Mr Fothergill’s is the first retail seed brand to adopt Swedish seed priming technology previously only available to professional growers. The firm said the launch of the Optigrow seed range is the most exciting development for home growers since the introduction of F1 hybrid seed varieties.
The non-chemical primer treatment also offers seed shelf life compared to traditional seed priming, providing a longer sales window.
The process uses water and air to get the seed biologically ready for germination, breaking seed dormancy prior to use. At this point the seed is dried back to a storable state for packing. The technology is available with 20 bestsellers in the Mr Fothergill’s range.
Mr Fothergill’s retail marketing manager Ian Cross said: "The Optigrow range marks a real step change in the seed market and is certainly the most exciting development since the introduction of F1 hybrids. In fact, the process the seeds go through is so much more than simple priming that we refer to it as seed ‘vitalising’. Not only does it significantly speed up germination times, it creates greater garden performance too."
Mr Fothergill's said that after trialling, the Optigrow process produced more vigorous seedlings, stronger weed competition, more uniform crops and better end results. In comparison trials, nearly 80% of Optigrow treated Carrot Amsterdam seed germinated within 50 hours from sowing, compared to 90 hours for the same percentage of standard seed.