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Tomato Suckers – Gardening Review

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Can you spot the mistake in the title of this article? The truth is that there are actually no such things as tomato suckers. Suckers are branches of a plant that don’t produce any flowers or fruit, and all tomato stems are in fact fruit-bearing. Secondary tomato stems, or branches, are sometimes called suckers, but that’s a misnomer. They will also produce plenty of tomatoes if they are left alone.

Over the years, gardeners have developed the habit of pruning these secondary stems, wrongly called tomato suckers, to encourage the other remaining stems to produce larger tomatoes. What they’re doing, in effect, is trading quantity for size. There are many reasons why this tradition has developed and a fair bit of confusion about whether or not you should, in fact, prune the secondary stems. Here’s the comprehensive guide to secondary tomatoes stems andwhether or notthey should be pruned.

What Exactly Are Tomato Suckers?

The answer to that question is, of course, stated above. There are no tomato suckers. Which is to say, there are no unproductive stems on a tomato plant. All stems will grow flowers and fruit. However, for various historical reasons, gardeners have followed a tradition of pruning the secondary stems on tomato plants.

Many of the reasons given for this practice are based on misconceptions about secondary tomato stems and their role in the life of the plant. They’re not bloodsuckers, stealing energy and life from the plant, but contribute their share of energy, food, and fruit. However, the confusion about the need for pruning these so-called tomato suckers persists.

Sooner or later all gardeners face the question: do tomato plants need to be pruned? So if you’re trying to make that decision about your own tomato plants, it helps to know some of the history of pruning secondary stems. And then if you do decide to go ahead and prune, you know that you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Some Common Misconceptions about Tomato Suckers

Nomenclature

red cherry tomatoes

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Secondary tomato stems that grow in the leaf axils, the joints of the main stem with the branches, are called tomato suckers. As explained above, the word tomato sucker is a misnomer, because these secondary branches are not actually suckers. Suckers are defined as stems that are unproductive, which is to say that they never produce any flowers or fruit. By this definition, tomato plants don’t have any suckers, and all branches are productive.

This is why many gardeners prefer to use the more neutral terms “stems” or “secondary stems”, and we will follow this style from now on.

Purpose

Now that we know that secondary tomato stems do produce fruit, let’s tackle the next misperception. Many gardeners prune secondary stems because they are believed to suck energy from the plant, energy that could be used instead to produce more fruit.

However secondary stems don’t actually drain energy from the plants. Instead, they add to it. All stems photosynthesize like the leaves do, producing energy for the plant, and secondary stems are no exception. Besides this, they have leaves that also produce energy for the plant. So the secondary stems are not harmful bloodsuckers, but a basic part of the plant itself. That’s another reason why the word “tomato suckers”, which conjures up images of harmful pests, is wrong.

Harvesting

Another common misconception is that leaving the secondary stems, a.k.a. tomato suckers, on the plant will delay the harvest of tomatoes. This is also not true. The timing of the harvest and the speed with which the tomatoes reach maturation does not depend on pruning. In fact, the harvest and maturation of the tomatoes depends on factors like the weather, variety of tomatoes, and growing conditions such as the amount of sunshine the plant receives.

Ripening

Some gardeners even believe that secondary stems prevent the fruit from ripening because their leaves cut off the sunlight from the fruits. This is wrong because the fruit doesn’t need exposure to sunlight. It’s actually the leaves that need sunlight because they do all the work of photosynthesizing food and nutrients for the plant. In fact, if the slowly ripening fruits are suddenly exposed to full sunshine by removing the secondary stems, they may suffer damage from solar burn.

This leads us to the question: if the secondary stems have no harmful effects and many positive one, why then did gardeners start removing them by pruning? Why are these misconceptions about secondary stems, wrongly called tomato suckers, so widely believed? There are several reasons, based in gardening history and tradition, and we will explore these in detail below.

Why Do Gardeners Remove Secondary Tomato Stems?

orange tomatoes

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If there’s no good reason to prune tomato plants by removing secondary branches, why did gardeners adopt this practice? The answer to this question has to do with the development of gardening methods since the start of the twentieth century. More specifically, itis connected to the methods used by gardeners to stake and support tomato plants and how these have changed over the years.

Historical Development

Before the twentieth century, gardeners used trellises to support tomato plants. This allowed the plants to sprawl all over and gave them plenty of support for all their branches. This made pruning unnecessary since all branches bear fruit. But once gardeners started using single or even double stakes to support their tomato plants, it became easier to remove the secondary stems. The stakes would only support one of two stems.

Pruning also gave the plants a neater look, which is a matter of pride for most gardeners. Consequently, they began the practice of pruning all but one or two stems that could be supported by the stakes. The pruned plants were contrasted of their unpruned stems, which tend to sprawl untidily all over the place. Gradually, this became a habit and then a convention.

Then things changed again around the end of the twentieth century with the invention of the tomato cage. Tomato cages are made from strong wire and are cylindrical or roughly cone-shaped. Unlike single stakes, they support the plant on all sides, so all the stems have plenty of room to grow upwards. Even the straggliest and skinniest stems can be supported. This made it unnecessary to prune the secondary stems for a neater appearance. Any stems and leaves growing out of the tomato cage can simply be pushed back inside.

Is It Necessary to Remove Secondary Tomato Stems?

Having dispelled some of these common misconceptions, let’s consider if you actually need to prune your tomato plants. The first factor to consider is the variety of tomato plants and whether it is determinate or indeterminate. This classification is based on their growth patterns and how these determine their size, shape, and harvest.

Determinate plants have a limited and defined height, which is fixed genetically. Once the plant reaches its maximum growth, it produces all its flowers and fruits at the same time and then dies off. The growing season for determinate tomato plants is also limited and defined. Some common varieties of determinates are Roma, Silver Fir Tree, Rutgers, and Green Zebra.

Indeterminate plants, by contrast, will carry on growing and reach a bushy, sprawling shape. They have no limit in terms of size and continue to grow throughout the season. They will also continue to produce tomatoes all season instead of all at once. Cherry tomatoes fall in this category, as do varieties like Abe Lincoln, Black Krim, and Arkansas Traveler.

Determinate plants don’t need pruning at all. It’s only in the case of indeterminate plants that gardeners have to make the choice whether or not to prune. Most gardeners just prune because they’re following the tradition, or because they have accepted the common misperceptions we discussed above. There are some other reasons to prune, such as wanting tomatoes of a larger size. But if you do prune, it should be for the right reasons.

