
i just love tomatoes and really miss the way i think one should taste or the way i remember them tasting--they say do not put them in the refrig and i don't but the store bought are just bland! and there aren't many things better than a really good tomato!! i always buy the ones that are in a group on a stem thinking they look more natural and will be better tasting but still bland!
I used to do that too, but last summer I got addicted to the veggies from the farmers' market--they taste SO much better! So now I make the effort to get down there every weekend to stock up. Hopefully this summer I'll have some luck with my own veggie garden and won't need to buy quite as much from others.