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  • Google search seed companies and buy on-line. We prefer www.johnnyseeds.com because they have lots of organic and untreated pelleted seeds. Buy seeds at your local nursery or big box store or check out seed banks. I’ve enjoyed learning how to harvest seeds from my garden.
  • Pelleted seeds are coated with an inert clay to make them smooth and uniform for mechanical sowing. They are much easier to handle than native seeds when sowing by hand. And they virtually eliminate the need to thin out seedlings after they germinate. That’s the good news. The bad news is the pelleting process shortens seed shelf life. As a result, some pelleted seed suppliers recommend you only purchase pelleted seeds for the current growing season. My experience mirrors the recommendation. Pelleted seeds more than one year old do not germinate reliably in my experience.
  • UC Davis organic farm germinates seeds in one part vermiculite, one part peat moss, and one part aged organic sheep manure. I substituted chicken manure for sheep manure purchased at Home Depot. Worked great for a while and then it didn’t. Found out the chicken manure was purchased from Foster Farms and not aged consistently. When it's too rich, seeds won’t germinate. So looked for a source of dependable organic seed starter mix that works every time. Found “Jiffy Natural and Organic Seed Starter Mix” performed the best. Look for the G312 marking bottom package back. No added nutrients are needed when using this product. And it’s available at Home Depot and Lowe's. Caution: Avoid “Jiffy Organic Seed Starting Jiffy-Mix”. It is not the same product.
  • Not all seeds have the same shelf life, but most will last a couple of years if stored in the right conditions. If you buy from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, they display the germination rate and test date on the front of their seed packets, so you know how viable the seeds were on the test date. A simple rule of thumb I use is sow native seeds up to two years old, and sow pelleted seeds up to one year old. You can test seed viability yourself by placing native seeds in warm water and see if they sink within 15 minutes. Or you can place seeds on a wet paper towel in a warm location and determinate the percent that germinated after no more than 10 days. It is simpler to just follow the rule of thumb above, which works really well for me.