Should I Prune My Tomato Plants or Not?

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If you’re feeling a little confused by all of this, you’re not alone. Almost the entire gardening fraternity shares in this state of mind. The simple answer to the question of whether or not to prune depends on some choices, such as the kind of system you want to use to stake and support your plants. The other choice you have to make is between a smaller quantity of tomatoes that are larger in size or a larger number of tomatoes with a higher combined total weight.

If you prune the secondary stems, you will get fewer tomatoes but these will be larger in size. Leaving the secondary tomato stems unpruned can increase the net weight of tomatoes produced by the plant, by a considerable amount. Besides, tomato plants that keep all their stems are stronger and grow more vigorously as compared to plants that have been pruned.

What You Can Do Instead of Pruning Tomato Stems

Green tomato

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Instead of pruning your tomato stems, you can support them using tomato cages or old-fashioned trellises. As noted above, these will support all the stems, unlike stakes which can only support one or two. Tomato cages come in various sizes, so you can pick the size that best suits your variety of tomatoes.

Determinate tomato plants can fit into small or regular sized cages. Large, sprawling indeterminate tomato plants, like cherry tomatoes, will need a larger size cage. Once you’ve found the right size of cage for your tomato plants, you won’t need to prune them at all. The cage will support all the branches, all of which will produce fruit. Both cages and trellises can be custom built as well.

Are There any Advantages to Pruning Tomato Plants?

As we said earlier, gardeners who prune are choosing to have fewer but larger tomatoes. Gardeners who are aiming to grow the largest tomato possible may even pinch off all flowers except just one. In this case, the plant will put all its energy and resources into a single fruit, which will be very large.

On the other hand, an unpruned plant can produce twice as many tomatoes as a pruned one. They will be slightly smaller in size, but the net weight will be greater. They will also taste better. Another reason why pruning may not be a good idea is that the site can become an entry point for microbes and diseases. Pruning a thick stem may destroy the plant itself. Besides, if you decide not to prune, that makes less work for you. Less work, bigger harvest. Sounds like an great idea.

What Is the Right Way to Prune?

If you’ve decided that you want to prune your tomato plants, it’s important to do it right. When the secondary stems are very new and small, you can prune just by pinching them off by hand. If the stems are larger, you should use pruners. It’s important to disinfect your pruners before moving from one plant to another, otherwise, you can transfer diseases and viruses between plants.

Most gardeners have their own preferences for how much to prune. Some gardeners will leave just two or three stems while others will prune everything below the first flower cluster. There are some who will prune only those stems that cannot be staked easily. Whether or not you prune, it’s important to remove yellow and dead leaves. These do drain energy from the plant and may also become the entry point for diseases. Removing these leaves will contribute to the overall health of the plant and improve its growth.

Conclusion

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Over the years, gardeners have developed a habit of pruning secondary stems on tomato plants, mistakenly known as tomato suckers. Secondary tomato stems are not actually suckers, because they produce flowers and fruits. Removing these secondary stems by pruning produces tomatoes that are larger in size but fewer in quality. An unpruned plant, on the other hand, will produce smaller tomatoes but more of them—often a lot more. In the end, the decision about whether to prune or not is an individual one, as is the style of pruning you choose.

Best Grow Lights For Indoor Plants For Urban Gardening

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Growing plants indoors can be a tricky business, particularly if your room or your office doesn’t receive sufficient light. Fortunately, with the introduction and development of grow lights for indoor plants, it’s now easier than ever to cultivate your own little garden indoors. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, take a look at this list of the best grow lights for indoor plants. We’ve explained the primary features of each product, listed out their pros and cons, the price range they fall in, and the warranty they come with.

Comparison Table

Grow Lights FAQ

Grow Lights For Indoor Plants

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First, let’s explore the answers to some commonly asked questions about grow lights.

1. What Are Grow Lights for Indoor Plants?

2. Why Do Indoor Plants Need Grow Lights?

3. How Do You Choose the Best Grow Lights?

4. Where Can You Purchase Grow Lights for Indoor Plants?

How We Reviewed

Since there are several varieties of grow lights, our team first identified the different models available on the market. We then proceeded to evaluate the many options that fit into each category based on factors like the efficiency of the cooling system, the quality of the bulbs, the nature of the design, its ease of use, the warranty offered, and the overall effectiveness of the lights in getting plants to grow. Having done that, we proceeded to curate this list of the ten best grow lights for indoor plants.

Overall Price Range of the Best Grow Lights for Indoor Plants

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The price of the best grow lights for indoor plants depends on the design of the light, the spectrum of light offered, the number of bulbs, the nature of the bulbs, the wattage, and the overall quality of the construction. Typically, the prices can range from as low as $30 to as high as $200 for a set of grow lights. The higher priced models generally have a greater number of lights and are more energy-efficient. However, the more affordable options are effective for growing small potted plants.

What We Reviewed

  • 2018 Dual Head UV & IR Plant Grow Light
  • 1500W LED Grow Light
  • Deckey 225LED Grow Light
  • Roleadro LED Grow Light
  • Lxyoug LED Grow Lights
  • Phlizon Newest 600W LED Plant Grow Light
  • iPower 1000 Watt HPS MH Digital Dimmable Grow Light System
  • VIVOSUN 600W LED Grow Light
  • Hydroplanet 1000W Horticulture Air Cooled Hood Set Grow Lights
  • Growstar 2000W LED Grow Light

2018 Dual Head UV & IR Plant Grow Light


Features

Composed of six red LEDs and four blue ones, this set of grow lights comes with two heads affixed on top of bendable arms. The heads achieve 360-degree coverage, and the product comes with a set of double switches that improve its convenience and safety. The lights run on a parallel circuit and, therefore, can be operated separately. Additionally, the clip at the bottom is made from metal and allows you to secure the lamp firmly to any sturdy surface.

Pros

  • Firm and sturdy clip
  • Offers a wide spectrum of light
  • Lamp arms are flexible

Cons

  • Cord is a bit short
  • Bulbs aren’t replaceable

Where to Buy

Warranty 

In addition to a 30-day money-back guarantee, PPUNSON offers a lifetime guarantee on this product.

