Store rate

Garden Help Desk: Choosing the right seed packet in the store | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy of Meredith Seaver

Seed packets in retail stores meet minimum germination standards. Gardeners can expect these seeds to germinate well the year they are purchased, and many seed species will germinate well for at least 1-3 years if stored properly.

I know the seed packets in stores may be older than you would like. I heard that heirloom seeds are supposed to be fresher than store bought seeds. There are lots of brands and lots of places to buy seeds. Can you recommend the best brand or store?

There is not much variability between major seed brands and most gardening supply retailers are reputable. Seeds in large retail stores are generally not kept from year to year, aging in a back room of the store.

The seeds of many species have good viability for 3-4 years or more, and there are regulations regarding the transport, labeling and sale of the seeds. Minimum germination percentages are set by the government and seeds must meet these minimum rates to be sold. Seed that is packaged and sold on display racks in retail stores must include the “packaged for” date on the label.

Some retailers buy the products you see on their seed displays, but others sell the products on consignment. Seed companies and retailers who choose to sell seed packets on consignment will remove their seed packets at the end of the season. After that, seed companies can choose to do one or more things with their seeds.

Seeds can be retested for germination, then repackaged and/or relabeled if necessary, for sale the following year if the germination rate meets legal requirements for that seed species.

Courtesy of Meredith Seaver

Seed packet labels should include information beyond basic planting instructions. A germination percentage, packing date, or expiration date can help you judge the viability of the seeds you buy.

A seed company may decide to donate the seed packets to volunteer projects, community gardens, charities, etc. instead of retesting and relabeling.

The seed company might decide to just throw the seeds away.

A retailer who does not sell seed packets on consignment may discount seed at the end of the season or save seed for sale the following year as long as the germination rate is still acceptable.

Seeds sold in large retail stores or in the online catalogs of major seed companies are reliable. You can rely on these seed packets to get the amount and percentage of germination you want for your garden.

I am planning to place fruit trees directly in the lawn this spring, but I am afraid to water them with the grass. I could put a ring of mulch around them, but they would be watered with the lawn which I believe needs more water and more often. I wonder if this could lead to disease or less tasty fruit. Maybe I can put them on their own drip in another part of the yard. We want to plant a few apples, peaches, an apricot and maybe two cherries.

Courtesy of Meredith Seaver

It is normal for fruit trees to lose fruit throughout the growing season. Fruit drop can become heavier closer to harvest, making it more difficult to mow the lawn around fruit trees.

Lawns and trees are not the best combination, and this is especially true for fruit trees. Grass and other vegetation around a tree trunk can provide shelter for diseases and pests like borers, so it is important to keep grass and other vegetation away from tree trunks. trees. A vegetation-free area also reduces the risk of injury from the trimmer. As you might expect, however, the biggest problem with trees in lawns is watering.

Homeowners tend to water lawns more often than necessary. For this reason, overwatering is the main cause or contributor to plant problems – nutrient problems including iron chlorosis, root rot diseases and poor vigor are some examples.

In general, trees should be watered deeply, but no more than once a week in the summer and less often in the spring and fall. Lawns do best if they are watered deeply, but not frequently. Most lawns in our Utah County soils can do well if watered deeply once every 3-4 days during the summer and less often in the spring and fall. If you water your lawn more than twice a week, you may find that you have frequent problems and extra work with your fruit trees.

Another disadvantage of having fruit trees in the lawn is the problem of fallen fruit in the lawn. Weekly cleaning can be difficult when mowing season and ripening fruit drop overlap.

This doesn’t mean you can’t go ahead with your plans, but you will need to water properly – watering deeply no more than twice a week during the summer is not ideal, but it can be a reasonable compromise between lawn and trees if you focus on good tree care. Aim to water deeply, but as infrequently as your lawn will tolerate. As an alternative, choosing a location where your trees will be at least a few feet from the lawn is a better option.


Join thousands of people who already receive our daily newsletter.