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Organic Gardening:


Seed facts: all about Seeds and Germination


by

If you save your own seed, or just keep seed that is left over from previous years to use the following year, it is useful to have information on their shelf life. This table provides this information, along with details like time and temperature for germination, expected time from sowing to harvest, and the life cycle and pollination type, useful when saving your own seed.







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Crop Seed cycle Seeds per ounce Ave life years Polli­nation Isolate for seeds? Germ.
temp
°F
Germ. days Weeks to yield Notes
American/ Australian Cress     5         8 Can be sown and harvested throughout the year
Chinese artichoke P   tuber         25 50' row yields 12-15lb
Globe artichoke P             52 50' row yields 40-50
Jerusalem artichoke P   tuber         30 50' row yields 45-50lb
Asparagus P 1,000 3 Insect Yes 60-85 25 156  
Asparagus pea A   3         12 50' row yields 25-50lb of 1" pods (best size)
Aubergine A   4-5 Insect Limited 75-90 7-14 28 Use modules. Pot on as necessary. Make sure seedlings are never chilled.
Black eyed bean (Cow pea) A   3 Self Limited        
Broad bean A 50/¼ pint 1-3 Self Limited 55-65 7-14 Spring: 14
Autumn: 26
 
French bean A 130/¼ pint 3-5 Self Limited 65-85 7-14 10-13  
Lima beans A   3 Self Limited 65-75 7-12 9-12 Any root disturbance hinders growth. When thinning, cut, don't pull seedlings.
Lablab bean A   3 Self Limited     28 50' row yields10-12lb
Mung beans A   5 Self Limited 65-85 7-14 9-14 (sprouts 12 days)
Runner bean A 70/¼ pint 1-3 Self Limited 55-65 7-14 12-14  
Soy beans A   3-5 Self Limited 65-85 5-8 10-14  
Beetroot B 1,600 4-6 Wind Yes 50-85 10-14 9-16  
Broccoli A 9,000 4-5 Insect Yes 45-90 5-12 39-44 Last transplants 18 weeks before first expected frost.
Broccoli, 9 Star P   4-5 Insect Yes 45-90 5-12 52 50' row yields 50-60lb
Brussels sprouts B 7,000 4-5 Insect Yes 45-85 5-12 36
Earlies: 28
 
Cabbage B 6,000 4-5 Insect Yes 45-95 5-12 26-34 Start early varieties indoors
Calabrese A   7 Insect Yes 45-90 7-12 12  
Capucine -   tuber - -   34 34 50' row yields 15-20lb
Cardoon     7         25  
Carrot B 14,000 3-5 Insect Yes 45-85 17-20 12-16  
Cauliflower B 10,000 3-5 Insect Yes 45-85 5-12 18-24
Winter: 40-50
Only use seedlings with a bud in the centre, or no head will form.
Celeriac B 50,000 2-5 Insect Yes   12-18 25 50' row yields 50-60lb
Celery B 50,000 3-5 Insect Yes 60-70 12-18 24
(trench 40)
Soak seed overnight before sowing. Use individual containers. Pot on as needed.
Celtuce     2         13 50' row yields 40-45lb
Vegetable Chervil     1            
Chick pea     3-4         26 50' row yields 12lb peas
Chicory Witloof   15,000 3-6       6-12 11-21  
Chinese cabbage A   3-5 Insect Yes 45-95   9 Autumn crops are less likely to bolt.
Chinese mustard     5-6         9 50' row yields 45-60lb
Chive P   2 Insect Yes        
Chop suey green     3-4         6  
Collards           45-95 10-14 11 Can be harvested as needed into late autumn
Corn salad     4-7         12 50' row yields 15lb
Courgette     4-6 Insect   70-95 5-8 13  
Couve Tronchada     5-6         24  
Garden cress           65 4-10 5-7  
Cucumber A 1,000 3-6 Insect Yes 60-95 3-5 Indoor: 12 Outdoor: 14 Roots are very sensitive to disturbance.
Dandelion     2         30  
Endive   12,000 2-5       8-10 13-17  
Endive, curly   12,000 10         12  
Evening primrose     6         20 50' row yields 20lb roots
Fennel     4-6         16  
Garlic A   1-2 Insect No -   13 50' row yields 25-30lb
Good King Henry     4-6         52 50' row yields 4lb flower buds, 30lb leaves and 10lb shoots
Gherkin     5         12  
Hamburg parsley     2-3         21 50' row yields 40-50lb
Hops               52  
Horseradish P             26-35  
Kale B 7,500 4-5 Insect Yes 45-90 7-12 30-35 Seedlings are very hardy and can be set out before last expected frost.
Kohl rabi B 7,000 3-6 Insect Yes 45-90 5-9 8 50' row yields 70 bulbs
Leek B 8,000 2-3 Insect Yes 50-95 6-14 30-45  
Lettuce A 16,000 3-6 Self Limited 40-80 6-12 10 Start autumn transplants about 8 weeks before first expected frost.
Marrow A 250 4-6 Insect Yes 70-95 5-8 13  
Melon A   3-5 Self Limited 75-95 4-10 11-17 Use individual containers. Growth is slowed by any root disturbance.
Mustard (green manure)           50-70 3-7 4-7  
Oca     tuber         34 50' row yields 12-15lb
Okra A   2 Self No        
Onion B 8,000 1-3 Insect Yes 50-95 7-21 24 (sets: 20) Keep seedling tops trimmed to ½" to 1" until a week before planting out.
Orach     3-4         14 50' row yields 18-20lb
Parsley B 15,000 1-2 Insect Yes 50-85 15-20 12-17 Soak seeds overnight in 75-80 water before sowing.
Parsnip B 6,000 1-2 Insect Yes 50-70 10-28 40  
Pea A 90-150 3 Self Limited 40-75 7-10 11-16
Autumn: 32
 