1500W LED Grow Light


Features

These grow lights are equipped with ventilation fans and include red, blue, white, infrared, and ultraviolet rays, thus offering plants the entire spectrum of light they would otherwise receive under natural sunlight. The lights in this product are 3-chip LEDs, which are brighter and more efficient than the regular 2-chip versions. They are installed at angles of 90 and 120 degrees as this design helps maintain the balance between lumen output and coverage.

Pros

  • Offers adequate coverage
  • Easy to use right out of the box
  • Plants lean toward the light

Cons

  • Quality control needs improvement
  • Fans tend to make loud noises

Where to Buy

Warranty

In addition to a 30-day money back guarantee, MAYGROW offers a 3-year warranty on this product.

Deckey 225LED Grow Light


Features

This panel includes 60 blue lights and 165 red lights, which is an ideal combination for encouraging plants to get the first sprouts growing. The substrate is a plate that’s made from thick aluminum, and it’s easier to maintain and offers better thermal conductivity than glass filler panels. When compared with sodium, incandescent, or metal halide lamps, these lights save around 80 percent of your energy costs. The pack includes the LED grow lights, the mounting accessories, a power cable, and a user manual.

Pros

  • Lights don’t heat up too much
  • Ideal for small or seeding plants
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Narrow coverage and angle of dispersion
  • Not powerful enough for blooming or budding plants

Where to Buy

Warranty

It’s advisable to contact the manufacturer to obtain information about the product’s warranty.

Roleadro LED Grow Light


Features

This set includes 117 red LEDs and 52 blue LEDs which are assembled together based on the professional spectrum ratio of 2.25:1. This ratio is ideal for promoting the growth of seeds and leaves. The reflector cup is shaped in a manner that allows the lights from each chip to spread out at an angle of 60 degrees. These lights are also long-lasting and help save 80 percent of the energy. Nearly 95 percent of the light emitted is absorbed by the plants.

Pros

  • Lightweight structure
  • Easy to install the lights
  • Bright and effective lights

Cons

  • Rear end gets too warm
  • Doesn’t include clear instructions

Where to Buy

Warranty

In addition to a 30-day money-back guarantee, Roleadro offers a warranty of 18 months on this product.

Lxyoug LED Grow Lights


Features

Made entirely from durable and resilient aluminum, these grow lights include 6 blue lights and 9 red lights. The design includes three LED light heads that are affixed on top of adjustable goosenecks that can be rotated through 360 degrees to achieve the orientation you require. The fixtures are available as brackets, clips, or screws, and each light head comes with its own individual switch. The rotary dimming control feature allows you to adjust the brightness as needed.

Pros

  • Great customer service
  • Plants show visible improvement
  • Strong clamp at the base

Cons

  • Bulbs can’t be replaced
  • Quality control can be improved

Where to Buy

Warranty

In addition to a 12-month replacement guarantee and a 90-day refund guarantee, Lxyoug offers a lifetime quality guarantee on this product.

Philzon Newest 600W LED Plant Grow Light

Features

This product is equipped with two light schemes. The veg scheme consists of blue and white LEDs and is effective at seeding vegetative plants. The bloom scheme includes red and white LEDs and is best suited for flowering plants. The LEDs have view angles of 90 and 120 degrees, and the elimination of a reflector from the design improves user-safety. The addition of ventilation fans helps dissipate heat and keeps the unit cool.

Pros

  • Thermometer reads in Celsius and Fahrenheit
  • Durable construction
  • Offers adequate light coverage

Cons

  • Fans can be loud
  • Tough to mount vertically

Where to Buy

Warranty

In addition to a 30-day money-back guarantee, Philzon offers a 2-year warranty on this product.

iPower 1000 Watt HPS MH Digital Dimmable Grow Light System


Features

This 1000W grow lights system has a sleek design where the wires remain unexposed, thus minimizing the risk of electrical shock. The lights come with dimmable options that allow you to operate them at 50, 75, and 100 percent brightness. The pack includes a heavy-duty power cord that’s 8 feet in length, and the use of highly reflective textured aluminum maximizes the amount of light that’s reflected on to the plants.

Pros

  • Premium quality construction
  • Easy to install and set up
  • Plants show noticeable improvement

Cons

  • Ballast is quite loud
  • Unit tends to get warm

Where to Buy

Warranty

iPower offers a 24-month warranty on this product.

VIVOSUN 600W LED Grow Light


Features

This unit has two built-in cooling fans that promote heat dissipation and is equipped with full-spectrum LEDs that offer optimal coverage. The lights can be used for a maximum of 18 hours per day, and they have a lifespan of 100,000 hours. These lights also offer excellent penetration when installed in tents and greenhouses. Additionally, they come with a composite metal casing that dissipates more heat than regular LEDs, thus increasing the usable life of the product.

Pros

  • Well-built and sturdy construction
  • Doesn’t get too hot
  • Plants respond well to the spectrum

Cons

  • Comparatively quite expensive
  • Slots for hanging the light are a bit small

Where to Buy

Warranty

In addition to a 30-day hassle-free return guarantee, VIVOSUN offers a 3-year warranty on this product.

Hydroplanet 1000W Horticulture Air Cooled Hood Set Grow Lights


Features

Included in this pack are two bulbs that emit light that falls in the horticulture-grade spectrum, a 1000W dimmable ballast that remains cool even under full load, a sturdy fixture with a swing-out framed glass pane, a 24-hour timer, and a ratchet rope. A built-in cooling fan dissipates accumulated heat, and the hood is durable and well-built. The bulbs are best used for flowering and fruiting plants.

Pros

  • Runs smoothly and remains cool
  • Premium quality power cords
  • Easy to install and get it running

Cons

  • Priced quite high
  • Quality control needs to be improved

Where to Buy

Warranty

Hydroplanet offers a 2-year warranty on this product.

Growstar 2000W LED Grow Light


Features

This product delivers a full 12-band spectrum of light that includes red, blue, white, orange, yellow, infrared, and ultraviolet lights. This comprehensive band mimics natural sunlight and promotes the growth of flowering plants. The LEDs are installed in a manner that makes the light more concentrated, thus improving the PAR/lumen output and boosting the harvest capacity. The aluminum panel is designed to include holes, and the glass segment includes gaps. This design keeps the lights cool and extends their lifespan.

