Seed Germination Length of Time Posted on 10 Dec 16:22 , 2 comments

We are working on adding more helpful, seed specific articles to our planting guides.  Different seeds sometimes require different environments  for optimal germination.

For germination techniques, check out The Wonder of Seeds and Germination.

In this tutorial, we are sharing the germination times for different seed varieties under optimal conditions.


Amaranth: 4-10 days

Artichoke: 10-21 days

Asparagus: 21-28 days

Beans: 8-10 days

Beets: 5-8 days to

Broccoli: 10-14 days

Brussels Sprouts: 5-12 days

Cabbage: 5-8 days

Carrots: 14-21 days (or more)

Cauliflower: 10-14 days

Celery: 14-21 days

Chard: 7-14 days

Collards: 5-10 days

Corn: 5-14 days

Cucumber: 3-10 days

Eggplant: 7-14 days

Endive: 14-21 days

Gourd: 7-30 days

Kale: 5-10 days

Kohlrabi: 3-10 days

Lettuce: 5-14 days to germinate

Leek: 10-14 days

Mustard: 5-10 days

Okra: 2-14 days to germinate

Onion: 4-10 days to germinate

Orach: 7-14 days

Parsnips: 14-21 days

Peas: 7-21 days to germinate

Peppers: 7-21 days to germinate

SUPER HOTS may take longer: 21 days or even 28 days

Pumpkin: 5-10 days to germinate

Purslane: 7-10 days

Quinoa: 4-10 days

Radicchio: 5-10 days

Radish: 3-7 days to germinate

Rhubarb: 7-14 days

Rutabaga: 4-7 days

Squash/Zucchini: 7-10 days to germinate

Spinach: 7-14 days to germinate

Tomatillo & Ground Cherry: 7-10 days to germinate

Tomato: 7-14 days to germinate

Turnip: 3-10 days


Borage: 5-14 days

Cornflower: 7-10 days

Marigold: 3-14 days

Nasturtium: 10-14 days

Sunflower: 6-10 days


Melon: 4-10 days

Strawberry: 7 days to 4 weeks

Watermelon: 3-10 days


This list will continue to GROW as we add more varieties.


If you're not sure what to plant of when to plant in your region, we have our
which is packed with helpful planting guides, tutorials and DIY garden projects

If you have specific garden or seed related questions, please contact us via email at MARY@MARYSHEIRLOOMSEEDS.COM
Happy Planting!

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The Wonder of Seeds and Germination Posted on 26 Oct 19:12 , 8 comments

Growing food from seeds is AMAZING.  It is truly an awe inspiring experience.  These tiny seeds can grow to be huge plants, sometimes producing hundreds of pounds of food. Sometimes those tiny seeds grow a beautiful radish or flower.



Understanding Seed Germination

When you decide to grow from seed, you'll need to decide if you're going to start indoors or outside. In this article, we will explain the process of seed germination as well as indoor/outdoor seed starting requirements. We also have a tip using Cinnamon!

But first, what is germination?

In simple terms, it is the process of a seed developing into a plant. Germination usually occurs below ground, before the stem and leaves appear above the soil.

All fully developed seeds contain three basic parts, the embryo, endosperm and seed coat.

The embryo is the part of the seed that develops into a plant. It contains the embryonic root (radical), embryonic stem (epicotyl and hypocotyl), and one or two seed leaves (cotyledons).

The endosperm contains the starch or stored energy for the developing embryo and is the largest part of the seed, packed around the embryo.

The seed coat is the outer layer that protects the seed’s internal structures.

In order for a seed to germinate, there are a few important factors: Water, oxygen and proper temperature.


Water is one of the vital elements when starting plants from seed. Too much water and your seeds will drown or rot. Too little and they will either fail to germinate or die once they do.

When a seed is exposed to the proper conditions, water and oxygen are absorbed through the seed coat and cause the embryo cells to enlarge. If there is not enough oxygen present, germination may not occur. The most common reason for a lack of oxygen is too much water in the soil due to over-watering or flooding.

Temperature is a bit trickier. Temperature requirements vary between species, but the general guide is between 68 F and 86 F, but 77°F is optimum.

Sometimes, it's not just as simple as sticking a seed into the ground.

Planting depth matters!

Seed sowing depth has a key role to play in germination. If you plant seeds too deep, they may fail to germinate. Alternatively, if you plant them too shallow, you could expose tender roots at germination, or the seeds could even wash away entirely.