Pepper, hot A   4-5 Self Limited 65-95 14-21 18-20 Germinates quicker at higher temperatures.
Pepper, sweet A   2-4 Self Limited 65-95 14-21 18-20 50' row yields 18-25lb
Physalis     2-3         22 50' row yields 25-30lb
Pokeweed               52 50' row yields 10-20lb
Popcorn A   1-2 Wind Yes     25  
Potato A   1-2 Self No        
Sweet potato           75-80 6-8 14-28 Detach sprouts from potato when 4-8" tall, with 4-5 leaves. Plant in individual containers.
Pumpkin A   4-6 Insect Yes 70-95 3-12 13-15  
Radish, summer A 4,000 3-5 Insect Yes 45-90 4-7 4-6  
Radish, winter   4,000 5         8 50' row yields 40-60lb depending on variety
Rampion     2         20 50' row yields 12-15lb
Rocket     3-4         12 50' row yields 8-10lb
Rhubarb P                
Salsify B 4,000 2 Self No 50-75 8-14 16 50' row yields 50-60lb
Scolymus     2         24 50' row yields 25-30lb
Scorzonera     2       8-14 25 50' row yields 30-40lb
Shallot     4 Insect     21 18  
Skirret     3         22 50' row yields 22-28lb
Sorrel     7         9 50' row yields 18-20lb
Spinach A 2,500 1-5 Wind Yes 45-75 9-12 6-11  
NZ Spinach A   5 Insect Yes        
Summer squash A 350 4-5 Insect Yes        
Winter squash A   4-6 Insect Yes 70-95 3-12 20 Avoid root disturbance. Use individual containers.
Strawberries       Insect   55 30    
Sugar beet B   4-6 Wind Yes     24 50' row yields 60lb
Sunflowers A   2 Insect Yes     11-13  
Swede B 7,000 1-4 Insect Yes 50-75 6-10 20-26  
Sweetcorn A   1-2 Wind Yes 60-95 7-14 25  
Swiss Chard B 1,500 2-6 Wind Yes 50-85 6-21 8-14 50' row yields 40-50lb
Tomatillo A   2-3         22 50' row yields 30-35lb
Tomato A 12,000 3-6 Self Limited 60-85 8-11 24  
Turnip A 9,000 1-5 Insect Yes 60-105 6-10 6-12  
Watermelon A   4-5 Insect Yes 70-95   10-12 Avoid root disturbance. Use individual containers.


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Article ©2004 Frann Leach. All rights reserved.

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