Do you know how to read a seed packet?

By Khadijah Hussein

Today at MAP, I worked on learning how to read seed packets.  I worked on two different companies, Johnny's Selected Seeds and High Mowing Organic Seeds.  These companies use some of the same words to help you through the gardening process.  The difference of the packages is the way they are laid out.

Johnny's information is step by step, easy and simple, so new farmers or kids can better understand it.  High Mowing does it more of an advanced way.  I've learned that some seeds are smaller than others and some other bigger, some of the packets have few seeds and others have a bunch of seeds.

Both packets were very interesting to learn from.  Here are some typical words that I found on a seed packet that you might not know about:

Variety: Different or Diversity of plant. The type of plant.
Common Name: The name we use for the plant or vegetable. Easier to say.
Biological Name: Scientific or Latin name.
Example: Phaseolus Coccineus is the biological name but the common name is Scarlet Runner Bean. Brassica Napus is the biological name for White Russian Kale.
Angiosperm: A plant that has flower and produces seeds enclosed with a carpel (part of  the reproductive organ in a flower).
Gymnosperm: A plant that has seeds that are unprotected by an ovary or fruit.
Sow: To plant
Germination: The process by which a plant grows from a seed or the process of when a plant sprouts.
Germination Rate: The possibility of how many seeds will grow that are in the packet.
Direct Seeding: To plant straight into the ground.
Transplant: Technique of moving a seedling from one location to another.
Harden Off: When a plant is indoors through winter but gets put outdoors during the warmer weather to prepare for spring.
Maturity : When a plant grows all the way to fruition.
Annual: A plant that takes one year to grow from seeds to fruition and die.
Biennial: A plant that takes two years to grow from seeds to fruition and die.
Over-Winter: A plant that can last through the winter without dying and will sprout again in the summer.
Nitrogen Fixing Inoculants: A chemical that farmers used to help the plants grow or have a better form. Some plants have the ability to take Nitrogen from the air but for the ones that take Nitrogen from the ground, inoculants are used to help get them more nitrogen.

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