Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 25th 2017 Contents A14
guardian.co.tt Saturday, March 25, 2017
It's not easy to choose what you want to
grow, especially when you come across
shelves stuffed full of beautiful envelopes
and page after glossy page of glorious
looking, boldly coloured vegetables. No
wonder it's so hard to decide what seeds
are going into your garden with all the
options out there!
Beyond the sheer variety, what about the
practical issues like will these tomatoes get
blight like the ones grown last year? How
should those mysterious "days to maturity"
numbers like 65 or 90 impact my decision
making? And how many seeds do I need
As you sift through the options for pur-
chasing garden seeds this year, here are some
important things to keep in mind:
DAYS TO MATURITY
On the back of most seed packets, and in
catalogue or online descriptions, you will
usually see something like "65 days"
. If you're
looking at radishes, the number might be 22
days. If it's bell (sweet) peppers it could be
as high as 80-95 days.
There is some debate as to how "days of
maturity" should actually be defined, but
here is a simple working definition that will
suit the needs of most gardeners:
A seedling transplant (like a tomato or pep-
per plant) should be counted from the days it
goes into the ground, so that a 70-day tomato
plant should theoretically be ready for harvest
just over two months after you transplant it
in May or June (so harvest happens in July
Seeds that are sown directly into the ground
(like radishes, lettuce or carrots) should be
counted from the day they germinate, so those
22 day radishes planted on April 1st should
be ready just right around the end of April.
Why do days to maturity matter?
They help you to roughly estimate when a
given crop will be ready for harvest, so that
you can make your garden plans for succes-
sive plantings, to ensure that plants get into
the ground early enough in the season and so
that you can purchase varieties which will
suit your particular climate, growing season
and garden needs.
Additionally, knowing the days to matu-
rity can allow gardeners to spread out their
harvest. Select seeds with a range of days, so
that you can have early, mid and late season
crops. Succession planting (planting some
seeds one week, more the next, and more then
next) will also ensure that your harvest comes
steadily rather than all at once.
VARIETIES THAT SUIT YOUR NEEDS
How boring it would be if tomatoes could
only be grown as medium sized, red orbs
for slicing. Thankfully they come in many
shapes, sizes and types, such as cherry, plum,
Roma, and those that are best for making
paste, sauce or for dehydrating.
The same is true for most vegetables. Cu-
cumbers can be long slicers, short slicers, mini
gherkins, or various sizes of pickling varieties.
Carrots are long and skinny, thick and stout,
small and gourmet, even short and stubby
for container growing.
Particularly if you care to preserve what you
grow, but even for the sheer enjoyment of dif-
ferent types of eating, choose seeds that will
offer a variety of tastes and uses according to
how you like to consume them. If you want to
put away dozens of jars of tomato sauce, you'll
probably want to grow paste tomatoes that
are more meaty and less watery. If preserving
isn't a priority, then just a few plants with
tasty slicing tomatoes and one with cherry
tomatoes if probably all that you need.
GROW WHAT YOU LIKE
Beyond practicality, choosing varieties
that just plain taste good is important for
your gardening and eating pleasure. Do you
like prefer candy sweet cherry tomatoes or
ones that have a bit of a tartness to them?
Do you love long, thin English styled slicing
cucumbers, or the thicker field cucumbers?
Will your children be willing to eat that fan-
tastic head of purple cauliflower or should you
stick to white for the time being? In the end
it all comes down to personal choice. Grow
what you like, because you like it.
HOW MANY SEEDS SHOULD ONE BUY?
The first thing to consider is whether you're
growing a large plant that will produce bas-
kets of produce, or a single vegetables where
one seed = one carrot. Carefully stored, you
can get away with infrequent purchases of
seeds like squash,, tomatoes, peppers, cu-
cumbers and even larger veggies like broccoli,
cabbage and cauliflower. Carrots, radishes,
peas, beets, and lettuce go a whole lot faster.
In a small garden, one can usually go through
an entire pack each year, and with crops like
carrots and peas you can use multiple packs.
Make a point of assessing what you have, what
you want to grow and how much you need
for the coming season before purchasing
There are literally seeds and varieties
to suit every taste, every whim.
Read descriptions carefully. Some sites of-
fer customer reviews and these will help you
to know whether the seed company's glowing
descriptions pan out in real life. Were they
really "intensely flavourful" or just kind of
so-so? It's also helpful to talk to other gar-
deners that you know so that you can share
your favourites with one another. Also, read
through many different varieties to see if you
can find seeds that will address the problems
that you're facing. For anyone desiring to keep
their garden completely organic, resistant va-
rieties can be a real boon (and when problems
still arise, there are always natural methods
to deal with them).
Choosing seeds for planting
Links Archive March 24th 2017 March 26th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page