Seed racks are back again: Gardeners, act responsibly

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, seed racks are back! These harbingers of spring are now showing in suppliers and nurseries all around North America, remarkable gardeners with visions of a new gardening season.

Without the need of dampening the exhilaration that these spinning or stationary racks create, I do advise that the two newbie and expert gardeners alike be cautious approaching them. Seed racks are magical. They bring in gardeners like magnets bring in iron filings. It does not matter that you might have flawlessly great seeds left more than from final 12 months or that you now purchased seeds from a catalog you have to have to check out out what is staying available.

Following factor you know, 10 minutes has handed and you are wandering to the hard cash sign-up with a handful of seed choices. What transpired?

Seed sellers know gardeners are difficult-wired by the “Jack and The Beanstalk” tale. Plant a magical seed — and all seeds are magical — and up shoots the stalk. If we just select half a dozen of people hand-dimensions packets of seeds, we can increase a 50 % acre (or even additional ) of foods or flowers. All it usually takes are some seeds. In this article they are, all in one particular area.

So, a few regulations gardeners need to hold in mind when they stumble on a spring seed rack:

1st, in no way acquire seeds except you have a backyard garden approach, and one that phone calls for that form of seed. (This goes for catalog and on the internet acquiring as properly commence with a prepare.) It is Alright to take notes on what is available from racks (use your phone’s be aware application), but do not invest in any packets until eventually you know you want them and have a position to develop them. Go residence, make a simple system and then appear back.

Next, under no circumstances obtain a seed packet primarily based on its photograph. These are built to seem so great you will get to out and acquire the packet, and after it’s in your hand you won’t set it back. Just put, the image is a revenue gimmick and does not give you the facts you will need to make a sensible buy.

That information and facts is on the again of the packet, and the third rule of seed racking is that you review this data meticulously prior to getting. The back describes the plant as an yearly, perennial or biennial, which is good to know. In which suitable, the variety of expanding zones will be outlined. And, so vital, here’s exactly where you will uncover how tall the plant grows and its expected spread, so you can room seeds or seedlings appropriately.

As important, the back of the pack must listing how lots of days it takes for the plant to go from germination to maturity. (You must previously know how extended your escalating season happens to be.)

There are normally supplemental expanding guidance, way too. These will show if growing the plant matches your degree of skills.

And often glance for this year’s date printed at the base of the packet so you know you are acquiring new and feasible seeds, not preceding years’.

Past, but not the very least, observe the number of seeds in the packet. Typically, a solitary packet will incorporate more than you need to have. (How several cabbage plants does your household want you to plant, anyhow?)

I have experienced encounters with seed racks in a regional shopping mall. My eyeglasses may well be all fogged up from coming in from the cold, but I see them and they pull me in. Within minutes, I am wandering all over with a handful of seed packets I really do not require. Thankfully, my spouse makes me set them back again (except if they are arugula seeds).

There really should be a fourth rule of seed racking: Make guaranteed your partner or some other accountable soul is with you.


Jeff Lowenfels writes regularly about gardening for The Related Push. His guides include things like “Teaming With Microbes,” “Teaming With Fungi” and “Teaming With Nutrients.” He can be arrived at at

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