The general rule for seeds is two or three times as deep as the seed’s diameter. That means those tiny seeds can often be surface sown while those giant beans need to plant planted plenty deep.

We have several articles and videos about seed starting (posted below).  Some seeds need light, others need darkness.  Some seeds do better with a 12-24 hour soaking and some require cold stratification or scarification.

Cold stratification is an extremely easy process and once you’ve done it once, you’ll no doubt get the hang of it. The time you need to keep your seeds in the refrigerator depends on the variety, but 4-5 weeks should be a sufficient amount of time for most seed varieties.

Once there’s no more chance of frost in your area, take your seeds out of the fridge and plant as normal. The simple, quick process of cold stratification helps the seed germinate quicker and grow more readily in your garden bed.


DIY Cold Stratification

Coconut Coir or Sand & Water

  1. Place a 1/4 cup of coconut coir sand (or more) in a mixing bowl. Slowly add water until you can form a ball with the sand/water mixture.
  2. Add your desired seed amount to the sand. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Place sand/seed mixture in a ziploc bag or container and seal.
  4. Label the variety and date clearly on the bag.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks before planting. If seedlings start to sprout in the bag in the refrigerator, remove immediately and either plant in the ground or in pots until it’s time to plant outdoors.


Seeds That Benefit from Soaking in Water include:

asparagus, beans, carrots, corn, okra, parsley, peas, pumpkins, squash, beet and Swiss chard seeds

Seeds That Germinate in Cool Soil include:

arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, garden cress, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsley, parsnip, peas, radish, spinach, and turnips


-Quality seeds
-Growing medium



If you read our online reviews on our website and social media, you'll see that customers report very successful germination rates with Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  If you're not sure about growing a certain variety in your area, we are just an email away and we're happy to answer your seed or garden related questions.


Growing Medium

If you are starting seeds indoors or in containers, it is recommended to use "sterile" seed starting mix or soilless medium such as coconut coir mixed with perlite.

A good seed starting medium should be fine, uniform, well aerated, and loosely packed. It also needs to be free of insects, disease organisms, and weed seeds.


As we mention above, too much water can reduce oxygen levels and kill your seeds.  Not enough water can cause developing seeds/seedlings to shrivel up and die before they reach the surface.

Keep your soil/medium moist but not waterlogged.


Temperature was also mentioned above.  If you are starting seeds indoors, there are several options to warm up your soil: above the refrigerator, in a greenhouse (preferably heated) or a heating mat.


This is an important factor.  While some seeds need light and others need darkness to germinate, plants NEED light.  When your tiny seedlings begin to emerge, they will need a light source.  If you are starting seeds indoors, it is best to use a grow light or something similar that is very close to your seedlings.

The type of light you use will determine how close it needs to be to your plants.  In general, a florescent should be 10-12 inches away, while an LED should be 24-36 inches away.  These are just general recommendations.

If you use a sunny windowsill indoors, seedlings often become "leggy" and not very strong.  Rotating them daily and using a fan on low can help.


Remember how I mentioned Cinnamon?

Damping off is a soil-borne fungal disease that affects seeds and new seedlings. Several fungi can cause decay of seeds and seedlings including species of rhizoctonia, fusarium and phytophthora. 

The most common way damping off will present itself is when your plant stalks become water-soaked, thin and mushy, and fall over at the base and die.

The seedlings, especially the cotyledons (the first leaves produced) may have a kind of gray-brown color, and young leaves will wilt and turn from green-gray to brown.

There is no cure for plants that already have damping off. However, you can easily prevent the problem by providing good air circulation

Cinnamon is a natural anti-bacterial and is often used as a rooting hormone.  Bonus, it's delicious and most of us have a bottle or two in our kitchen cabinet.

Once your seeds are planted, gently sprinkle cinnamon over the surface.  If you are starting seeds in trays, be sure to "bottom water" and don't over-water.


My best advice is to plant more seeds than you think you will need. Some will be eaten by bugs, some might not make it after transplant ans some may not thrive.  The remaining seedlings might feed you for years to come.  Have patience, plant seeds and enjoy the experience!












If you have specific garden or seed related questions, please contact us via email at MARY@MARYSHEIRLOOMSEEDS.COM
Happy Planting!

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Growing Basil from Seed to Harvest Posted on 3 Jul 14:22 , 2 comments

Basil is a favorite for most home gardeners and homesteaders.  It's easy to grow and usually prolific.  At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, we offer quite a few unique varieties such as Dark Purple Opal Basil, Thai Holy Basil and even Lemon Basil.

