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What are GMO seeds? Does McKenzie Seeds sell them?

McKenzie Seeds does not sell, nor have we ever sold Genetically Enhanced Seeds.  Genetic modification of plant cells has been practiced quite extensively within the field of Agriculture. This is where much of the recent media attention on Genetic Enhancement of seeds has come from.   As Canada’s packet seed leader, we are watching the developments within the Horticulture industry closely. As biotechnology progresses, McKenzie Seeds will monitor its impact on the environment, health, and other areas of concern.

Does McKenzie Seeds use Neonicotinoids?

McKenzie Seeds does not sell, nor have we ever sold any seed treated with neonicotinoids, or neonics for short.  The impact of this class of chemical on pollinating insects such as honey bees and native bees is a cause of concern which is why McKenzie Seeds has not and will not use neonicotinoid chemicals at any time.

What are Organic seeds?

100% certified organic seeds are harvested from plants grown without synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides and harbor no residues from these chemicals. Organically grown seed produces hearty, robust plants already adapted to organic growing conditions.

What's the difference between and a Hybrid and an Open-Pollinated plant?

A hybrid seed comes from a cross between two different varieties to obtain a certain set of characteristics. (Saving seed from a hybrid plant is not recommended – you will not be able to grow the same plant because the seed from a hybrid plant will have a different mix of the parent plants’ genes.) An open-pollinated variety holds on to the parent’s characteristics generation after generation. This is important, if you want to save seed.

What is an Heirloom variety?

Heirloom varieties are seeds that have been saved from generation to generation.  They are open pollinated meaning that they rely on natural pollination from wind and insects.  Usually varieties referred to as heirloom have been around for more than 50 years and offer a wonderful history in the names and flavors that continually provide dependable quality season after season.  The seed from heirloom plants can be saved at the end of the season to be used again the next year.

What is Crop Rotation?

Crop rotation is one of the oldest and most effective strategies to control potential gardening problems. It is as simple as planning to plant a selected crop in the east end of the garden and then the next season, plant it on the west side of the garden.  Plants that follow should be from a different family than the previous one.  It is ideal for most crops to wait 3 years before planting in the original area.  Moving crops to different areas of the garden each year provides many advantages such as maintaining soil fertility, reducing soil erosion, prevents diseases and pests, helps to control weeds and reduces reliance of synthetic chemicals.

What is Hardening Off?

One week before planting outside, the hardening off process is started. Gradually acclimatize the transplants from a warm, comfortable indoors to the cool, windy outdoors.  Place plants in the sun for an hour the first day, gradually increasing the exposure for about a week until plants can accept a full day of direct sunlight. Make sure the transplants are well watered during the process. After a couple days of full days outside, the plants should be left out overnight, unless there is a danger of frost.

What is Deadheading?

This means removing dead flowers once they have finished blooming and thus extending the flowering life of the plant.  Your plant will thank you for taking the time to “clean it up” by producing many more flowers over a longer period of time.  Check your plants while watering to see what ‘maintenance’ is required – usually a few minutes before or after watering to remove faded flowers or seed pods can help keep plants looking beautiful!

Why should I start seed indoors?

This is an excellent way to save money and work on a very fulfilling project.  Using Jiffy peat pellets, or a combination of pet pots and starting mix is the perfect start to a successful gardening experience.  Be sure to follow packet directions for sowing depth and spacing and don’t forget to label what you have planted.  Cover your tray or flat of newly planted seeds with a plastic dome or even plastic wrap and remove once the seedling has fully emerged.  It is a good idea to apply a type of fungicide shortly after planting to seeds to prevent the rotting of seedlings which is called ‘damping off’.  Grow lights can help with germination and growth.  Place your flat or tray somewhere warm (heat mat or top of refrigerator) to warm the soil and promote germination and be sure to remove from heat once seedling start to emerge.  Never let seed trays become dry – seedling cannot tolerate dry conditions.  Once seedlings have produced their second set of leaves you should start fertilizing once a week with a plant starting fertilizer made at one-quarter strength.

Why and how should I Fertilize my plants?

One of the easiest ways to fertilize is to mix in a granular fertilizer to the soil before plants are set in which slowly releases fertilizer throughout the growing season.  You can also add supplemental feedings through the use of water soluble fertilizers throughout the season for larger plants that require more than the granular can keep up with.  Otherwise make sure to add a good plant starting fertilizer immediately after planting and continue with fertilizing once a week during the first 3 weeks after planting to help the plant get established.  Throughout the season the use of an all purpose fertilizer (20-20-20) added into your watering can once a week will work best in most cases and will help plants produce lush greenery and beautiful flowers.

What is the diference between Indeterminate and Determinate Tomatoes?

There are two basic groups of tomato plants: determinate and indeterminate.  Determinate, also known as “bush types”, set all their fruit in a shorter period of time, do not need to be pruned and grow well in a cage. No staking is required.  Indeterminate tomato plants grow tall and are also referred to as “staking tomatoes”.  They continue to grow and produce fruit all season long and should be pruned.  Staking is required.

What is Succession Gardening?

Succession gardening means planting a second or third crop where another crop has finished – this way you can always be using your garden space for more fresh produce as well as preserving for the winter.  Once early maturing plants have finished, plant a second crop in their place (to get a head try starting plants in Jiffy peat pots).  After your second planting has been harvested you can usually plant a cool weather crop for late season enjoyment.  The key is to check on the seed packet for the days for germination and maturity, add them together and then check the number of days back from a likely first frost date for your region to make sure you plant to allow enough time for your next planting to mature.  Most greens (lettuce, kale, endive, spinach), radishes, bush beans and peas can be planted mid summer and harvested in the fall for regions with a September/October first frost date.

What is a Garden Inoculant?

It is a fine powder applied to the seeds at time of planting.  Inoculant is living bacteria that enables garden bean and pea plants to produce nitrogen fixing nodules along the roots which act to gather nitrogen (which is vital for plant growth) from the air and soil resulting in better growth and production.  In addition, the nitrogen gathered stays in the soil at the end of the season for the next season’s crops to profit from.

NOTE: Store it in a cool place. It is best to use inoculant in the year it was purchased.  Excess inoculant can be worked into the soil.