Many different kinds of garden seeds are available, which can make it hard to decide, especially for a new gardener, what to buy. If saving seed is important to you, look for heirloom, open-pollinated seeds. If you care more about disease-resistance and large, consistent yields, choose hybrid seeds. Within each type of seed, many varieties exist to choose from, so ask your local extension agent which varieties are proven performers in your area.
The three different kinds of garden seeds most seed catalogs offer are annual, perennial and biennial.
Annual flower seeds only live for one season. Annuals are started from seed early every spring. Annual flower seeds grow, flower and set seed within a typical growing season.
Perennial flower seeds typically do not bloom the first year from seed, although there are some exceptions. Perennial flower seeds started the previous fall,or seeds that were hybridized to bloom the first year from seed are exceptions to the rule. Perennial flowers come back year after year.
Biennial flowers last for two years. The first year they grow, but typically do not flower. The second year, they grow, flower, set seed and die.
Grains and Grasses
Grains and grasses are different kinds of garden seeds that most people don't think about unless they live on a farm or have to re-seed their lawn. Certain annual and perennial grasses, as well as ornamental grasses, work well in flower beds.
Grow grains on a large scale or a small scale. Winter wheat is a good crop for the home vegetable gardener to grow because it helps improve the soil and grows during the winter when most people are not raising vegetables. Other popular grains include rye, oats and barley. Corn and rice are also considered grains, because flour can be made from them.
Other different kinds of garden seeds to consider are herbs. Most types of herbs are easily grown from seed and are both annuals and perennials. Many ethnic varieties of herbs are also available to choose from.
Some herb varieties are grown for culinary reasons and others are grown for medicinal reasons. or for dyes and crafting.
When choosing varieties of herb seeds, think about what spices you have in your cabinets. Choose those types of herb seeds first. As you learn more about the uses of herbs, you may want to grow others.
Vegetable seeds are one of the many different kinds of garden seeds that most people are familiar with. What you may not know is that while most varieties of vegetable seeds are annuals, there are a few that are perennial. Some vegetables, if allowed to go to seed, will re-seed in your garden and come up every year.
Within each individual type of vegetable seed, many varieties are available to choose from, with each one being slightly different. Look at the length of the growing season. If you have a short growing season, or are in a hurry for fresh produce, choose a variety for quick harvest. Read about each variety and ask other gardeners for their opinions.