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Gardener's Guide to Buying Vegetable Seeds

There is nothing more fulfilling than successfully growing crops from seeds. Buying vegetable seeds lets you save more money on gardening while also planting a wider variety of crops. Whether you’re growing crops for food or profit, gardening becomes infinitely more enjoyable when eagerly waiting to harvest the literal fruits of your labor. And contrary to popular notion, you don’t have to be an expert gardener to grow vegetables from seeds. Some crops and herbs can be grown from seed with minimal effort.

Are you thinking about growing your crops from seeds? What crops are the easiest to grow from seeds? Continue reading below to find out!

Tips When Buying Vegetable Seeds?

squash seeds

When to buy vegetable seeds: Timing is everything in gardening and the best time to purchase vegetable and herb seeds is during the winter. Many types of vegetables can be started from seed during the winter months. You have to sow the vegetables indoors and transplant them to the garden once the weather warms up in spring.

When to sow vegetable seeds: Cool-season crops such as broccoli cabbages, kale, and lettuce are best planted indoors, away from the intense heat of the summer season. On the other hand, warm-season crops like tomatoes and bell peppers can be grown under grow lights until they are ready to be transplanted outdoors in the warmer months. Doing this will extend the harvest time for your garden.

Check the hardiness zone: Knowing what kinds of crops thrive in your local climate is essential. Otherwise, your gardening efforts will be wasted. Consult the USDA plant hardiness zone map online before buying any vegetable seeds. Observe your local climate; see if it’s shady or sunny most days and for how long. Many crops prefer a bright spot, but others thrive in partly shady growing environments. For example, carrots, beets, lettuce, etc., love shaded areas, while tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers are best grown in a sunny spot.

Consider your gardening experience: If you’re new to growing crops from seeds, opt for fast-growing, quick-yielding, hard-to-kill crops and avoid finicky vegetables that take some babying to grow. Herbs, in particular, like mint, basil, thyme, and rosemary, are incredibly easy to grow from seeds. These aromatic plants only take a few weeks to grow and are pretty resilient, so they’re perfect for beginners. Save the sensitive crops once you’ve had more experience to ensure the plants won’t die on you.

Top 5 Easiest Vegetables to Grow from Seed

Lettuce: Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to sow directly into the soil or indoors for transplanting. We suggest planting lettuce seeds in a partly shady area during summer. It will take some time to sprout, but the seedlings will be quick to grow after. You can also plant lettuce seeds as the winter approaches, and it thrives in a cooler climate.

green beans seed

Green Beans: Yummy green beans will thrive in the poorest soils and are effortless to grow from seeds. For the summer, we suggest growing lima beans, asparagus beans, and southern peas and in the cooler months, opt for snap beans. All varieties of green beans thrive in moist, warm soils.

Peas: Peas are a terrific addition to the garden because they’re versatile. Use it to add color to salads or make heartier, healthier soups and stews. Planting pea seeds is easy, and you can sow different varieties every two weeks to enjoy a continuous supply even in the off-season. Stop sowing by mid-June, and you’ll have plenty of peas to store for later use.

radish seed

Radish: In just as little as 24 days, you can grow and enjoy radishes grown from seeds in your own backyard. Radish is easy to sow from seeds, quick to grow, and incredibly resilient. As soon as the warmth of spring softens the soil, you can sow radish seeds and enjoy your harvest within a few weeks. Best of all, radishes can be grown alongside root crops like carrots so that you can look forward to a rewarding harvest.

Carrot: Like radish, carrots are easy to grow from seeds. This root crop loves loose sandy soils and a cool climate. Carrots are surprisingly resilient; they can tolerate frost and cold weather. Avoid growing carrots in rocky soils because this can stunt their growth. Use well-draining soils because carrots hate standing water. Also, thin the carrot seedlings and give each one room to grow to avoid overcrowding and stunted growth.

What You Should Know When Buying Garden Seeds Online

ecogardener herb kit

Choose a trusted brand: There could be thousands of brands that sell herb kits and seed packets, so be very selective. Check the reviews, see which brands are consistently selling good seeds and avoid those with an overwhelming number of negative feedback.

Check the seed age: The age of the seeds matters. While some seeds will be fine to use even if they’re several years old, some must only be a year old or less; otherwise, they won’t germinate. Seeds like parsnips and carrots, for example, won’t germinate if they are several years old. The seeds have to be purchased every year to ensure high germination rates.

Check the label: Every seed pack has instructions on the label, including the scientific name of the plant and an image of the matured plant. Read the label carefully to know all about the plant’s growing information, including the sun and water requirements, mature height, and germination days. More importantly, the label will indicate the zones ideal for this specific plant to grow.

Essential Terms to Remember

When shopping for seed packets and herb kits, you will come across these important terms:

Open-pollinated: These are plants that are identical to their parent plant and are pollinated by bees, birds, the wind, and other natural methods. Most open-pollinated crops can be saved yearly, so you don’t have to buy new seeds every growing season.

Heirlooms: These are seeds from plants with a documented heritage of at least 50 years old. All heirloom plants are open-pollinated, but not all seeds are heirloom seeds.

Hybrid: These are seeds from plants purposely crossed-pollinated from two different plants to create a unique plant variety with desirable traits. The desirable characteristics could be greater yield, better resistance to diseases or pests, and higher produce quality.

GMOs are biologically engineered in a lab through gene-splicing to alter a plant’s DNA. Hybrids are only cross-pollinated, and no gene splicing is executed to change the plant DNA. Gene splicing is controversial because the entire process is done in a lab, which is the opposite of natural, organic farming. GMOs are limited to corn, soybeans, sugarbeets, alfalfa, papaya, zucchini, summer squash, canola, cotton, potato, and apples.

Organic: These are seeds from organically produced plants. No chemicals are used to grow the crops. The growing and farming methods meet the standards of the US Department of Agriculture certification program.

ECOgardener Herb Kits For Your Vegetable and Herb Garden

ecogardener herb kit - seed starter kit

Buying seeds online is easy when you trust only the best brands.
ECOgardener offers herb starter kits for your indoor and outdoor vegetable garden. With our gardener’s guide and buying tips, you can make confident purchases online and grow a beautiful vegetable garden on your own.