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Horticulture and Agriculture
Seed catalogs and how to read them
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By K-State Extension
Extension notes is written by K-State Extension of Harvey County extension agents Scott Eckert, Susan Jackson and Ryan Flaming. They focus on horticulture and agriculture.
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By Scott Eckert, K-State Extension
Dec. 24, 2013 8:29 a.m.

I received my first garden catalog a few weeks ago!
Seed catalogs seem to come earlier every year, and many gardeners already have a collection of them. Garden seed can be expensive, and you may want to consider using seed from previous years. My grandpa collected and used okra seed from plants he grew because it was cheaper and his favorite variety.
Seed stores best if kept in a cold, dark, dry location. We normally consider seed will
stay viable for about 3 years under these conditions though there are exceptions. For example, members of the carrot family (carrots, parsnips and parsley) are short-lived and are usually good for only 1 to 2 years.
If you are unsure of viability and have plenty of seed, there is an easy method of determining how good your seed is. Place 10 seeds on a paper towel moistened with warm water and cover with a second moistened towel. Roll up the towels and place inside a plastic bag with enough holes for air exchange but not so many that the towels dry quickly. Place the bag in a warm place such as the top of refrigerator. Remoisten towels with warm water as needed. After the first week, check for germination. Remove sprouted seed and check again after another week. Add these numbers together to determine the percent germination.

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