Seed Starting Basics

Sow Basil seeds indoors 2-4 weeks before your last frost day OR sow seeds outside when soil is warm and temperatures do not drop below 65 F during the day.  Seeds should be sown less than 1/4 inch deep in moist, well-drained soil.

Basil seeds usually germinate in as few as 5-7 days.  Make successive sowings of basil seeds for continuous summer harvests.

Licorice Basil


Caring for Basil

From seed to harvest, Basil is ready in as few as 45 days.  Basil can grow in full sun as as little as 6 hours of sun. Space Basil plants about 12 inches apart or interplant basil between larger plants such as Tomatoes and Peppers.

Water basil when soil is dry to the touch and try to water soil and not leaves.  In warmer months, Basil will need more water.

Basil is pretty pest tolerant but you might see the occasional flea beetle marks or leaf miners.  Aphids can usually be sprayed of with a water hose.


Dark Purple Opal Basil grown in a container


Companion Planting with Basil

Plant with tomatoes, peppers, squash, oregano, asparagus and other herbs.  Basil can be planted with just about every veggie.

Basil is said to repel thrips, flies and mosquitoes.

Thai Holy Basil


One healthy, well pruned Basil plant can produce around 1/2 cup of leaves every week.  If you're limited on space, there are even dwarf varieties such as Dwarf Greek Basil.

Once mature, harvest basil leaves regularly to promote healthy growth.  It is usually recommended to harvest from the top of the plant, using scissors or fingernails.  Try to cut as close to the stem as possible.

Pinching off flowers is recommended to keep a continuous harvest all summer long.  Flowering is also called "bolting" and the plant will put forth more energy for flower production.  If you wish to save the seeds, allow your plants to bolt.


Ready for Recipes?

BASIL LEMONADE (text version




Homegrown Basil Walnut Pesto

Grilled Eggplant with Fresh Basil


If you have specific garden or seed related questions, please contact us via email at MARY@MARYSHEIRLOOMSEEDS.COM
Happy Planting!

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Seed Starting Basics Posted on 13 Feb 17:12 , 0 comments

We offer several articles with our own tips & tricks to seed starting but this one is a bit more in-depth.  We start planning and prepping for seed starting when it's still chilly outside.


I like to use Coconut Coir for seed starting.  It's easy to use and less acidic than peat moss.  Seeds do not need any fertilizer in the beginning stages so it is best not to use compost or treated soil for seed germination.

I highly recommend our article Seed Starting with Coconut Coir Pellets

We also have a video

Coconut Coir Pellets or 6 Cell Germination trays work well for seed starting.  Use garden markers to label the seeds you've planted.  I hear from SO many gardeners that they forgot to label or lost their labels and they don't know what they planted!

We recently posted 2 video to help you get started

Sowing depth varies, depending on the germination needs of the plant, but generally most seeds are sown at a depth about twice their width. Some seeds require light to germinate and so require sowing on the soil surface. Once depth is determined, sow one to two seeds per pot and mist the soil surface with water so it's evenly moist.

Most seeds germinate best at temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  Watering when the soil surface feels dry is sufficient, but empty any collected water from the drip tray within 30 minutes of irrigation to prevent soggy soil.



Some seedlings may have to be transplanted into larger pots to give them room to grow and develop their root systems. Handle the baby plants gently by their leaves, not stems or roots, and try to keep the tiny rootballs intact as you move plants to their new pots.

When watering seeds, I use either a spray bottle to moisten the soil or pour water into the reservoir so the soil wicks up the water.  Heavy-handed pouring can displace tiny seeds so it is best to use caution.

Kathryn at Little Bits of Heaven homestead mentioned her secret to avoid "dampening off" in her video Starting the Summer Garden & Cheap Seed Organization and it's cinnamon!  We use Cinnamon as well and it definitely helps.

Check on your plants once a day

Harden off your seedlings prior to transplanting outdoors.  Not sure how, we have an article  Hardening Off Seedlings

If you'd like to check out our very first video on seed starting, it's also on our youtube channel

If you have additional questions please give us a call or email

Happy Planting!

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Cool Weather Crops Posted on 16 Apr 20:13 , 0 comments

It's been a bit chillier than normal so we're still able to plant a few more cool weather crops before it warms up.