Pros

  • Well-designed cooling system
  • Cord helps lower or raise the light
  • Multiple light settings and adjustable intensity

Cons

  • Light tends to get warm
  • Comparatively expensive

Where to Buy

Warranty

In addition to a 30-day satisfaction or return guarantee, Growstar offers a 3-year warranty on this product.

The Verdict

Succulent arrangement

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The LED grow lights from Roleadro are among the finest options for overhead lighting. They’re affordable, effective, and easy to install. Alternatively, if you’re interested in purchasing a portable set of grow lights for indoor plants, the three-headed LED set from Lxyoug is your best bet. It’s adjustable, reasonably priced, easy to fix on sturdy surfaces, and can be adjusted to suit the distance and height that your plants require. If your budget is flexible enough to include higher priced options, the LED grow lights from Philzon and iPower are also great choices to consider.

Broccoli Seeds – Gardening Review

broccoli plants

Broccoli, the vegetable that most people love or hate when it's served up in a meal, has become a favorite plant to cultivate in many vegetable gardens around the United States. It's not hard to understand why since different strains of broccoli can thrive under a wide range of growing conditions and temperatures. If you are considering planting broccoli seeds in your next vegetable rotation, we've selected a few of our favorite broccoli seeds to help you pick the best one for your garden.

About Broccoli and Broccoli Seeds

Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family that's been cultivated in Mediterranean countries since the days of the Roman Empire. Broccoli was introduced to the United States in the 1700s and quickly became a favorite choice for home gardeners because it not only grows quickly, but it also does well in moderate to cold climates. Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable that's high in dietary fiber, an excellent source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K and minerals such as potassium.

Broccoli has evolved well beyond the standard vegetable we are all used to seeing in the supermarket. Broccoli seeds come in a wide range of varieties so there are several factors you need to take under consideration that include: time to maturation, disease resistance, size and shape of the head, and side shoot production. There are also blends of early and mid-season broccoli seeds that will help you extend your growing season. Broccoli seeds can germinate in soil with temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Product Specs  

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If you are planning to plant broccoli seeds in your garden this year, there are several factors you may want to take under consideration before you select the best strain for your climate and garden.
 
Broccoli is primarily a cool weather crop that does not grow well during the hottest days of the mid-summer, so the best times to plant broccoli seeds are from early to late spring and late summer to early fall. Early season strains of broccoli typically mature in 65-80 days while mid-season varieties can take up to 100 days to mature. If you prefer to plant indoors and then transplant your seedlings outside once they're established, assume that you will need about 10-15 days less for the days to maturity printed on the seed packet.

Broccoli requires full sun. Plant your broccoli seeds 1/2" deep in moist, slightly acidic soil and space the plants approximately 12 to 24 inches apart with 36 inches between each row.
 
Some broccoli strains mature in a uniform fashion, which simply means that the main heads will all be ready for harvest around the same time. Non-uniform strains of broccoli grow main heads that mature randomly over a period of several weeks. Most broccoli varieties will continue to produce side shoots if you cut down just the main stalk instead of the entire crown when the plant is ready for harvest. For this reason, many gardeners opt to plant broccoli varieties that are well-known for strong side shoot production after the main harvest.

While broccoli will grow in zones 1-11 here in the United States, the four varieties we have selected for this review will all do best in zones 3-10.

Pricing

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Broccoli seeds are easy to find at your local gardening supply store and also on the internet, at Amazon, or a variety of specialized gardening and seed supply websites. The price for a packet of 500 broccoli seeds normally won't exceed $15, but you should expect to pay slightly more for non-GMO, heirloom, or organic broccoli seeds. We've included a few links to broccoli seeds on Amazon to help you get started selecting the best variety for your next vegetable garden rotation.

How They Compare

We picked several popular varieties of broccoli seeds that are readily available at most online or local gardening supply centers for you to compare.
Again, most of these strains will grow best in zones 3-10 here in the United States.

  • Belstar
  • Calabrese
  • Green Goliath
  • Green Magic

Belstar

belstar broccoli

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Belstar is a disease resistant, heat tolerant broccoli hybrid. Many gardeners like this variety because it grows well throughout the spring, summer, and fall. The mature heads last for over a week on the plant before harvest and once harvested, it continues to produce smaller side shoots for consumption.

Price     

        $$$ 

Belstar is one of the pricier options. A packet of 500 seeds, conventional or organic, will typically cost between $10 and $20 with the organic seeds at the higher end of the price range.

Maturity   

Belstar is a mid-season variety that matures in 65-75 days. Many gardeners are impressed with how rapidly Belstar reaches maturity under the right growing conditions.

Crown Size

Belstar grows tightly packed, medium-sized heads (5" to 7" across) high on the stem.  Belstar will produce strong side shoots after the main harvest so you can continue to enjoy it for several weeks.

Heat Tolerance 

Belstar has a high heat tolerance and is a good selection for spring, summer, and fall plantings. Belstar also grows well in the southern United States during the winter.

PROS

  • High heat tolerance
  • Disease resistant
  • Mature heads hold well on the plant for over a week
  • Grows strong side shoots 
  • Can be planted spring, summer or fall

CONS

  • Heavy feeder that requires richly composted and well-fertilized soil
  • Grows best in organic conditions as it's difficult to wash pesticides and other chemicals off the florets
  • Belstar broccoli seeds are more expensive than the other varieties we reviewed

Calabrese


Calabrese is an heirloom variety of broccoli that originated in Calabria, Italy and is still cultivated there today. Calabrese broccoli grows exceptionally well in zones 3-10 and some gardeners prefer to plant it in the fall because the heads get sweeter in cooler weather. This strain of broccoli seed also has a strong side shoot production after the main head has been harvested.

Price     

        $$$ 

Packets of 500 Calabrese broccoli seeds are available online and at your local garden supply center for less than $10.

Maturity   

Typical maturity times for Calabrese broccoli range from 60-90 days.

Crown Size

Mature heads of Calabrese are medium to large, 6" to 9" across and should be picked before the florets begin to yellow. Calabrese broccoli will continue to produce side shoots for over a month which is a feature that many gardeners enjoy.

Heat Tolerance 

Calabrese grows well in the cooler months and most gardeners recommend that you plant it from early March to late June and again in the early fall. Cooler weather will help the heads grow sweeter.

