When you plant your garden, you can either use seeds or plants. You can buy plants from a reputable nursery, or maybe a friend or family member will give you plants that they planted from seed and have too many. So when you plant tomatoes and peppers and eggplants, those plants take a long time before you can harvest them, so either you need to start your seeds inside in a sunny window where they can get lots of sun, or in a greenhouse in January or early February, or you can just buy the plants at the nursery.
So what I usually do is I buy my tomatoes and peppers and eggplants, and everything else I plant from seed. So these tomatoes are about four weeks old and when I got them they were about four inches tall. And this pepper was purchased at the same time and it was probably an inch and a half tall.
Now the seeds, when you buy your seeds, there’s a couple of ways- there are three ways you can go. You can buy traditional seeds that are usually hybrid seeds for high production or for some characteristic. And an example of that is the Burpee seed, okra. There are a lot of good seed companies-be careful that you find a reputable seed company because some of the seeds do not germinate- don’t have a high germination rate. And so you want to make sure that you use NK or Burpee or some brand of seed that does have a high germination rate.
Another way you can go is to work with native seeds. So for native seeds, you can buy from either Seeds of Change or Native Seed Search. And these are the original seed sources that have never been hybridized or genetically altered in any way. And these seeds may not be as high production, but the advantage is you can harvest the seeds and keep the seed stock going year after year, and you know what your seeds do, you know how to care for that particular type, and you develop a relationship with that seed stock.
The third way you can go is to harvest your own seeds and I harvest a lot of seeds myself, and I just use old envelopes that are ruined from the office to put the seeds in. Don’t put the seeds in plastic- always use paper. And these are parsley that I harvested from my friends garden this spring. And these are xenia seeds that I harvested last fall from this garden.