Saturday, April 9, 2011

Seed Quality

I’ve always purchased seeds from mail order companies.  A treasured winter activity is studying the catalogues and planning my summer fun in the garden. 

Being a seed addict though, I will often peruse the seed racks at the department stores.  Recently, I found a variety of broccoli there that I hadn’t seen in the catalogues recently.  The variety was Early Dividend, and when I grew it a few years ago, it was a great early season performer with good-sized heads and numerous side shoots.  I was thrilled.  I bought a packet.  Unfortunately, the packet had only a few seeds. 

I start broccoli seeds indoors in 32-celled trays.  I would have filled a tray with this Early Dividend, but I ran out of seeds.  I had two rows left so decided to plant another variety of broccoli to fill out the tray.

Packman is another variety of broccoli that like.  It also performs well for me.  I have 2009 seeds that I purchased from Johnny’s Seeds.  This variety was going to be all that I grew this year before I found the Early Dividend seeds.

So I filled the last two rows with Packman seeds. 

This is how the tray looks today.  The last two rows of four on the right are Packman.  The other six rows are the department store Early Dividend.   The Packman seeds have all germinated well. I put two seeds in each cell and they all came up so I will need to thin them.  The Early Dividend seeds are hardly germinating.  They are lackluster and substandard. 

This goes to show that, at least in some cases, department store seeds are inferior to the (often more expensive) mail order seeds.

Above is a photo of 2009 tomato seeds that I also recently planted.  I sowed these heavily because I wasn’t sure how well they would germinate.   But they are also a high quality mail order seed from Johnny’s.  It shows.  They have also germinated well. 

I do believe that those higher priced mail order seeds (and the dang shipping charges) are worth the money. 


  1. This is a great experiment and proves your point well.

  2. I'm glad you found just the seeds you needed! Mine are doing great, can't wait to plant them out next month!