PROS

  • Produces abundant, sturdy side shoots
  • Non-GMO heirloom variety
  • Thrives in zones 3-10

CONS

  • Typical maturity time is up to 90 days
  • Prefers cooler growing conditions
  • Mature heads are smaller than many other available varieties

Green Goliath


Green Goliath is a hybrid broccoli that was developed to mature quickly and produce non-uniformly. This makes it a very good candidate for smaller garden plots and home gardeners because instead of ripening all at once, the heads mature randomly over a period of up to 3 weeks.

Price     

        $$$ 

Packets of 250 and 500 seeds are available on the internet from $10.00 to $30.00.

Maturity   

Most gardeners report that Green Goliath is typically ready for harvest in approximately 60 days.

Crown Size

Green Goliath produces dense, large 10" to 12" crowns.

Heat Tolerance 

Green Goliath out produces many other varieties of broccoli in mid-summer because it was developed as a heat-resistant strain.

PROS

  • Matures quickly
  • Produces randomly over 3 weeks
  • Continues to produce side shoots after the main harvest

CONS

  • This is a hybrid seed, not an heirloom variety that many home gardeners prefer
  • Tends to have a bitter taste
  • Requires plenty of space between plants

Green Magic


Green Magic is a favorite of many gardeners, not only because it does better than most varieties in warmer weather but also because it produces beautiful, lush, blue-green heads with a sweet, almost buttery flavor

Price     

        $$$ 

The price of Green Magic broccoli seeds on the internet varies pretty wildly from approximately $8.00 for a packet of 1000 seeds to $7.50 for a packet of 100 seeds. Generally, packets of 500 seeds are available in the $5.00 to $10.00 range.

Maturity   

Green magic typically matures in 90 days when it's directly sowed into the garden or about 60 days after transplanting seedlings.

Crown Size

Green magic produces a uniform, medium sized, domed heads that average 7 to 9 inches.  

Heat Tolerance 

Many gardeners praise Green magic for its heat tolerant qualities. The plant continues to produce in higher than average spring and fall temperatures.

PROS

  • Beautifully colored, lush heads
  • Sweet almost buttery taste
  • Highly heat resistant

CONS

  • Seed prices are often inconsistent between different sellers
  • Not as tolerant of cooler weather as other varieties
  • Requires well-prepared, nutrient-rich, low acidic soil

Factors to Consider

Finding the best broccoli variety for your garden depends on a variety of factors but, overall, broccoli is a hardy, disease resistant vegetable that packs lots of nutrition into each plant. Many gardeners plant broccoli because it's a reliable plant that produces well in almost every region of the United States. What kind of strain you select for your vegetable garden will depend on a variety of factors.

  • Sun Exposure
  • Soil Quality
  • Growing Season
  • Growth time from seedling to mature plant
  • Taste preferences

Sun Exposure and Soil Quality

Broccoli needs a minimum of 8 hours of sun to produce a healthy, bountiful harvest, and it grows best in moist, fertile soil that's slightly acidic with pH levels between 6.0 and 6.8. Most experts recommend that you prepare the soil with a thin layer of manure or 2 to 4 inches of compost before you plant your seedlings or direct sow into your garden.

Growing Season

Some varieties of broccoli are very intolerant of hot weather and almost all of them will bolt (flower prematurely and run to seed) in temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, most experts agree that you should avoid planting broccoli after mid-June. The advantage to this, however, is that you can successfully raise two full harvests in many regions of the United States if you plant in late spring and again in the early fall since broccoli will continue to grow well and produce in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Broccoli can survive temperatures that go as low as 26 degrees Fahrenheit with only minor damage to its leaves. In the southern United States, some types of broccoli such as Belstar will do well and produce during the winter months.

Maturity Rates

While there's not a huge disparity in growing times between different varieties of broccoli, it's important to base your selection not only on the climate but also on what time of year you will be transplanting your seedlings or direct sowing seeds. If you've planned carefully and early spring conditions were mild enough for you to get outside and prepare the soil in your garden, you can plant almost any variety of broccoli for harvesting in 60 to 80 days. In northern regions of the United States with shorter growing seasons, most gardeners prefer to plant broccoli that matures rapidly such as Green Goliath or Belstar.

Bitter or Sweet?

Taste is an individual matter and while some folks, like our recently departed and much-beloved ex-President George H. W. Bush, are famously known for hating the taste of broccoli, many of us love nothing better than a fresh pile of steamy, buttered broccoli on our plates. Not all broccoli tastes alike, however,
and even though it's generally described as a bitter vegetable, some kinds are sweeter than others. Of the varieties we've reviewed here in this article, Calabrese and Green Magic have both been praised for their sweetness.

Conclusion

broccoli vegetable

Image via pixabay.com

Overall, we feel that broccoli is a great addition to any garden. Many gardeners love broccoli because it is a dependable, sturdy plant that produces well almost everywhere in the US, and all the varieties we've reviewed rank among the top ten garden favorites. 

Non Gmo Seeds – Gardening Review

Survival Garden 15,000 Heirloom Vegetable Non GMO Seeds

There is considerable debate about whether or not genetically modified or GMO seeds are a positive development. Many people think GMO seeds are a vital step forward for agriculture and others insist on growing their crops using only non GMO seeds.

GMO seeds are seeds which have had their DNA manipulated in a laboratory setting. Though there are significant possibilities with genetic engineering, including making plants resistant to pesticides and incorporating the DNA of species that could not breed as part of a natural process, there are also serious concerns, particularly about the long-term impact on biodiversity and resilience.

What Are Non GMO Seeds?

Survival Garden 15,000 Non GMO Heirloom Vegetable Seeds the Produce

Image from Amazon

Non GMO seeds are seeds that have not been modified using recombinant DNA technology. These seeds have still undergone a modification process through selective breeding to thrive in specific environments and deliver consistent results when grown. Non GMO seeds can be resistant to specific diseases and plants grown with non GMO seeds are often incredibly well adapted to specific regions and conditions.

The variety of non GMO seeds increases biodiversity and helps to make sure that even if some varieties might be vulnerable to a specific threat, other plants will prove resistant and survive.

Heirloom Seeds

Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated seeds that can be used for seed saving. They have been bred to produce consistent plant characteristics at successive plantings.

Hybrid Seeds

Hybrid seeds are crosses between plant varieties in which the characteristics of the first generation of plants from the crossing is predictable. Though these varieties often produce viable seeds, due to the genetic variance between seeds, their seeds will produce variable results if their seeds are used to grow successive generations of plantings. To reliably grow plants the characteristics of the first hybrid generation, you’ll need to purchase seeds each year.