Heirloom Radish is a favorite around here so we've added a few to our 99 Cent Seed pack sale!


Artichoke- plant in late fall or early spring.  Artichoke is a perennial so plant in a place you intend to keep for several years.

Arugula: 40-50 days

Asparagus - Seeds can take awhile to germinate so have patience.  Asparagus is a perennial so plant in a place you tend to keep for up to 20 years

Broccoli: 50-100 days. Tips:  The leaves of the broccoli plant are also edible.  Cook them up just like you would spinach or swiss chard.  Livestock enjoy broccoli leaves as well.

Brussels Sprouts: 90-100 days

Cabbage: 75-110 days

Chinese Cabbage: 21-75 days to harvest.  Also called Pak Choy or Bok Choy

Cauliflower: 80 days.  Too-high temperature can prevent head formation

Celery: 110-120 days

Cilantro: 30+ days.  An excellent option for a kitchen herb garden

Kale: 55-80 days.  Kale can continue to grow into warmer days.  Lacinato Kale is known to grow in warmer climates such as Florida, Texas and South America

Kohlrabi: 55-60 days

Leeks: 110 days

Lettuce: 25-60 days.  Lettuce is a great option for just about any time of the year!

Bunching Onions: 60-80 days

Snap Peas: 55-70 days

RADISH: 23-70 days.  Most radish varieties mature in as few as 30 days and are very easy to grow

Swiss Chard: 60 days.  Swiss Chard can grow in cool and warm temperatures.  It's a great crop to add to your food garden because it  can offer a continual harvest of 6 months or more

Spinach: 50 days

TURNIPS: 50-70 days.  I Love turnips!  The leaves are edible or feed them to livestock.  I use them instead of potatoes to make "home fries."

I hope you have enjoyed another educational article.  If you have additional questions, please leave a comment below or send an email to

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SPRING STARTER EXTRAVAGANZA Posted on 29 Mar 19:15 , 1 comment

It's officially SPRING and we're excited to help you grow a fabulous garden!

To help you get started we have a few amazing deals this week.

First is our 99 CENT SEED PACK COLLECTION.  You'll find regular every-day deals as well as limited-time offers on our 99 Cent Seed Packs page.

Don't miss out on these Yellow Pear Tomatoes

*SALE on starter kits thru April 5th*




Each kit includes:

-Seeds: Butterfly Weed, Plains Coreopsis, Echinacea Purpurea, Marigold and Lacy Phacelia

-20 coconut Coir Pellets

-Plant Markers

-Sowing and Growing Tips included



Each stater kit includes:


-12 Coconut Coir Pellets

-Plant Markers



-Basic planting instructions with detailed instructions available on our GROWING TIPS & VIDEOS page




Each kit includes

-Seeds: Speckled lettuce, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Tom Thumb Lettuce, Endive and Arugula

-20 coconut Coir Pellets

-Plant Markers

-Sowing and Growing Tips included




This is a great starter kit for your Kitchen Herb Garden.  Includes a full-pack of the following varieties: Genovese Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Oregano, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme

STARTER PACK option includes 24 coconut coir pellets, 7 plant markers and Garden Tools set



We're raising chickens here at Mary's Heirloom Seeds and growing extras for our birds.  Supplementing fresh, homegrown veggies and grains for our chickens is not only super healthy but it can also save a bunch on your feed bill!

This Combo pack includes:

2 ounces of Reid's Yellow Corn - Perfect for cracked or whole corn.  An excellent storage corn that produces loads of high protein kernels.  The staple of any scratch recipe. 

2 ounces of German Golden Millet - Easily cut and hung up in the garage for later use.  We tie these sprays of millet together, hang in the barn and throw the entire spray to the the chickens when we need it.  No need to thresh, and the chickens love it.

2 packs of Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard - huge chard perfect for poultry greens, which are absolutely vital to good growth, egg production, chick development and health.

2 packs of Connecticut Field Pumpkin

3 packs of Black Oil Sunflower - Large Sunflowers produces lots of seeds. High in oil, this seed is very beneficial to birds in every season.

*Includes Free Shipping on this pack*



Includes One packet of each:
   -Brandywine Tomato
   -Jalapeno Pepper
   -Ancho Poblano Pepper
   -Red Burgundy Onion


Make wonderful homemade Pizza fresh from the garden!
 One packet of each.  Includes:
   -Thessaloniki Tomato
   -Cal Wonder Bell Pepper
Option 1: Seeds only
Option 2: Starter Kit
Starter kit Includes 16 starter pellets, plant markers and 2 garden tools




You choose the seed combination using the drop down menu.

