Saturday, May 10, 2014

Using Primed Seed

(Disclaimer: I never get anything for free, just so you know, when I tell you a product is worth trying!)
A lot can happen between buying seed and that payday of eating the fruits (and vegetables) of your labors.  I can germinate just about anything if it is indeed viable seed using either the coffee filter method with ziplock bag or my light rack set-up with domed trays and germinating pad.  The coolest innovation I ever say was a steam box made by an Amish nurseryman who used it on about 75-90% of his seed.  The thing had no light system, so seeds needing light to germinate were not germinated there.  I would have guessed from observation, though, about 100% of the seed he placed there germinated quite quickly.  For me, those seeds that read germination in 5 to 10 days will germinate in less than 48 hours on a germinating pad in a domed tray in my light rack......


There are a lot of slips between seed germination and fork.  Seedlings can die while pricking out, growing on, hardening, off, and transplanting.  In the case of cole crops, broccoli, lettuce, and spinach; they can bolt.
Well, not quite like that...
Bolting is the problem with spinach.  Spinach is one of those seeds best direct sown to the garden.  Problem, it needs warmish ground to germinate and cool temperatures after.  Those conditions seldom coincide here in central Wisconsin.  It usually leads me to plant to early and get crappy germination.

Enter primed seed...

So far I am thoroughly impressed.  I planted about 40 seeds two weeks ago.  I think I have 100% germination, with each plant developing its first true leaves at this point.  I planted them in a grid pattern (like I was a square foot gardener, which I am not), but it makes it easy to see if I did indeed get good germination.

There are more and more primed seeds coming on the market.  If you have had a hard time growing something before and see primed seed for it available, I urge you to give it a try.


  1. I'd be interested if they came out with these for flowers.

    1. Oooooh! Jason, but they have! This particular company has primed and pelletized seed for delphiniums, petunias, and the orange native butterfly plant (asclepias, which is typically difficult). Primed seed has been available eo wholesale growers for a while from Jelitto, too. It seems there continues to be a growing market and more and more seed is available this way. Even "Green Envy' zinnia, which sometimes has poor germination, I think that has been linked to less viable seed, given the color versus other zinnias.