Gardening with Non GMO Seeds

harvesting the produce of non gmo seeds

Image from Pixabay

Gardening with non GMO seeds is different from gardening with GMO seeds in a few critical ways. Perhaps the most important way that non GMO seeds differ from GMO seeds is that they will produce seeds that can be saved. Heirloom varieties of non GMO seeds will produce predictable results for seed saving. Hybrid seeds will not produce consistent results but should produce viable seed.

Many non-GMO seed varieties are specialized for environmental conditions a smaller growing area or resistant to specific types of pests. Careful selection of the variety of non GMO seeds you grow can help to reduce irrigation costs and the need to start plants indoors or otherwise insulate them from the weather. Because certain varieties are resistant to certain pests, you can reduce pest control cost and the risk of infestation by growing non GMO seeds.

Pricing

Non GMO seeds differ in price depending on the quantity and variety of the seed. On the whole, gardening with non-GMO seed is not cost prohibitive, particularly considering the option to save seed to replant the following season or to trade. Because many non-GMO seed varieties are well-suited to specific regions, choosing the right variety might save on irrigation or minimize the need to start indoors or otherwise protect from the elements.

How They Compare

There are several ways to get non GMO seeds. Depending on your location, you may purchase them locally. Some areas also host seed exchanges, where people can trade seeds they have saved. Frequently, people purchase non GMO seeds from an online supplier because of increased selection and convenience. Online suppliers often provide useful information and may also sell books and gardening supplies.

For most of those who grow non GMO seeds, at some point ordering seeds from a company that provides non GMO seeds is likely. We picked a handful of online non GMO seed suppliers to review so that you can see how they compare:

  • Seed Saver’s Exchange
  • Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds or Rare Seeds
  • SeedsNow
  • Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Seed Saver’s Exchange

seedsaversexchange_logo

Seed Saver’s Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving and promoting heirloom varieties of both garden and crop plants. Currently, the Seed Saver’s exchange is the largest nongovernmental seed bank of its kind in the United States. The company focuses both on the long-term preservation of seeds in the seed bank and on making heirloom seeds available for use. They offer a place for growers to exchange seeds and offer a catalog of seeds for purchase.

The Seed Saver’s Exchange website offers a remarkable amount of information, well organized and easy to access. Their online resources include information on gardening and planting, seed starting, plant care, soil, pollinators, seed saving, growing guides, and crop-by-crop guides. Access to the seed saver’s network to exchange seeds is also managed through the website.

The Seed Saver’s Exchange Catalogue offers vegetable, flower, herb, and fruit seeds. There are also some trees and transplants available, including apple trees. The website also offers books, garden tools, and seed saving supplies to assist with growing heirloom plants. Also available for purchase are cooking beans, kitchen supplies, and apparel.

Seed Saver’s Exchange headquarters is located on an 890-acre farm in Iowa. Between March and September, visitors can tour the farm which offers display gardens, a historic orchard, a visitor’s center, a barn that houses heritage poultry breeds, and numerous trails.

Price

Seeds can be a bit more expensive here than other points of comparison, though some of the purchase prices are used to help the non-profit’s preservation and maintenance goals.

Variety

The catalog offerings are not overwhelming, but the ability to order heritage apple trees is a nice addition.

Product Quality

The Seed Saver’s Exchange is dedicated to preserving and maintaining heirloom seed varieties.

Additional Resources

Seeds can be a bit more expensive here than other points of comparison, though some of the purchase prices are used to help the non-profit’s preservation and maintenance goals.

Pros

  • An incredible amount of information available on the website
  • Non GMO seeds
  • Provides a free catalog

Cons

  • Can be a little more expensive than some other options

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds or Rareseeds

rareseeds_logo

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a family-owned business based in California that offers over 1,800 open-pollinated seed varieties originating from more than seventy-five countries. Their selection of seed varieties from the nineteenth century is among the best available. The company hosts festivals and the farm can be visited to see a pioneer village and shop for seeds.

Offerings include fruit, vegetable, grain, herb, and flower seed varieties. In addition to seed, live plants are available, primarily for fruit varieties. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds also offers several seed mixes, books, and gardening tools.

The impressive seed catalog for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds also includes informative articles and recipes. The catalog is available as a PDF, and a free paper copy can be requested. The website offers additional articles, recipes, and growing guides. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds often includes articles about some of the farmers who supply them with seeds.

Price

Prices can run a little higher here in relation to some of the other choices for comparison, particularly for select varieties.

Variety

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds offers a wide range of seeds from around the globe, including a number of heirloom seed varieties dating back to the nineteenth century. In addition to seeds, they offer some live plants.

Product Quality

The company focuses on providing good-quality heirloom seeds. Though not certified organic, the seed provided by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is not chemically treated.

Additional Resources

Both the catalog and website offer informative articles and recipes. The website also provides growing guides.

Pros

  • A wide variety of seeds suited to multiple climates and regions
  • An impressive selection of 19-century heirloom seeds
  • Open-pollinated seeds mean that any seeds you produce can be saved
  • Provides a free catalog
  • Non GMO seeds

Cons

  • Information is plentiful but might take a moment to locate

SeedsNow

seedsnow_logo1

SeedsNow is a family owned and operated company providing open-pollinated herb, flower, fruit, vegetable, grain, and cover crop seeds. Because all seed varieties offered by SeedsNow are open-pollinated seeds that are produced during the growing season can be saved to produce further crops.

SeedsNow has a strong commitment to supplying the resources to help anyone grow their food. Their website offers numerous resources including planting guides, grow zone look-up, growing guides, and an information-packed blog. The seed catalog can be sorted to include only varieties from a single grow zone or to include those who grow best in different lighting conditions. The catalog can also be set to include only seed varieties that grow well under certain conditions, for example, seed varieties suited for indoor growing or hydroponics.

In addition to a variety of seeds, SeedsNow offers an impressive selection of mixed seed packages, seed saving kits, seed banks, seed starting kits, books, and growing supplies. There are some fun offerings and gift ideas, like garden kits that grow from bags or pails.

Price

Seeds are modestly priced, with many seeds having inexpensive packages with smaller numbers of seeds suitable for a trial or a small garden.

Variety

SeedsNow offers an incredible variety of seeds, an impressive selection of planting mixes, and some fun garden kits.

