I love seed packets!! And, although I don’t watch much television, I happened to catch part of an episode of “Hoarders” at the gym this past week.  It made me realize I might have a slight hoarding issue with seed packets.

I often receive large boxes at my job, the contents donated by nurseries. The seeds are haphazardly thrown into the box so you never know how many different types are in the box, which is totally exciting to someone as seed-crazy as me! There are so many new and cool varieties that I absolutely know I will plant in the work garden…eventually. I usually keep at least one variety of every kind I find, which as you can see from the photo below, this adds up after a while.

What the back of seed packets tell you

  • *Season to plant
  • Sun/shade exposure needed
  • Seed depth
  • Plant spacing
  • Days to germination
  • Plant height
  • Genus and species of the plant
  • Lot # (the year they were packaged)
  • Fun trivia or useful tips

*The season to plant can be tricky. It’s not always obvious when to plant, and this is done on purpose. Seeds are sold all over the USA, so when someone in Louisiana receives the same seed packet as someone in New York, the directions really can’t be the same. I wish seed packet companies would add plant zones to their instructions, but so far I haven’t seen this done. Many times directions say “sow in spring after the last frost, or start seeds indoors 4 weeks before the last frost.”  This means you need to know that date. You can find out by using this link from Victory Seeds. For my area, that day is March 21st. HOWEVER… there is STILL a 10% chance of frost after this date, so I like to plant sun-loving melons and pumpkins in April.

Many people wonder how long seeds last. It depends on how well they are taken care of, and if stored in a cool, damp place most should last 2-3 years.  It’s often helpful to do a germination test to help predict the percentage of seeds that will germinate, so you don’t waste time planting bad seeds. This is really helpful when friends give you seeds of unknown age.

Until next time, Happy Planting!