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The Greenhouse

Ferry-Morse Home Gardening Blog & Growing Resource Center

How To Read a Seed Packet

How To Read a Seed Packet

How to Read a Seed Packet

Seed packets on the surface are very self-explanatory. When you pick up a packet, you'll be able to identify the plant immediately! When you flip it over and do some more scanning, you'll be able to learn all kinds of valuable information about planting instructions, care tips, growing time and more. Ferry-Morse seed packets contain all the information you need grow your plants, from sowing to harvesting. Hang on to your seed packets even after they're sown so you can quickly refer back for growing and harvesting information throughout the season.

This is the information you'll find on your Ferry-Morse seed packets and how to use it.


1. Plant Image 
This is probably the very first thing you'll notice and the quickest way for you to make a visual identification of what you're growing!

2. Plant Name 

Most plant names will have two lines, the variety and sub-variety. For example, a Sunflower packet will say Sunflower on the first line, but depending on the specific breed or cultivar, the second line will specify what kind of Sunflower it is; Mammoth, Autumn Glory, Skyscraper, etc.

3. Key Features

Ferry-Morse seeds have special call-outs on the front of the packet to let you know a couple of the plant's key features and benefits! For example, these Bachelor Buttons make great, long lasting arrangements.

4. Plant Type
This is where you'll quickly be able to find out what kind of plant you're picking- vegetables or herbs, and for flowers, annuals or perennials.

5. Fill Weight/Seed Count 

Most Ferry-Morse seed packets are filled by weight to be the most accurate and consistent. Sow Easy coated seeds, however, have listed seed counts because each one has a distinguishable, natural seed coating.


1. Description
Here's a quick, detailed description to tell you more about the plant's appearance and what kind of benefits and features you can expect from it.

2. Planting Instructions 

This section is key. It will outline when, where and how to sow the seeds in a quick 2-3 sentences.

3. Suggestions

Here are detailed suggestions about how to best grow and utilize your plant.

4. Specifications

This is where you'll find key planting and growing information including days to germination, plant height, and sun requirements all in one place.

5. Calendar & Map 

Locate yourself on the map and use the color guide to determine the best time to sow for your specific location and specific plant variety.

Note: See multiple planting times for your given growing zone? That's because some plant varieties can be planted at multiple times of year. For instance, Broccoli can be sown in the Fall and it will come up in the following Spring or you can sow it in the Spring and it will come up in the forthcoming Fall. This is also common among bulb flowers and some perennials. 

6. Package & Sell By Date

To guarantee the best freshness, Ferry-Morse only sells seeds which have been cultivated specifically for the current growing season. Fresher seeds mean better germination rates!

Heirloom & Organic Seeds

1. Organic

100% certified Organic seeds are harvested from plants grown without synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides. They harbor no residues from these chemicals. Organically grown seed produces hearty, robust plants already adapted to Organic growing conditions. Look for the USDA Organic icon to determine which seeds have been certified.

2. Heirloom

Heirloom varieties are open-pollinated seeds that have been saved from generation to generation. Usually varieties referred to as heirloom have been around for more than 50 years and offer a wonderful history in the names and flavors that continually provide dependable quality season after season. They are tried and true and coveted for their quality and flavor. The seed from heirloom plants can also be saved at the end of the season to be used again the next year. 

Get Your Cool Season Garden Started

By the time you've harvested your pumpkins and made some delicious dishes, it may be time to start up your indoor gardening plans to help you maintain a flow of fresh vegetables and herbs throughout the colder months.

Ferry-Morse Indoor gardening collection

Use this suite of supplies to create an indoor oasis for your plants, from indoor seed starting to grow lights and hydroponics.

Ferry-Morse indoor container friendly herb seeds collection

These herbs will grow happily indoors in containers, making them an extra easy and useful addition to your kitchen.

