A while back I subscribed to the Yates gardening website. Occasionally I receive emails which attempt to sell me products via offering guidance and advice on some gardening matters. Not long ago they posted two packets of seeds to me. One was for ‘Greyzini’ zucchinis and the other for ‘Giant Bell’ capsicums.
In light of my recent attendance at the seed saving webinar and what I have learnt from the movie A Road to Grow, I read the packets carefully.
The zucchini packet offers me an ‘abundant harvest’ of a vegetable that likes full sun, grows in garden beds and matures in 5-7 weeks. An image of a medallion printed with the guarantee of ‘quality & germination for over 100 years’ I suspect is badly written; I imagine the company has operated for over 100 years but there is no way these seeds will be viable in 100 years. Nobody in their right mind would guarantee that. But the silver medallion at the bottom of the front of the packet is clever; it reminds me of award winning medallions on bottles of wine and no doubt wants to make that association inn buyers minds; without the expectation that anyone will read what is printed on there.
On the reverse side of the packet, I am told this plant is an ‘easy to grow variety, grey green speckled fruit, with firm white flesh. Produces abundant crops on vigorous plants.’ It has ‘hybrid vigour, continuous picking, colour variety’. I shouldn’t plant until mid-spring or early summer and then do so in a well-lit and protected spot, and well-drained position. The seed should be sown at a depth of 20mm, spaced 70 cm from another plant, with the expectation of germination in 6-10 days. Great companion plants will be beans, corn, radishes, basil and nasturtium – the latter self-seeds profusely around my garden.
The capsicum packet offers me ‘large, crisp and juicy’ fruits that grow in sun or part shade, are suitable for both pots and garden beds and will mature in 10-12 weeks. The same promotional guarantee medallion that is printed on the zucchini packet has been added onto this packet as well. In addition, another medallion tells me this is ‘Quality seed for Tasmania’.
On the reverse of the packet, I am told this plant will give me ‘bright green glossy fruit changing to a sweet red at maturity. Can be eaten at any stage. Grows vigorously. High in vitamins, long harvest, very versatile’. I can only sow the seeds at a depth of 6mm in spring to summer, directly in seed raising trays in warm conditions but kept moist. ‘Expect germination in 10-1 days and then transplant into the garden when 5-7cm high at 50 cm apart in sun or part shade. Pick regularly to prolong cropping. Great companion plant for basil.’ Interestingly the packet of capsicums did not tell me the seed was a hybrid; probably it is. During the recent webinar Linda Cockburn made a point of alerting us to the fact that many hybrid seeds and plants are not labelled as such.
Naturally I will use these seeds later this year – I am not one for looking a gift horse in the mouth! However, I will grow these vegetable with no expectation of seed saving later (unless I become curious to see what sort of mongrels might grow).