Each starter kit includes:


-8 Coconut Coir Pellets

-Re-Usable seed starter container

-Basic planting instructions with detailed instructions available on our GROWING TIPS & VIDEOS page



Includes SEEDS from Mary's Garden Pack.  Over the years I've tried new varieties in my garden.  This seed combo pack includes many of my favorites!
Includes One packet of each:
-Amana's Orange Tomato                
-German Giant Radish
-Anaheim Pepper                               -Detroit Dark Red Beet
-Jalapeno Pepper                               -Tom Thumb Lettuce
-Blue Lake Bush Bean                       -Purple-Top Whiteglobe Turnip
-5-Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard       -National Pickling Cucumber   

Companion Seeds: Borage, Nasturtium, Marigold Basil

Choose from 50 or 100 coconut coir pellets

10 plant markers

2 ounces Organic Neem Oil

1 pound Mary's Organic Plant Food

1 pound Azomite






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Starter Kits & Seed Combo Packs SALE Posted on 9 Nov 07:06 , 0 comments

Mary's Heirloom Seeds
Quick Links
Join Our List
Growing Tips, Tutorials & Videos   
November 8, 2016

All over the radio and around I'm seeing advertising for Black Friday sales and a few of my friends have asked if we're having one as well.
Well, the answer is NO...and YES!

This year, we're spending time with our families and not stuck behind a computer. 
Thursday we'll all get together at my sister's house and Friday I'm spending the day with my Dad, behind the counter at his retail shop.

We're starting a Sale TODAY that will run
thru Sunday, November 27th
*While Supplies last* 

Before we get to the Seed Sale, just a quick reminder. Our Gardens Fundraiser is going thru Dec 19th. We've added more items.
Check back often for more NEW Items and
Thank You for helping us help others!
SALE Ends November 27th
*Click the Images for complete details*

We've added Organic Plant Food samplers to 3 of our Combo Packs/Starter Kits AND they're On Sale!
(Bonus Plant food included)
(HUGE savings)
(Plant food available)
ALL of the Combo Packs and Starter Kits listed here are ON SALE NOW!

Sprout Jar
(Includes instructions)


The 6 Month SUPER Membership includes 8 seeds packs the first month and 2 seed packs each month for a total of 6 months. *Plus 4 packs of Organic Wildflowers* 

(That's Amelia, one of our chickens)
(Only 6 left)

If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 


Happy Planting,


Mary's Heirloom Seeds, P. O. Box 3763, Ramona, CA 92065

Mary's Garden Gift Guide Posted on 6 Nov 20:18 , 0 comments

Most of the items in our Garden Gift Guide are ON SALE thru November 27th!

You'll find complete details on our


Mary's Heirloom Seeds
Quick Links
Join Our List

November 6, 2017

Quite a few of our customers have asked for "kits" to make growing easier.  These kits make GREAT gifts for family, friends and co-workers!
was a huge hit with family and friends!

If you're looking for fun and unique garden gifts, Mary's heirloom Seeds has a few cool items! 

Mary's Garden Gifts
Under $20   

Make wonderful homemade salsa fresh from the garden!
One packet of each. 
Includes: Thessaloniki Tomato, Jalapeno Pepper, Anaheim Pepper, Red Burgundy Onion & Cilantro

Includes 6 varieties of individually packed Wildflower seeds. NEW Seeds for this combo pack!
French Marigold, Bachelor Button, Butterfly Garden, Queen Anne's Lace, Yarrow, Zinnia Mix   
Includes 6 varieties of individually packed EDIBLE Flower varieties!
A unique mix of medicinal herbs and companion plant! 
Borage, Calendula, Nasturtium, Purple Coneflower (Echinacea), Plains Coreopsis & Yarrow 
Over 700 Seeds!!  SAVE on GREENS when you purchase our combo pack!

If you love the sweet, juiciness of homegrown, heirloom tomatoes then we have a very special combo pack for you!   This combo pack includes
6 varieties of heirloom, organic tomato seeds. 
All individually packed, regular size seed packs.

