Packet Annual Flowers
Packet Perennial Flowers
In 2012 Denali packet Flower, Herb, Vegetable
and Wildflower seed is available only online.
ADVANTAGES OF GROWING FROM SEED
Why start your garden plants from seed? There are several reasons why a gardener will benefit by growing from seed.
1. Some varieties just do better when started directly in the garden from seed.
2. Seed is less expensive. A packet of seed usually costs less than a six pack of plant starts and will yield at least five to six times as many plants.
3. Better selection of varieties, Denali Seed offers several varieties that are only available from seed and are not available anywhere else in North America.
4. Seed gives the gardener the ability to experiment with
new varieties that are not be available as starts at your local
Some pitfalls do exist if a gardener is not experienced at growing plants from seed. The most common problems are little or no germination, young seedlings falling over dead, or growing too tall and leggy. There are solutions to these problems. First, no germination. Common belief is that the seed is no good. This is usually not the case unless the seed has been in a kitchen drawer for several years, as seed companies test their seed after harvest to insure the customer good germination and to comply with federal regulations. Failure is frequently the result of poor cultural practices and can be prevented Poor germination usually results from one or more of the following: 1. Soil-borne disease. 2. Seed rot due to soils that are too cold and wet. 3. Drying of the soil surface which kills the developing seedling. 4. Planting the seeds too deeply. For good germination, seed needs to be grown in an environment in which it will germinate quickly, as the longer the seed is in the soil before it sprouts the more prone it is to rot and disease.
The easiest way to provide a disease-free soil is to purchase a commercially produced seed-starting mix. These prepackaged soils are usually a mixture of sphagnum moss and perlite or vermiculite that have been sterilized to kill all soil-borne disease. They are naturally well drained, but you must use a growing container that has drainage holes to allow excess moisture to escape. In most home conditions the temperature of the container of soil will be cooler than ideal. To speed germination the seed tray can be placed on a warm surface to provide bottom heat. Most varieties will geminate best if the soil temperature is approximately 70 degrees F.
Fine-seeded flower varieties such as lobelia, petunias, snapdragons and impatiens are easily planted too deeply. These varieties should be sown directly on the soil surface, then watered to insure a good seed-soil contact. Excessive drying of the soil is very critical for these varieties so the soil surface must be kept moist at all times until the seedlings emerge. Most varieties of seed do not require light for germination, check the seed packet for the particular variety you are growing, then cover the seed tray with newspaper or black plastic, or clear plastic for varieties that require light for germination. This will help prevent evaporation during the germination period.
After the seeds have sprouted, new challenges pop up. The plants now require light and are sensitive to room temperature. Nearly all plants do best under high-intensity full sunlight and respond negatively to high night temperatures. Plants grown in low light and high temperatures will be tall and leggy with few leaves. The key to healthy, short, stout plants with lots of healthy leaves is full sun, moderate daytime temperatures and night temperatures between 50-55 degrees F, which is almost impossible in most homes. An alternative is high intensity artificial light 24 hours a day. Plants do not need a rest at night, as proven by the huge vegetables grown under almost continuous light during the Alaskan summer. A mistake made by most gardeners is planting vegetable seed for transplants too early. A vigorous 1-1 ½ inch to 2 inch transplant will beat a weak, leggy 4-6 inch plant. Thirty days is usually adequate from planting to transplanting for cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bunching onions and head lettuce. Tomatoes and peppers started from greenhouse production are usually planted in mid-to-late March and transplanted to a heated greenhouse in April. There are a few slow growers (lobelia and celery, for example), that must be started early, usually in March.
Squash, pumpkins and nasturtiums are usually started indoors but do not transplant well because their roots are easily injured. Varieties with tender roots should be sown in individual plastic pots so the root mass can be removed without damage when planted in the garden.
Planting direct-seeded garden vegetables is almost always more practical than buying transplants. Direct-seeded vegetables like radishes, beets, lettuce, spinach, beans and peas are very easy to grow. There is a precaution, however, don’t plant too deeply. In Alaska, soils are very cool and germination will be greatly slowed by deep planting. Remember, shallow plantings must be kept moist at all times to get good germination.
When planting fine-seeded garden vegetables, use a board to press a shallow furrow, then cover the seed with a small amount of soil and compact the surface. Compacted soil helps hold moisture during germination. Carrots, especially, can have difficulty getting good germination if the soil surface dries out. The row may e covered with a board or clear plastic until the seedlings come up to conserve moisture.
Soaking peas and beans is a common practice that helps speed germination. Soak the seed in warm water for a period not exceeding four to six hours, then plant shallowly, covering the seed with 1/4 inch soil. Allowing the seed to stand in water for long periods may starve the seed embryo for oxygen and kill it.
These growing tips should help make your gardening experience more pleasant and fruitful.