Vegetable Seeds are amazing little things.
They look like dead specs of wood but when the temperature is just right, they have something to grow on, and enough light, all you need is water, and they sprout.
I’ve been growing plants from seed for years and years, and I’m still in awe of the process. Seeds are so tiny and in just weeks, they grow into huge plants that make food!
What are seeds?
Every organism’s goal is to reproduce, to perpetuate its species. That’s true for humans, insects, mammals, birds, fungus, and every other living thing, including plants. As plants grow, they reach a point of maturity when they are ready to reproduce. When animals reach that point, their bodies are ready to make babies. For plants, maturity means making flowers that make seeds, some of which are enclosed in fruits.
In fact, seeds are plant embryos. Seeds are alive but in a sort of suspended animation until the conditions are just right for them to sprout. Once they do sprout – we call sprouting “germination” – roots and stems emerge from each seed, followed by its first set of leaves.
Seed Leaves and True Leaves
Those first leaves usually look very different from the leaves that follow. That first set is referred to as the “seed leaves” while the later leaves as the “true leaves.”
Seed leaves, known scientifically as cotyledons, are really special little things. They sustain their tiny seedling with food until the seedling has formed its true leaves and begins to photosynthesize.
Flowers and Seeds
When the plant is mature enough, and the environmental conditions like daylength or temperature are just right, plants flower. In the case of fruiting plants, the flower creates a fruit, which holds seeds. In the case of non-fruiting plants, like sunflowers, seeds are part of the former flower.
Annual plants like sunflowers and most of our vegetable plants, mature enough to flower and make seeds in just a few months. After flowering, these annual plants die. That is the circle of life.
How do we get seeds?
Of course, seeds come from plants—but for our purposes, seeds come from farmers. Specialized farmers grow crops to harvest their seeds rather than harvesting them for produce. They clean the seeds, then dry them down to the point where the seeds are still alive but are dry enough to store and transport.
Learn more about how vegetable seeds come to market
Watch “The Story of Seeds” to learn vegetable seeds come to market. It is a fascinating process of breeding, growing, trialing, more growing, harvesting, packing, and marketing. I promise you’ll be amazed.