It is an amazing experience to learn new things!
Each kit includes
Seeds: Speckled lettuce, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Tom Thumb Lettuce, Endive and Arugula
20 coconut Coir Pellets
Plant Markers
Sowing and Growing Tips included

It is an amazing experience to learn new things!
Each kit includes
Seeds: Butterfly Weed, Plains Coreopsis, Echinacea Purpurea, Marigold and Lacy Phacelia
20 coconut Coir Pellets
Plant Markers
Sowing and Growing Tips included

Each stater kit includes:
SEEDS (You choose)
-12 Coconut Coir Pellets
Plant Markers


Another request from our inquiry was starter packs for beginners.  We have offer several options and now we've added one more!
EACH kit includes one packet of Borage, Marigold, Genovese Basil and Nasturtium as well as your choice of the following Vegetable
Squash: Black Beauty Zucchini
Pepper: Cal Wonder
Eggplant: Black Beauty
-24 Coconut Coir Pellets
-Plant Markers

We also offer 3 Florida-Specific Combo Packs
The Florida packs are seeds only combos.  If you're just getting started, I would also recommend Coconut Coir Pellets and Organic Soil Amendments

2 of our most popular and beneficial combo packs:
 A few of our favorites: 
 For those of you just getting started and looking for guidance, we have created a special "kit" just for you.  This starter pack includes PRINTED instructions from some of our more popular articles and tutorials as well as seeds, germination supplies, organic pest control and organic soil amendments
An excellent starter pack!  Includes 10 varieties of organic, non-GMO seeds (25 seeds per pack), Coconut Coir seed starting pellets,  Plant Markers, organic plant food and detailed growing instructions
Organic, Heirloom, Non-GMO Seeds: St. Valery Carrot, Tom Thumb Lettuce, Roma Tomato, Black Beauty Eggplant, Blue Lake Bush Beans, New Jersey Wakefield Cabbage, National Pickling Cucumber, Early Scarlet Globe Radish, Yellow of Parma Onion and Black Beauty Zucchini
8 ounces Organic Plant Food 3-4-4
Options: 24 Coconut Coir Pellets OR 50 Coconut Coir Pellets
A more recent addition to our combo packs includes our homesteader packs!




Looking for DEALS on plant food? 
*Click the image or blue text for complete details*


COMBO: DIY Liquid Mix 
Combo pack of organic, essential minerals for healthy soil, strong plants and good yields. ***Individually packed***
These 4 varieties of organic soil amendments make up our   
DIY Organic Liquid Fertilizer Mix


If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 


Happy Planting,


Mary's Heirloom Seeds, P. O. Box 3763, Ramona, CA 92065

Seed Starting with Coconut Coir Pellets Posted on 25 Feb 07:31 , 4 comments

We've shared about Using Coconut Coir in the Garden here in several articles but we've had quite a bit of questions.  Today we're going a bit more in-depth.
First, Why do we use Coconut Coir instead of Peat?

Coconut coir growing medium comes from the coconut's fibrous husk (known as coir) that is bound together by lignin (known as pith). After the husk is immersed in water for 6 weeks, the fiber is extracted mechanically, and the pith is left behind as a waste product and stored in heaps to age. Since the pith comes from the fruit, it is quite naturally rich in nutrients. Coconut coir growing mediums are dehydrated and compressed into a compact form for easy handling. With the addition of water, coir expands to an easy to work with growing medium.

Unlike peat moss, which is highly acidic, coconut coir has a neutral pH level. Most garden vegetables and flowers grow best in neutral to slightly alkaline conditions. When you use peat to amend a garden bed, an addition of agricultural lime is often necessary to combat the higher acidity. With coconut coir, limestone isn't necessary unless the soil naturally has a higher pH level. Coir use results in both a monetary and a labor savings, since you don't need to purchase further pH amendments nor work them into the soil.

-Coir improves soil drainage in the bed while also helping to retain moisture in quick-draining soils. Since coir breaks down slowly, much like peat, it creates air pockets in the soil that allow excess moisture to drain away from plant roots. The coir itself holds onto some moisture so the drainage doesn't occur too quickly and the soil doesn't dry out completely. These dual drainage and retention properties allow coir to improve moisture management in both heavy clay soils and dry, sandy beds.

-Peat moss, which coir replaces as a soil amendment, takes centuries to regrow once harvested. Coir is completely sustainable since it is a natural byproduct of coconut harvests, and coconut trees produce new coconuts every year. Using the coir in the garden keeps it out of the landfill where it would otherwise go. Coir can take a century or longer to fully break down in these landfills, so it's more sustainable to use it to improve your garden soil.

