Re-Up Seed: Turning Little Into Much

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Where does dirt come from? In this episode of But Why , we're talking about plants with garden consultant Charlie Nardozzi. That's the basic way to look at germination.

Seed-Starting FAQs - How to Start Seeds | Gardener's Supply

Germination starts with the male fertilizing the female, that little embryo gets fertilized and then the seed has a seed coat that protects it. And so for that seed to actually grow, it needs the right conditions. Nature has been perfect in figuring this one out. In a cold climate like up here in Vermont, you have this happening during the summer in the fall and you have these seeds, and they drop to the ground, which is a natural process. It wouldn't necessarily work if they started germinating immediately because it's going into winter and the plant will die.

So they have a process where they go into a thing called dormancy, like a sleep. Those conditions will be the right amount of moisture and the right temperature, a nice warm temperature. Those are the two key things they need for seeds to start to grow or germinate. Each seed is a little bit different about what they need and how much they need, but it is usually those two factors.

Once they start growing and germinating then that seed coat will break open, the little embryo starts growing. It's almost like a little chicken and egg. The chick starts growing starts pecking its way out of the egg. The same thing is happening with the seed coat.

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The embryo starts growing and the seed coat breaks apart. And then out comes the little sprout. And a nice way to watch this actually happen is if you get an avocado pit and you put the avocado pit with some toothpicks on it over a glass of water so the bottom's in a little bit of water and just watch. It'll take a few weeks or so, but eventually that pit, which is kind of like the seed coat, will start breaking apart and out comes the shoot.

Miriam, left, 8, lives in Montpelier, Vt. She has been working in the garden since she was two, and has always been interested in how nature works. Kai, 6, lives in Ottawa, Ont. He loves reading, swimming, and cross-country skiing. Credit courtesy from parents. If you ever see the seed of a redwood, it's tiny, it's small. So how does that all that happen? Inside that seed are things we call genes, and what genes are is like information. It's all this information that's inside that seed and it tells that seed how big it's going to grow, how wide it's going to grow.

It's kind of similar to the genes that people have. So you have genes in a baby and those genes will tell you if that baby can have blond hair, or black hair, or if they have blue eyes, or brown eyes, etc. All different parts of what makes the characteristics of that person. We are happy to share a guest post from: Michelle Klieger at Stratagerm who is an experienced seed consultant. Seeds are such an important part of your farm.

You plant these tiny seeds and they eventually grow into the vegetables you will harvest. First things first, we are going to talk about two different types of seed companies today. There are integrated seed companies that research new varieties, grow their own seed, market that seed, and sell it to you.

This process takes a long time, but the result is new varieties. The other type of company is a company that distributes seeds.

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These companies have relationships with breeding companies all over the world. The product team meets with seed breeders and learns about all the new seed varieties available. The distributor might purchase small quantities of the seeds that they think you will like the best. They will test or trial the seeds on their own farmers and then decide which seeds to showcase in their upcoming catalog. When you flip through the catalog you are getting a curated selection of seeds.

The goal is to do a lot of the pre-sorting, so you only see a small fraction of the seed available… the portion most likely to succeed on your farm. Since both companies have experience growing the seeds, they can answer your questions. They know how the plant grew. They can compare it to other plants or vegetables that they have grown in the past. This knowledge and experience is often another perk of working with a reputable seed company. These companies provide ongoing customer service to their customers. Have you called the seed company and asked for advice on which seeds to grow?

How Do Seeds Sprout?

Have you read their website or other printed materials to learn when the best time to plant your seeds are? Or ask questions about when or how to harvest the vegetables? This ongoing customer service is a service that many companies offer. These full-service seed suppliers might charge higher prices than a hardware store, but you get curated catalogues and the ongoing support that is valuable to growers of all experience levels.

Sid The Seed

I am not suggesting that integrated companies are better or worse than distribution companies. They both sell high quality seed, because they implement a lengthy quality assurance program to ensure only healthy seed is sent to you. Some of these requirements are federally mandated and others are industry best practices.

source The Federal Seed Act requires that companies include the type of seed, the purity level of the seed, and the germination rate on the bag. They come on every bag of seed from tiny home gardener packets all the way to pound, commercial bags of seeds. The label tells you what you are getting high purity only the type of seed you paid for and high germination rate the seeds are viable and will sprout. The company has labs that check the genetic purity and the germination rate of the samples.

Seeds can carry pests and diseases. They can either live inside the seed or on top of the seed. If infected seeds are planted they could introduce the disease to your farm and cause problems to your plants.