Planting Seeds

Any reliable seed house can be depended upon for good seeds; but even so, there is a great risk in seeds. A seed may to all appearances be all right and yet not have within it vitality enough, or power, to produce a hardy plant.

If you save seed from your own plants you are able to choose carefully. Suppose you are saving seed of aster plants. What blossoms shall you decide upon? Now it is not the blossom only which you must consider, but the entire plant. Why? Because a weak, straggly plant may produce one fine blossom. Looking at that one blossom so really beautiful you think of the numberless equally lovely plants you are going to have from the seeds. But just as likely as not the seeds will produce plants like the parent plant.

So in seed selection the entire plant is to be considered. Is it sturdy, strong, well shaped and symmetrical; does it have a goodly number of fine blossoms? These are questions to ask in seed selection.

If you should happen to have the opportunity to visit a seedsman’s garden, you will see here and there a blossom with a string tied around it. These are blossoms chosen for seed. If you look at the whole plant with care you will be able to see the points which the gardener held in mind when he did his work of selection.

In seed selection size is another point to hold in mind. Now we know no way of telling anything about the plants from which this special collection of seeds came. So we must give our entire thought to the seeds themselves. It is quite evident that there is some choice; some are much larger than the others; some far plumper, too. By all means choose the largest and fullest seed. The reason is this: When you break open a bean and this is very evident, too, in the peanut you see what appears to be a little plant. So it is. Under just the right conditions for development this ‘little chap’ grows into the bean plant you know so well.

This little plant must depend for its early growth on the nourishment stored up in the two halves of the bean seed. For this purpose the food is stored. Beans are not full of food and goodness for you and me to eat, but for the little baby bean plant to feed upon. And so if we choose a large seed, we have chosen a greater amount of food for the plantlet. This little plantlet feeds upon this stored food until its roots are prepared to do their work. So if the seed is small and thin, the first food supply insufficient, there is a possibility of losing the little plant.

You may care to know the name of this pantry of food. It is called a cotyledon if there is but one portion, cotyledons if two. Thus we are aided in the classification of plants. A few plants that bear cones like the pines have several cotyledons. But most plants have either one or two cotyledons.

From large seeds come the strongest plantlets. That is the reason why it is better and safer to choose the large seed. It is the same case exactly as that of weak children.

There is often another trouble in seeds that we buy. The trouble is impurity. Seeds are sometimes mixed with other seeds so like them in appearance that it is impossible to detect the fraud. Pretty poor business, is it not? The seeds may be unclean. Bits of foreign matter in with large seed are very easy to discover. One can merely pick the seed over and make it clean. By clean is meant freedom from foreign matter. But if small seed are unclean, it is very difficult, well nigh impossible, to make them clean.

The third thing to look out for in seed is viability. We know from our testings that seeds which look to the eye to be all right may not develop at all. There are reasons. Seeds may have been picked before they were ripe or mature; they may have been frozen; and they may be too old. Seeds retain their viability or germ developing power, a given number of years and are then useless. There is a viability limit in years which differs for different seeds.

From the test of seeds we find out the germination percentage of seeds. Now if this percentage is low, don’t waste time planting such seed unless it be small seed. Immediately you question that statement. Why does the size of the seed make a difference? This is the reason. When small seed is planted it is usually sown in drills. Most amateurs sprinkle the seed in very thickly. So a great quantity of seed is planted. And enough seed germinates and comes up from such close planting. So quantity makes up for quality.

But take the case of large seed, like corn for example. Corn is planted just so far apart and a few seeds in a place. With such a method of planting the matter of per cent, of germination is most important indeed.

Small seeds that germinate at fifty per cent. may be used but this is too low a per cent. for the large seed. Suppose we test beans. The percentage is seventy. If low-vitality seeds were planted, we could not be absolutely certain of the seventy per cent coming up. But if the seeds are lettuce go ahead with the planting.

Picking the Right Gardening Tools

If you’re thinking about taking your gardening seriously and getting out there every day to increase the attractiveness of your garden, then you will want to get the right tools to help you in this. You might be tempted to go out to the store and just buy the nearest things you see, but you’ll be much happier if you put lots of thought into the styles and types of tools you’re buying. There are styles designed just for gardening, and you’ll be better off buying those.

You can find most of the tools you will need at your local gardening or home improvement shop. Usually the employees will be simply thrilled to assist you in finding the ideal tools. If you go to a shop that specializes in gardening, you can usually get some advice in addition to service. Gardening store employees are usually an untapped wealth of wisdom, and they are how I learned almost all that I know about gardening today.

If you are having a hard time finding the right tool or if you want to save some money, you might try looking online for the supplies you need. You’ll have to pay the shipping costs and wait an extra week or two, but often if you buy more than one tool, the total savings will be worth it. You should always buy from a reputable seller, though, and search around beforehand for anything negative that people had to say about their buying experience.

As far as basic digging tools go, you might already have all you’ll need. There are several types that you should get though, for different specific tasks. A round point shovel is good for digging holes for plants. A spade is necessary for all the more intricate work. A garden fork you might not use as much, but I have one in my tool shed and I’ve been thankful for it on multiple occasions. Having these different varieties of digging tools can help you to minimize the work you have to do. For example, if you try digging a big hole with a little spade then you’ll end up rather tired. The same goes if you are attempting to do more detailed work with a big clumsy shovel.

A rake is an absolute necessity. You most likely already have one, but I’m guessing it’s a lawn rake and not a garden rake. There is definitely a difference, and if you try to use a lawn rake in a garden then you will not be happy with the results. Same if you buy a grading or a contractor’s rake. You’ll want to look for a bowhead rake. I’ve found these are the best for gardening purposes. They will provide you the maximum control and accuracy, so you don’t accidentally tear up your precious plants.

As far as hoes go, I don’t believe any gardener should have less than 3. There are so many useful varieties on the market that I have a hard time recommending just one, and that’s why I’ll tell you all the ones I usually use. The one I use the most is the onion hoe, which is very lightweight and ideal for small cultivations and weeding. The Warren hoe is a larger model, with a pointed end. If you need to make a hole or dig out a pesky weed, this is the one for you. There are several other varieties, but I recommend starting with the ones I mentioned. As you progress in your gardening savvy, you will find the need for more types.

Most people believe that gardening just consists of a simple spade. But there are many, many tools with many more variations that you will use in your gardening career. Usually you can start with just a few different tools, but you’ll always find that you can use more varieties for special situations. It’s just a matter of recognizing when one tool could be more efficient than another.