Can I plant the seeds of vegetables from the grocery store to make my seedlings for my garden?

Can we plant the seeds of peppers, squash, melons and tomatoes from the grocery store?

The answer is yes! But...

Will it germinate?

Most likely yes! These store-bought vegetables will normally be easy to sprout because tomatoes are usually harvested when ripe. Except for the green pepper which is harvested when it is not yet ripe.

However cucumbers, peas and beans are harvested before their seeds have reached maturity. The seeds will not germinate because they have not finished growing.

What result will I get?

That, we do not know in advance.

The name of the cultivars (or variety) used by food producers is not mentioned at the grocery store. We know it's a cantaloupe melon, a red pepper, but which variety/cultivar? We do not know. Also, we don't know if it's a hybrid or not... and often the answer is unfortunately yes. Seeds from hybrid vegetables will not produce plants identical to the original plants. So the nice tomato from the grocery store could turn into a medium, pasty tomato with a bland taste once it bears fruit in your vegetable patch.

Save yourself by choosing organic vegetables?

Nah. Organic or conventional growers can choose to use hybrid seeds so whether the fruit is certified organic or not, you face the same probability.

It should also be taken into consideration that some vegetables, such as squash for example, grow easily together. You should therefore expect some major surprises. For example, if you harvest the seeds for your spaghetti squash from the grocery store, you should expect the possibility of harvesting a cross squash. Which, for example, might look a bit like a zucchinni but with less flavorful flesh that flakes like a spaghetti squash. It's a lot less interesting.

Not to mention that often these vegetables sold at the grocery store often come from lines developed especially for greenhouse cultivation or for a climate warmer than ours such as that of the United States or Mexico. These cultivars will potentially have trouble growing well in our climate and ripening on time in your garden.

Considering the above facts, is it worth it to save a few dollars to leave the result of all this effort to chance?

Months of work between sowing and harvest destined for an 'uncertain' result, perhaps an average taste and/or a disappointing harvest?

It's for you to see.

As a seed producer, a major argument drives us more when it comes to this question: Safeguarding and maintaining the richness of our seed heritage.

Just think of this kind of wonderful tomatoes that you can't taste at the grocery store:

By growing vegetables from seeds that we have chosen, an infinite range of tastes and colors opens up to us!

Because the vegetables offered in the grocery store often come from hybrids and come down to just a few dozen varieties only, choosing to grow varieties that are not grown by the giants of this world, choosing seeds of non-hybrid vegetables , ancestral or heritage cultivars, you directly contribute to keeping our vegetable heritage alive.

Even if you do not collect the seeds of your own vegetables yourself, you encourage the seed producers who do so year after year and this simple gesture helps to keep this incredible diversity alive and ensures food security for the future.

By making this choice of seeds, you immediately ensure a good start, not to mention the extraordinary adaptability of these cultivars to our climate, our regional growing conditions and their extraordinary taste!

The seed; the start of everything that will follow. Taking the time to choose the right seeds means putting the odds on your side for a good start and a vegetable garden that lives up to your dreams.

Good preparations for sowing to all!

Julie Ross,

Seed company since 2009