In this column that appeared in the Journal, a pretty good set of tips for poor germination rates with seed.
Q: We bought an acreage 10 years ago mostly so we could grow our own vegetables (and hang laundry out to dry!). The first few gardens were great, but I’ve had a few issues the last 3 years. Earlier I did not have any problems with seed that I purchased in stores or from seed catalogues. Now the last few years a lot of seeds just don’t grow. I even tried the seed tapes, and only 3 or 4 seeds germinated despite following exact directions. So my question is: what seeds and where is the best place to purchase them?