Product Quality

The company puts customer satisfaction first. Customer feedback indicates high satisfaction with shipping and with germination rates.

Additional Resources

Their website has a wealth of information, though the presentation can be a little overwhelming. There are many resources to help locate your grow zone, pick plants that will thrive in your location, and determine the best planting times.

Pros

  • Significant information available to help gardeners
  • Catalog can be sorted into helpful categories to show only relevant seed varieties
  • All seed varieties are and open-pollinated so that seeds produced can be saved
  • Non GMO seeds

Cons

  • The website experience could be a little less chaotic

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

southernexposure_logo

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is a worker-run cooperative that offers more than seven hundred varieties of seeds. The company is located on a 72-acre farm in Virginia, where they cultivate for seed production, seed trials, and for food. More than sixty percent of seed production for the company is done by small farmers with direct relationships with the company. More than sixty percent of the seed varieties offered for sale are organic.

To maximize long-term viability, seed storage areas at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange are air-conditioned, refrigerated, or frozen as appropriate to maintain seed quality. Seed germination is tested and meets or exceeds federal and company germination standards. For some seed varieties, the company sets higher standards than the federal standards.

Seed offerings include vegetable, flower, herb, grain, and cover crop seeds. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange focuses on seed varieties that grow in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast areas of the United States. An excellent option for those looking for unique or hard-to-locate southern heirloom seed varieties, they offer naturally colored cotton and southern cooking staples like collard greens, corn for roasting or meal-making, okra, southern peas, and butterbeans.

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange offers several seed variety packages, including packages for attracting beneficial insects, packages for attracting pollinators, various vegetable, and greens variety mixes, and a Virginia heritage-focused package. In addition to seeds, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange offers mushroom spawn, books and DVDs, garden supplies, and seed saving supplies.

Price

Seeds are modestly priced.

Variety

The company focuses on seeds that grow in limited geographical regions of the United States, but some varieties can be grown successfully outside those locations. The company can offer rare varieties particular to the area.

Product Quality

Great care is taken in the seed storage process to provide seeds with long-term viability. Seed germination rates meet or exceed federal germination standards, and the company elects to set higher germination standards for some varieties.

Additional Resources

The website offers a seed catalog and garden guide, garden planner, and growing guides. A free copy of the seed catalog and garden guide can be requested in print.

Pros

  • Offers unique varieties that may be difficult to locate elsewhere
  • Great seed source for those growing in the Mid-Atlantic or Southeast
  • Worker-run cooperative
  • Supports small farms
  • Non GMO seeds

Cons

  • Outside of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, some seed varieties may not grow as well

Conclusion

Growing non GMO seeds is a rewarding experience. Not only will you be able to grow unique plants, but you’ll also be preserving biodiversity and helping to maintain food security. You’ll be able to incorporate stunning and unexpected flowers into your garden and serve vegetables of uncommon color at dinner parties. The best choice of where to purchase non GMO seeds will vary based on your specific growing interests.

Growers who focus on rare heirloom seed varieties may make choices based on the availability of the rarer options. Though some types of non-GMO seed are available from multiple vendors, those searching for a rare heirloom variety may find one vendor option with that seed currently available. For those interested in locating rare varieties for sale, the Seed Saver’s Exchange and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds would be good options.

For those who have an online supplier that focuses on their geographic region, the increased selection of local varieties may make a more geographically specialized provider more advantageous. In the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange would be an excellent option.

Those who are looking for smaller quantities of seed and ready-to-grow packages would be well served to try SeedsNow. There is an impressive selection as far as seed variety and a considerable offering of plants that can be grown from provided bags and containers. This site would also be advantageous to anyone who wanted to make use of the filters to assist with plant selection by agricultural grow zone, amount of sunlight, or for special considerations like indoor or hydroponic gardening.

Featured Image from Amazon

Seed Starter Trays Gardening Review

Seed Starter Trays

It is quite remarkable how tiny seeds contain all the necessary information to unfold into a fully grown plant. Inside of the tiny package of a nut, seed, or a spore is a whole potential organism capable of producing seeds of its own. The cycle is beautiful and mystifying as any seasoned gardener will tell you. But, what if you are just starting off on your gardening adventure? How can you enjoy the fruits of the plant world’s life cycle, even if you don’t exactly have two green thumbs? One of the best ways is to equip yourself with some seed starter trays.

Seed starter trays offer a great way to get involved with the world of leafy green things nearly right away. It is true that nature will propagate its seeds with or without human intervention, so you don't have to purchase a technological entryway in order to appreciate the world’s flora. However, for reliable, predictable, and fruitful results, it often helps to use a seed starter tray.

Why The Internet Loves Seed Starter Trays

You can save yourself the effort of hoeing soil and walking the rows scattering handfuls of baby plants like you are Johnny Appleseed. You can purchase a seed starter tray that will carve off hours of labor and streamline your efforts into results that you can appreciate. If you are transporting plants from a nursery to a garden as they age, then using starter pots for transport is nearly imperative.

A garden is proof of your ability to manage and care for the world around you. People look upon those with green thumbs as the epitome of having it all together. You can easily become one of those people, and a seed starter tray can smooth the course of that path. However, as you surely know, not all seed starter trays are created equal.

We combed the internet for the best seed starter trays that are currently offered. Some we found produced much more favorable results than the other options. And boy, how many options! The internet makes finding information on seed starter trays easy, but the options can leave you feeling drowned. Luckily, our research led us to conclude that the Jolly Grow Seed Starter Peat Pots Kit was the best version of the seed starter tray for its money.

We’ll directly compare the Jolly Grow Seed Starter Peat Pots Kit with the top members of its competition to allow you to see how we came to this decision.

What Is The Jolly Grow Seed Starter Peat Pots Kit?

The Jolly Grow Seed Starter Peat Pots Kit is a collection of 50 seed starter cells with 10 plastic markers. These cells, or starter pots, are biodegradable, and each one measures 1.75″ square and 2″ deep. Each peat pot kit also comes with 5 germination trays with 10 cells in each, meaning, you can start a lot of plants with this kit. Since the materials for the pots are entirely biodegradable, they are perfect for starting your growth of seeds, seedlings, vegetables, plants, and flowers.

