Q1. What is the meaning of GMO seeds and what kinds of seeds are Non-GMO Seeds?

A1.  As below:

GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) Seeds are seeds that have undergone generic engineering techniques to produce certain plant traits, drought or disease tolerance.

For example, Corn + DNA from soil bacteria that is naturally immune to Round Up herbicide + e.coli bacteria + soil bacteria.

When creating genetically modified (GM) seeds and plants,antibiotic resistance genes are commonly used as marker genes for the selection of transformed plant cells.  That’s why scientists and doctors worry that consuming GMO food will cause antibiotic resistance. 

Organic Seeds Unaltered seed that comes from a purely raised plant is an organic seed.  They are clean and untreated, and they are grown under Certified Organic Conditions.  Allowed for use in Certified Organic production.

Hybrid Seeds are not GMO seeds. The process of creating hybrid seeds produced by cross-pollinated plans. 

Hybrids result from deliberate crossing of two different parent varieties from the same species.  F1 refers to "first generation off-spring" from these two distinct parent varieties.

For example, one tomato plant may be very drought tolerant and another tomato plant produces vigorously, the two plants might be cross pollinated to produce a drought tolerant tomato plant that produces a lot of tomatoes.

Heirlooms Seeds are generally known to produce better taste and flavor, and the harvests are also known to be more nutritious. Heirloom seeds come from open-pollinated plants(OP) that pass on similar characteristics and characteristics and traits from the parent plant to the child plant.

Q2. How to store seeds for a few years?

A2. It'd better to store seeds in a dry and temperature control condition.

The seeds can be placed in a packet in an air-tight container; then, store them in the vegetable compartment in the refrigerator or wine cellar fridge, the seeds can be kept for a few years.  As the summer in Hong Kong is hot and humid, it will cause the seeds more energy to breath, which means it will consume the stored material, and release the energy.  In such scenario, it also causes variation in protein, shorten the life of seeds and reduce the ability of germination.

Q3. What is NPK and why are they so important to plant?

A3.  NPK are the 3 major nutrients.  Please see the table below:

Q4. How to understand the fertilizer N-P-K no. (x-x-x)?

A4. They are the percentage of N, P and K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium).  

Let's take the Hyponex High Grade Orchid Fertilizer 6-6-6 for example,  which means the proportion of NPK. The 1st no. of 6 is Nitrogen in this fertilizer.  The 2nd and the 3rd no. of 6 means 6 of phosphorus and 6 of potassium respectively.  You will wonder why sum of the percentage doesn't equal to 100.  In fact, there are other nutrients in the fertilizer mixture.

Q5. What is Annual, Biennial and Perennial plant?

A5. Plants can be classified as either annual, biennial, or perennial.

Annual plants live for only one growing season, during which they produce seeds, then die. Biennial plants live for two growing seasons before setting seed and dying. The term perennial is reserved for plants that live for more than two years.

Q6. What is Companion Planting?

A6. Companion planting means certain types of vegetables are planted in the same garden area.

Benefits: To minimize insect and disease problems, and prevent weeds growing.  Besides, it is a great way to save space and obtain bountiful, healthy harvests.  As a root crop, potatoes dig further into the soil and do not interfere with the surface rooted cabbage family.  Please see examples as below.

Q7. What is Crop Rotation?  Why is it important?

A7. Crop Rotation is a growing method of growing different crops on the same land in sequenced seasons to maintain soil fertility and help control insects and diseases. 

Which means the same vegetables should not be planted in the same place year after year, when growing the same crop in the same place for many years will depletes the soil of certain nutrients.

Q8. What does "Biodegradable Product" mean?

A8. Biodegradable means an item that can break down into natural materials in the environment without causing harm.  

When a product biodegrades into carbon dioxide, water and other naturally occurring minerals, the substance seamlessly mixes back into the earth, leaving no toxins behind, it is biodegradable product.  Temperature, humidity as well as microorganism of soil will affect the biodegradable rate.

Q9. What is Compost Soil?

A9. The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus or humic acids, and as a natural pesticide for soil. 

The process of composting requires making a heap of wetted organic matter known as green waste (leaves, food waste) and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months.  You may just place your items on the ground, in a garbage can or container or a composting bin.

Q10. When growing plants or vegetables indoors but not enough natural light bring to the house, what should we do?

A10. We can make use of artificial light like fluorescent light.

It is a cheap way to provide enough light to your plants or vegetables.  You just need to go to the hardware or lighting shop to buy the fluorescent light. It'd better to put the plants and vegetables close to the light but not to burn the leaves.  The ideal way is at least 12 hours of light.  Light helps proceed of photosynthesize, and it provides energy to the plants and vegetables.

Q11. If we grow vegetables and fruits in the area that was planted bitter cucumber before, whether those vegetables and fruits will become bitter?

A11. The answer is "no".

Only if we sow inappropriate vegetables and fruits seeds in the wrong seasons or apply fertilizers which contain chemical ingredients, is there opportunity to have bad result.  For example, for planting Fall and Winter lettuce in Summer, the lettuce will taste bitter or they will not grow well.

Q12. Why plants need artificial pollination sometimes? 

A12. Plant pollination process is carried by wind, insects or birds.  They bring pollen of male flower and female flower together, it calls Natural Pollination.

When we do planting indoors, window sill for example, or where insects or birds seldom appear, artificial pollination may need to be applied.  You just need to take off a male flower, then, put the stamen to the pistil of female flower, it is simple.  Or you can use a cotton stick or brush to stick stamen, and smear it to pistil.  When there is a fruit attached to petals, it is female flower.

Q13. Why some seeds are coating with colors? 

A13. We may find some seeds are coating with colorants sometimes, which means they have been treated.  It helps to raised the commercial value of the seeds by making them more productive and in order to avoid crop damage.

Typically antimicrobial, fungicidal or insecticides (less frequently) are added.  Actually, it is also a trend in the agricultural industry.