Seeds and Plugs
F1 Hybrid - cross of two selectively breed parents, chosen for their desirable characteristics (Filial 1). Uniform plants with maturity reached at the same time, having Hybrid vigour, they are expensive, due to controlled breeding conditions. Less seeds per packet. Seed cannot be saved.
F2 Hybrid - cross between two F1 Hybrids. Does not produce consistent or vigorous plants. Maturity and quality varies. Not desirable to collect seed.
Ordinary Open Pollinated - the traditional varieties which have been grown and selected for their desirable traits. Better flavour. Hardier and more flexible than F1/F2. Cheaper, with large seed numbers. Can save seed.
Ordinary Open Pollinated seed are considered to be ‘Dynamic’ as they adapt to local ecosystems, opposed to Hybrids (F1/F2), which are ‘Static’.
Gal Strips (Tape Strips) - seeds that are supplied on a paper or gal strip, at the correct spacing for the crop.
Pelleted Seed- seed enclosed in a clay coating. Usually small, difficult to handle/sow crops such as carrots/lettuce. Reduces need for thinning and non-uniform standards. Seed generally pre-prepared (chitted), having a shorter life span of only one season.
Chitted Seed - pre-germination of seed that is then stopped. Short life-span. Expensive. Tend to be of crops considered difficult to germinate if conditions are not ideal, i.e. cucumbers/parsnips.
Home Saved Seed - can only be saved from open pollinated varieties. Genetically variable. Cheap.
PLUGS: Plug plants are young plants, which are seedlings grown singularly in pots or within single units of modular trays. This allows for minimum root disturbance when planting. Brassicas are possibly the most popular crop grown this way for consumer purchase.
Unlike seed where you need to provide suitable growing conditions, germination care and aftercare, plugs come ready for transplanting. Seeds are available in a multitude of cultivars, with a large number of seeds within the packet for a seemingly cheap price, but although plugs can only offer a smaller range of varieties, they can prove just as economical.
Plugs provide the half-way house between seed and fully grown plant.
Easier to handle and are more forgiven of less than ideal soil conditions.
Available in smaller numbers, particularly useful if you only require 1 or 2 plants, whereas the seed packet has 100’s.
Cucumbers, Pumkins, Melons, Leeks, Sweetcorn, Peppers are also widely available as plugs.