If you are planting a new garden (either to grow your own food and herbs or flowers), then try to find better quality seeds. Most shops sell F1 hybrid seeds, which means that unlike when you were a child and saved the seeds to use the next year, today the seeds are designed to not to do this – to force you to buy them again the next year! See make your garden safe for pets, to know toxic flowers/seeds (like lupins) to avoid.
You have two choices here. You can take part in a seed swap, or buy better quality seeds. How to Grow Plants from Seeds shows how to raise seedlings yourself, then have plenty of spares to swap with fellow enthusiasts. Learn the basic rules for different seeds, their sowing preferences and how to germinate and raise infant plants. Learn how seeds work, then find chapters on raising food and flowers from seed, with detailed plant profiles. If swapping seeds, ensure you don’t give pet-toxic seeds/plants to people who live with animals.
Earthsong Seeds (Somerset) are from two people with many years of herb-hunting and organic growing. These seeds from an organic nursery benefit the birds and bees, as well as yourself. The range includes:
- Herbal Kitchen offers plants to bring out the best in your food including basil, fennel, lovage, oregano, garden sage and common thyme.
- The Breathing Garden – plants with a natural affinity for the lungs, to offer seasonal support from pollen or dust in the air. From plants to soothe a dry tickle, to ones that can dry out the damp.
- The Scented Garden – oils to attract beneficial insects including English lavender, clary sage and roman chamomile.
- First Aid Seed Pack can help soothe a sting, ease an ache, calm a crisis, warm a chill or nip a sore throat in the bud. Includes 9 packs of seeds (meadow arnica, orange calendula, German chamomile, echinacea, mullein, spilanthes, yarrow, European valerian and St John’s Wort (contraindications, check with doctor first).
Seeds are now bred for industrial farms, where the money is. Modern copywriting tries to disguise this. So ‘good for freezing’ means ‘bred to ripen all at once for machine-harvesting’. ‘Leafless peas – easy to find the pods’ translates as ‘much smaller yield – the plants have no leaves!’ What a sad situation, with marketing people (rather than gardeners) writing the descriptions in modern seed catalogues. The Real Seed Company