Seed packet displays

I don't know about you, but seed packet displays always get me excited. The logical side of me thinks that it's much too early in the year for these to be put out and wants to walk past without stopping, but the emotional side of me shouts loudly enough that I always stop.

There's something about a rack of seed packets that I just can't resist. Maybe it's the color, or the uniformity of it, or the fact that you can't really see what's there unless you're close enough to scrutinize the packets. Or maybe all of that is just an excuse for spring fever to start kicking in. I always stop.


My visits to the seed racks always go the same way too it seems. First, I focus on the edibles. There are lots of flower seeds too usually, but my eye goes to the veggies first.

Also, I tend to see the more common ones first: beans, corn, peas. That's probably because there are entire rows dedicated to these, as they are what most people grow.

My eye quickly moves away from these, as I know that I can get bean seeds pretty much anywhere, at almost any time. I also immediately disregard things that I know I won't be successful with in my small garden, like corn.

I certainly don't have room for something like this either:

I'll force my eye away from things I know that I don't enjoy eating too:

They're so attractive and tempting, but what's the sense if you don't make use of it?

So I'll scan around, looking for something that gets me more excited. Not that growing beans, peas, and lettuces isn't exciting, but I look for something new each year, something I haven't grown before or that catches my eye.

Yep, that one certainly fits those criteria. I'll research it a bit before buying a packet though.

Here's another that looks like it would be a nice addition to my garden:

For some reason my eye tends to ignore the top rows of these seed displays, probably because that's where the larger packets of seeds live, and even the small packets are usually too much seed for my small beds. This year though something up there caught my eye:

Are these new? A biodegradable "tape" that contains seeds at just the right spacing. Dig a small trench, bury, and water. What could be easier?

Also, what could be more expensive (compared to a regular packet of seeds, it's at least 3x the cost)? Or more misleading (just plant, water, and harvest)? Okay, I understand that not having to measure the distance between seeds will save you a little bit of effort, but I would expect these seeds to be spaced correctly for me so no thinning would be required too, but that just can't be.

Take for example the cucumber packet above. It contains 130 seeds in 15' of tape -- 180 inches. Without actually doing the math, I can see that works out to a spacing between seeds of an inch or two -- that's way too close for mature cucumber plants! So some thinning will be required after the seeds germinate for sure.

So what's the point?

The only advantage that these seed tapes have (that I can see at least) is that they just might convince somebody who is not already a gardener to try growing something, and that's a good thing!

Of course that probably means a bigger crowd around the seed packet display next January, and I prefer to ogle seeds alone...


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (January 8, 2013 at 10:03 AM)  

always check the seed packages, but usually I buy none. But I do love the promise inherent in those little envelopes.

Now, that purple tomatillo, that's something I'll keep an eye out for. Tomatillos do really well in our climate and are fool proof.

Marta  – (January 8, 2013 at 11:39 AM)  

Last year I cultivated for the first time curcuma maxima (zucca lunghissima di sicilia). An incredible vegetable, 2 meters long pumpkins!

Barbie  – (January 8, 2013 at 2:15 PM)  

You are just like me. I have to buy seeds when I see a seed rack, even if I have enough at home. Those strip seed thingies are not practical as you have already pointed out. Maybe a good idea, but I don't by them.

Jono / Real Men Sow  – (January 8, 2013 at 3:52 PM)  

haha, now this is a post I can relate to!

I love analysing what veg to grow based on its merits. I've just finishing messing around with a spreadsheet where I've rated veg on space efficiency, cost in shops, reliability, taste, storing, and how much we eat. Then I totalled the scores.

Bit of fun really, but it certainly helped me work out which ten or so veg are the most important to me, so I could include them in my plan before others.

Anonymous –   – (January 8, 2013 at 8:30 PM)  

I managed to get artichoke to flower as an annual in zone 3 last year - they were lovely! Some great shapes and textures in the late season.

Rock rose  – (January 8, 2013 at 8:49 PM)  

Your nursery has far more interesting seed packets than ours. I have never seen tomatillos on our shelves though I have grown them. i see you have some spam coming through.

Unknown  – (January 8, 2013 at 10:44 PM)  

Like you, I simply I can't resist the seed section and have to constantly have an internal battle to resist buying some. Thee array of seeds available in your nursery is interesting

Alan  – (January 10, 2013 at 7:10 AM)  

Lancashire: My local nurseries don't have this large a display of seeds -- this was at Lowe's. The nurseries carry the more "select" seed packets: Botanical Interests, Baker Creek, etc.

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