Using the starter pots to transport plants from a nursery to a garden can help to eliminate transplant shock or the reversal of a plant’s health after moving locations.   One of the best features of this product that similar products did not offer is its stellar guarantee. Jolly Grow offers a “no hassle” 100% guarantee refund policy. That means, if you do not like the item, you can simply return it for a full refund. (Without hassle!)  

How Do You Use A Seed Starter Tray?

There’s no single way to use a seed starter tray. You can use it to grow seeds into seedlings or to transport seedlings from nurseries to other parts of your greenhouse or garden. You can use them to provide extra nutrients for plants that you ultimately want to outgrow the box, so you can plant their roots throughout your garden.

However, the basic procedure for a seed starter tray goes as follows: First, you load up the strips with potting soil and water them thoroughly. Then you sow the seed or plant the cutting into the pot. Next, position the pot in a bright place. Make sure that you avoid frost exposure. Gradually introduce your plant to the sun, more and more. Water the plant based on the plant’s requirements. Try not to over-water the plant or let them dry out.

When the seedling develops to the point where it needs to move, transplant the individual pots directly into the ground. Cover the pots with soil to protect the sensitive root system of your plant which will help to develop them into strong individuals further down the line.

Please take note that because the pots are biodegradable by design, they can disintegrate if they get too wet or are over-watered. If you don’t want the pot to fall apart, then you should gravitate towards a spray bottle for watering instead of a traditional watering can.

Product Specs

seed tray on the lawn

Image via Pixabay,com

The Jolly Grow Seed Starter Tray measures 10 inches by 4 inches by 2 inches overall. The whole thing weighs about 6.4 ounces. The materials used are entirely biodegradable with the exception of the plastic flags that are used to mark, name, and designated plants. You receive 50 cells in total.

Pricing

red best price tag

Image via Pixabay.com

This product can be purchased on Amazon for around $$, although this item is known to go on sale quite often. Sometimes, you can find it for as low as $ if you are especially lucky. Its competition can easily ask twice as much for essentially the same features. You won't always be able to find it on sale, but a few deals usually sprout up on these seed starter trays around Christmas time.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

Seed Starter Peat Pots Kit | Germination Seedling Trays are...

Price

$

Material Quality

Biodegradable material is good for the environment. It generally stays together as well as you’d want it to, as long as you do not over-water the plants. Over-watering can easily lead to the disintegration of the biodegradable parts of the kit.

Assembly

Assembly couldn’t be easier than it is with this kit! Comes with everything you need, short of someone to grow the plants for you.

Design Quality

We found the design quality of what Jolly Grow offered to be much above average.

Performance

Five-star performance for this seed starter tray. This sets the standard for the upper limit of quality.

Durability

You don’t always want your pots to stay together. Sometimes you want them to disintegrate into your soil. Other times it is frustrating to worry about over-watering your plants.

PROS

  • Price   
  • Can start many plants
  • High growth performance

CONS

  • Pots can disintegrate from over-watering 
  • Crucial to avoid frost

Sale
Seed Starter Peat Pots Kit | Germination Seedling Trays are...
  • SEED STARTER POTS - these starter trays are biodegradable. Each cell is 1.75" square and 2" deep, overall 4"W by 10"L
  • INCLUDED - each peat pot kit includes 5 germination trays with 10 cells in each(50 Total) AND 10 plastic plant markers -...
  • ALL NATURAL - biodegradable and perfect for Seeds, Seedlings, Vegetables, Plants, and Flowers these natural pots allow...

This seed starter tray kit gives reliable results with high performance; it has all the features that you could want or need. It has professional quality components and is mid-priced for such a great product.

Price

$$

Material Quality

The material quality is about what you would think of as average for these products. If you are looking for super high-end components,  you may need to purchase those separately.

Assembly

The setup with this kit is fairly easy, but a bit beyond beginner as it has so many parts.

Design Quality

The design quality is great. The package comes with everything you need and a few things you probably have not thought of yet.

Performance

If you want to grow some seeds, then this is the kit for you! It has high performance across the board.

Durability

Durability is lower than some other options. Down the line, you may need to replace some of these parts.

PROS

  • Great performance
  • Wonderful features
  • High rating

CONS

  • Durability 
  • Warranty 

These seed starter trays are super easy to use with high scores on quality and quantity or yield. The only real drawback is the possible necessity of purchasing companion pieces to start your grow. For example, for some seeds, you might need a heat lamp or a heating pad, additional ventilation, etc.

Price

$

The price is low and great for a seed starter tray. This is a perfect product for beginners and experts alike. For the price, you cannot beat the quality.

Material Quality

The quality is great for these seed starter trays. No other searching required to find the perfect seed starter tray. However, this will not biodegrade so it is not as high quality as other options on our list. It is, however, still one of our top choices because you will not need to repurchase this product yearly.

Assembly

Almost no setup required on these seed starter trays. If you live in a warm climate, you won’t even need to purchase additional gear to incubate your little seeds to saplings.

Design Quality

Intuitive design keeps this seed starter on top of the competition. It is easy to use and easy to maintain. You can keep these seed starter trays forever.

Performance

High performance in every aspect. However, this seed starter is especially high in quantity yielded.

Durability

The durability is lower than some other options on the market. However, it is still worth buying due to the low price. You get a lot of bang for your buck.

PROS

  • Price, price, price
  • Performance is high
  • Design quality and assembly 

CONS

  • Durability 
  • May need to purchase other equipment 

Peat Pot Seedling Starter Trays | Seed Germination Kit - Organic...

Daniel's seed starter trays are great for starting or restarting your garden. They are perfect for saplings and such. They even prevent transplant shock because they promote aeration and are eco-friendly! The pots in these seed starter trays are 100% biodegradable. There is no risk at all.

No assembly, low cost, high quality, and good design all on top of great ethics, this might be the best product on our list in terms of your conscience and your wallet. It deserves more than an honorable mention.

Price

$

The price is great for both the quality and quantity of the product. You get more trays than you can use in a day, and they are everything plus a bag of chips. In other words, these have all the eco-friendly bells and whistles.

Material Quality

Above and beyond the call of duty, this product is eco-friendly and biodegradable, which is more than we can say for most other options on the market at this point in time. If you love the planet, then this might be the best option for your green thumb.

Assembly

The assembly time didn’t knock us off our feet but also did not disappoint.

Design Quality

We’d call these above average in terms of their composition, but not necessarily the top of the line.

Performance