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Frequently Asked Questions:

Where do the seeds come from?
Seeds from T&M are harvested from all over the world, cleaned and packed in England, then shipped directly to the USA for your enjoyment. >

Have the seeds been genetically modified?
No, we never knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants and have signed the 'Safe Seed Pledge'.

How do I know the seeds are viable?
We have an on-going testing program to ensure that all seeds meet or exceed USDA standards. >

Are the seeds easy to grow?
Seeds are an inexpensive and satisfying way of filling your garden and many varieties are easy to grow. Look for the products marked "EE" in the catalog, easy germination and easy aftercare. >

What kind of soil should I use to sow my seeds indoors?
A good choice is one of the soilless seed starting mixes. They are generally made up of 2 parts peat moss (by volume) and 1 part each perlite and vermiculite. This mix allows for the proper water to oxygen ratio for the development of healthy roots. Jiffy 7 peat pellets are another good alternative.

a Potting soil and garden soil are not good for use in containers because the soil particles tend to pack tightly, providing poor drainage and not enough oxygen for a healthy root system. They may also harbor soil borne pathogens that can lead to damping off. >

What kind of container should I use to sow my seeds?
Many kinds of containers can be used, but they must have drainage holes and they must be absolutely clean. To clean them, soak for 20 minutes in a solution of 1 part bleach (by volume) to 9 parts water (by volume).

The packet says to seal the seed container in a polythene bag. What is that and why should I do this?

A polythene bag is a thin plastic bag such as the ones you find in the grocery store to put produce in, the type newspapers are delivered in or the thin food storage baggies. Avoid thick plastic such as freezer bags, which seal out air. The thinner baggies retain moisture necessary for germination while allowing for air exchange for the living embryo that is inside every seed. Remove the baggie as soon as the seedlings emerge and move them into good light.

It is important that a covered seed container is never placed in direct sunlight. Temperatures under the plastic can rise to levels that will kill the seed. >

Why are my seedlings so tall and spindly?
Seedlings will ‘stretch’ if kept in a place that has insufficient light or if grown too warm. Keep in a brightly lit place. If placed on a windowsill, turn the pot daily to prevent the seedlings bending towards the light resulting in lop-sided mature plants. If you are growing under lights, the tops of the seedlings should be 2-4 inches from the lights. Be sure to adjust the position of the lights as the seedlings grow.

Most seedlings will grow best at a temperature that is about 10 degrees cooler than the recommended germination temperature.

What does 'sow in situ' mean?
It simply means to sow the seeds where they are going to grow in the garden.

Do I really have to prechill these seeds?
The reason ‘chilling’ is required is to break the seed’s natural dormancy. Many seeds require a winter chill to initiate germination – putting in the fridge is an artificial method of creating the winter conditions. The alternative is to leave the sown pot in the cold frame through the winter. If the seeds start to germinate in the fridge, move the seed tray out into warmer conditions and good light immediately. Be sure to remove the baggie at this point.

Prechilling your seeds does not mean putting the unopened packet in the fridge. It is the pot or tray of sown seeds that should be placed in the fridge with a baggie around it to retain moisture. This may be at the start of the germination period or after a period of warmer temperatures and is usually for about 3 weeks. Always follow the packet instructions, but if in doubt please give us a call as some seeds require 2 or 3 weeks, but some require a longer chilling.

Can the seeds be saved for next season?
Yes, most seeds can be saved until next season if stored in a cool, dry place. It's a good idea to keep them in the original foil and packet to retain your instructions. Unless you can dry your seeds to 8% moisture, don’t store them in the freezer - the refrigerator or a cool room temperature is a better choice. There are many resources available on seed saving and storage on the web, but two of our favorites are Cooperative Education websites run by Oregon State University & Colorado State University. Either are a great source to learn more about saving seeds.

Have another question? Send an e-mail directly to Customer Service.

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