Buying and Saving Seeds

Seed packets for sale at garden centers or other retail stores are often hybrid seeds (See later post about hybrid plants). Hybrid plants often grow bigger and yield more than nonhybrids. Hybrid seeds are usually more expensive due to the time and cost of breeding etc.  If you don't mind buying new seeds each grow cycle then hybrids are a good choice. Look on the seed packet to see if the label says "hybrid." The packet will also give climate recommendations for that species. (See the USDA hardiness zones under Useful Links on this blog) Some hybrid plants are developed for specific growing conditions, so pick ones that are right for your indoor growing conditions. If you use HID’s you may want to use varieties that are heat resistant for example. Growing indoors means that you can grow even tropical plants in any area or any time of year. You can grow any plant on Earth if you try. Other examples of indoor considerations are to grow dwarf varieties for growing in small spaces or early maturing varieties to help you speed up the growth cycle  which is something that might appeal to you if you are in college and are on a semester schedule.
Saving Seeds
Some good growers like to gather seeds from their plants and save them to plant the next grow cycle.   (See my post on how to store seeds) While I have suggested it may be better to buy seeds (link to buy seeds) collecting and growing seeds may be an interesting way to experiment and save money.  You should know most hybrid seeds, due to genetics, will produce inferior offspring or plants with different qualities and only a few will be the same as the original parents. With a small garden you will need some luck to get improved plants. If you want to be self sufficient you should buy heirloom seeds rather than breeding and planting seeds from a hybrid plant. If you don't want any hassle and  just want to grow good plants all the time, it's best to just buy new seeds. However, if you are curious and have a large garden or want to try crossing two hybrids together to look for new combinations of traits you can always try. If you cross two excellent varieties you should get above average plants at least. It might be good to have a second area for growing that you devote to breeding if you want to advance to the next step... that is another topic for the future.

Good Growing,
Dr. E.R. Myers

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