Does Park sell GMO's or treated seeds?
It is important for our customers to know that Park Seed does not sell GMO or treated seed. We do buy a small amount of traditional hybrid seed from Seminis, a division of Monsanto Co., but that is all we purchase from them.
What are the differences between organic, heirloom, and hybrid seed?
Basically, organic seeds are seeds that are produced without the use and exposure to artificial/chemical fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other chemicals. They have to be grown, harvested, stored, and handled under very strict organic rules and procedures. All of our organic seeds are USDA 100% certified organic through Clemson University and the certificate has to be renewed yearly.
Heirloom Seeds are open-pollinated -- they are not hybrids. You can gather and save heirloom seed from year to year and they will grow true to type every year, so they can be passed down through generations. To be considered an heirloom, a variety would have to be at least from the 1940's and 3 generations old (many varieties are much older -- some 100 years or more!).
Hybrid seed are the product of cross-pollination between 2 different parent plants, resulting in a new plant/seed that is different from the parents. Unlike Heirloom seed, hybrid seed need to be re-purchased new every year (and not saved). They usually will not grow true to type if you save them, but will revert to one of the parents they were crossed with and most likely look/taste different in some way.
What are pelleted seeds? Why do you use them? How do I handle/sow them?
Extremely small seed such as Petunias and Pentas are shipped as pelleted seed to make them easier to handle and sow. Pelleted seed are coated, usually with clay, to make them larger in size. After sowing, the coating will dissolve when wet and the seed will germinate. Pelleted seeds are shipped in vials placed inside seed packets, which protects them from being crushed. When sowing, be certain to use thoroughly moistened soil, to be sure that the clay coating absorbs enough moisture to dissolve. For sowing pelleted Petunia seeds, place the seeds directly on the soil surface and do not cover with soil, as light aids in the germination.
What is ideal temperature to germinate most seeds?
The ideal temperature to germinate most seeds is approximately 70 degrees F; give or take 1-2 degrees either way. This would be a good germination temperature for most flower and vegetable seeds and would be the most practical and feasible temperatures achieved for gardeners starting seeds in the home. You will notice for some seeds that it is recommended to use alternating day (warmer), night (cooler), temperatures, which is fine if one can provide such conditions. But most people are unable to provide those temperatures in a home setting, so just use the overall 70 degree F recommendation and the seeds should germinate well.
How long should grow lights be kept on per day and how close to the plants should the light be kept?
For germination and seedling/plant growth, you want to simulate the natural day-night cycles, and as a general rule, grow lights should be on 8-12 hours per day and off at night. You can vary this timing, as some seeds such as tomato, pepper, petunia, impatiens, and others, benefit from 14-17 hours of light per day (and the remainder of the 24 hour period in darkness). The most common grow lights used are fluorescent; using cool white, warm white, and wide-spectrum fluorescent tubes. These lights work well for germination and for growing plants up to a transplantable size. Fluorescent lights should be kept close though, 3-6 inches above the soil or the growing plants, adjusting the height as the plants grow.
How long will seeds keep in storage?
Park Seed stores seed in a special temperature- and humidity-controlled storage facility, which keeps seeds in excellent condition. Our seeds should be good for at least 1-2 years on average. Seed viability and storage time will vary depending on the seed item; some will keep a shorter time and some will keep longer. Seeds should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place. A basement will do (if not too humid), or a cool, dark room or closet. We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store them in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What is the best way to store seeds over a longer time period?
We recommend the best way to extend seed storage life is to store seeds in something air tight, such as a plastic zipper storage bag or canning jar, and place it in the refrigerator. This will extend the life of seeds for many years.
What depth should I sow various seeds?
When sowing seed outdoors, we recommend a maximum planting depth of 4X the width of the seed. When sowing seed indoors, the planting depth can be less, depending on the seed being sown, so it is always best to check specific directions. Here are some general guidelines concerning planting depth in relation to seed size: Tiny, dust-like seeds need to be sown on the surface of the growing medium or soil, uncovered, as they need light to germinate. The planting depth for small seed can be anywhere from barely covering, to 1/8-inch deep, to possibly 1/4-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Medium seed should be planted at 1/4- to 1/2-inch deep, depending on the recommendation. Larger seeds can be planted 1-inch or deeper, depending on the recommendation.