Step 1: Take out your Coconut Coir Pellets.  I like to use a large tray

Step 2: Add water to tray and Coconut Coir Pellets.  Using warm water might help them "grow" faster.
Step 3: Add seeds to the hole and gently cover or "squish" coconut coir.

Step 4: Place in a warm sunny place and keep moist.  This is where the real growing happens!

Common Seed-Starting Issues


-Incorrect Temperature. Different seeds have different needs.

-Old Seeds. When properly stored seeds can have a very long shelf life. But the older they get, your germination rate will begin to reduce

-Incorrect Watering. Water in a necessity for all plants. In the germination stage you need to make sure you keep the soil evenly moist. If you water too much, you run the risk of your seeds rotting before they germinate. If you let them dry out, they will either never germinate or die trying!

-Planting Depth/Light. When you plant your seeds pay attention to your planting depth. This is important because if planted too deep you plants could run out of energy before reaching sunlight. Planting too shallow can lead to drying out. Some seeds actually need some light to germinate, so instead of digging them down you just press them into your soil.


Dampening off, is probably the most common disease when starting seeds. It’s a fungus that can attack the seeds as soon as they germinate or after the seedling has emerged. You will know this is what killed your seedlings when you notice dark spots on the stem right at the soil level and the seedling topples over and withers away.

-Don't over water

-Provide air movement.  A small fan will work

-Nutrients: Use a half-strength, organic fertilizer with tiny seedling.  Our DIY Kelp Meal Tea is a great option for tiny seedling.  You can use this as a foliar feed as well.


For coconut coir pellets, plant no more than 2 seeds per pellet for small seeds and only one per pellet for larger seeds.  If both seeds germinate, do not pull one out.  Pinch off one of the seedlings at the base to remove.  This will give the remaining seedling a chance to survive and thrive.
Once your seedlings are strong and roots start to grow out of the mesh, it's time to transplant them into the garden or into your containers.
Take the entire pellet and plant into the garden.  For healthier root growth and to give plants a boost, I add a tablespoon of Azomite into each hole and mix into the dirt before transplanting the coconut coir pellet with growing seedling. I also water with a diluted version of our DIY Kelp Meal Tea when I transplant to help with shock.
We hope you have enjoyed our in-depth article about Seed Starting with Coconut Coir.  If you have additional questions, feel free to comment below or send an email to


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NEW Seeds are 99 Cents A pack thru 1/14/17 Posted on 10 Jan 20:49 , 0 comments

99 Cent Seed pack Sale from Mary's Heirloom Seeds

Mary's Heirloom Seeds
Quick Links
Join Our List
January 10, 2017
I know it sounds crazy to offer a sale during our super busy season but I'm just SUPER EXCITED to offer these new varieties

If you have additional question, please ask
99 Cent Heirloom Seed packs

These are all new (to us) heirloom seed varieties added today.
Each variety listed below is ON SALE thru Saturday, January 14th at midnight EST

 Flame lettuce has a mild flavor and will add real color to any salad bowl.

Nice bush form that will not take up tons of space like the standard Buttercup form.
These turban type fruits have dark green skin with some light green/creamish lines running longitudinally.
Sweet, orange, string-less flesh. Usually between 3-4 fruits at 3 - 5 lb each. 
Great storage squash and a New England favorite.


 Neon, hot pink chard is so pretty and is perfect picked small for salads or larger for braising.

Ebony Acorn is a delicious dark acorn type squash that is early and second only in flavor to Hubbard.  It is adapted for use all over the United States.
Prolific 8' vines produce 1.5-2lb fruits that have thick walls and a small seed cavity. 
The flesh is deep-orange, fine-textured, tender, dry and sweet. 
More productive and larger-fruited than table queen.  Does well in poor soil conditions.

40 days.   A deep merlot colored leaf resembling an oak leaf with deep lobes. 
Excellent for baby leaf production.  Unlike some other reds, oakleaf maintains a mild flavor throughout the lettuce season.  Resistance to common mildews.
An old favorite summer squash from the South of France.  24-30" tall and 18" spread.  The flesh of this round, green zucchini is very tender and fine flavored, making it an ideal squash for stuffing.

JUST A REMINDER....This sale starts 1/10/17 and ends January 14th @ midnight EST

 MORE from our Growing Tips & Videos page!!!


As always, if you have additional questions please feel free to ask!

If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 
Happy Planting,
Mary's Heirloom Seeds, P. O. Box 3763, Ramona, CA 92065