Ferry-Morse pumpkin garden seeds

Want to grow your own pumpkin patch from scratch next season? Large and small, grow pumpkins from seed to harvest. 

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  • Ferry-Morse Home Gardening Team
Comments 20
  • Jeff Snider
    Jeff Snider

    I’m looking at your spacing info but nothing matches in the pictures or description what it says on the packet, can you help?
    These are Harvester Bush Beans
    SPACING 20 in. / 4 in.

  • Ferry-Morse Home Gardening Team
    Ferry-Morse Home Gardening Team

    Hi Natalie! If seeds need stratification, the seed packet will indicate as such.

  • bonnye carter
    bonnye carter

    Awaiting arrival of all my seeds.

  • Natalie williams
    Natalie williams

    Do your seeds need stratification? It doesn’t say on the packets.

  • Chris

    How long after the best by date are the seeds viable?

  • Barbara Anne Ashley
    Barbara Anne Ashley

    Thank you for being so informative and interactive. You are just GREAT !!!!!!!!!!

  • Ferry-Morse Home Gardening Team
    Ferry-Morse Home Gardening Team

    Hi Erik, great question! Yes, you can save and store seeds for any plant you would like to — doesn’t have to be exclusive to heirloom plants.

  • Erik

    It says you can save and replant heirloom seeds. Can you do the same for non-heirloom seeds?

  • andre laplume
    andre laplume


  • Jennie Galloway
    Jennie Galloway

    How can I tell if the greens coming up are my seeds coming up or weeds. Packets used to have a picture of the seedling on them. Do you have a photo online somewhere?

  • Kathleen Turkowski
    Kathleen Turkowski

    I planted Great Lakes #113 lettuce. No head is forming, but have large healthy green leaves. When and how do I harvest them?

  • Cheral Canna
    Cheral Canna

    It would be helpful for the photo to include the adult leaves. When you are trying to weed new unfamiliar plantings you need this.

  • aline JERVIS
    aline JERVIS

    This information is very helpful. Thank you.

  • Christal Bodiford
    Christal Bodiford

    I’m still waiting for my order, but I have to say I’ve used Ferry-Moorse seeds many times in the past with wonderful results!

  • Ferry~Morse Customer Service Team
    Ferry~Morse Customer Service Team

    Nguyen Nguyen:

    Thank you for your question! Typically you should sow 2-3 seeds per hole. If you have one, small container/pot that you are using then sow 2-3 seeds per pot. If you’re using a larger container/pot then feel free to use multiple holes and sow 2-3 seeds per hole (but this will also depend on the type of plant you’re growing…if you are planting something with a larger root system then you probably won’t want to share that container with anything else).

    Happy planting!

  • Ferry~Morse Customer Service Team
    Ferry~Morse Customer Service Team

    Rochelle Ridenour:

    For most seeds, and if you are in season at the time, days until harvest will start from the day that you sow your seed so long as they are getting the proper amount of water and shade or sunlight. For seed packets that suggest you start your seeds indoors, we would suggest using days to harvest as a rough guide: start counting days til harvest once the seedlings have become young plants and begin growing their true leaves.

    A lot of people will eyeball their vegetable, herb and fruit gardens as they grow. It can all boil down to being a matter of preference, really (if you like your carrots to be a bit smaller, then you may harvest them a little sooner than Days to Harvest guideline). At the end of the day, the garden makes the final say! We hope this information helps!!

  • Rochelle Ridenour
    Rochelle Ridenour

    On the back of your seed packets where it notes Days Until Harvest, Is that after germination?

  • Nguyen Nguyen
    Nguyen Nguyen

    Hi quick question—
    Do I plant all the seeds in the packet at once in the same little starter pot?
    I don’t see any instructions on how many seeds to use at once?

  • Cynthia Virtue
    Cynthia Virtue

    Please include the scientific name on all packets.

  • glen smith
    glen smith

    thanks for the information.
    i received my seeds today and will send feed back later.

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