It’s official — I’m overwhelmed with seed ordering options.
I have a stack of seed catalogs, a working plan for our 50 x 70 foot garden, and a big marker. Now I just need about 10 extra hours in each day to pick out, sew, transplant, nurture, pick, process, and enjoy everything I’d like to plant. There are some things in life that a detail-oriented person shouldn’t tackle without a voice of reason weighing in. Garden planning might just be one of those things!
The planning is the most fun part, though. I get to imagine perfect little square foot gardens of beans, corn, sunflowers, and strawberries. There are no weeds in my imagination, and all the bunnies that hop around the yard magically stay outside of the garden with the deer.
Well, back to reality.
This year I have fortunately not received as many catalogs as in years past. I think more and more businesses are realizing the cost savings of not having a paper catalog. I think that’s great for your marketing budget, but it may not be the best for your sales.
Personally, I love looking through seed catalogs, but I have my favorite suppliers, and the others are often just eye candy.
I know I’m ordering from:
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange – Perhaps it’s not fair to call them my favorite since I’ve never ordered from them. I’ve been aware of SESE since I lived in Appomattox, Virginia, and first requested their catalog. The reason I plan to order as many of my seeds as I can from them is that they are located in Louisa, Virginia, and according to their catalog, they “…emphasize the Mid-Atlantic region. This area is generally characterized by high summer heat, humidity, numerous plant diseases, uneven precipitation, and occasional high temperatures in the early spring and late fall. Soils are predominantly clay except in sandy coastal areas.” SESE, you hit the nail on the head. I also like their mission statement and all of the information they give on seeds.
Seed Savers Exchange – Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. In addition to the seed catalog, they maintain a distribution method for seed savers to exchange with each other (or sell for a nominal fee) heirloom and open-pollinated varieties of seeds. This means that tomato seed your great-grandad brought from the old country and passed around to his friends in town could still be alive and well within the members of SSE. I’ve ordered their seeds and their tomato transplants, and I’ve been delighted with both. I usually order most of my vegetable seeds from SSE, and the only reason they are “in second” this year is because I want to (a) support a local business by buying from SESE and (b) SESE’s seeds are adapted to Virginia’s growing quirks. I have a 3-year membership to SSE, so I do hope to save some seeds this year and get started trading next year. It’s a wonderful organization.
I’ll probably also order from:
Pinetree Garden Seeds – Good selection and great prices along with low shipping. It’s hard to go wrong with Pinetree. I’ll probably order from them to fill in any holes between SSE and SESE.
Territorial Seed Company – They provide a huge catalog with closeup images of the vegetables. After I catalog and test germinate the seeds in my collection (which I should have done in December), I plan to order some flower seeds from Territorial. They have great prices and a good germination rate.
John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds – In addition to wonderful habitat flower-garden blends (like butterfly, bumblebee, hummingbird, and songbird), this catalog is gorgeous to peruse. Little tips and pencil drawings grace the pages. I may buy some of the flower seeds just for the beautiful seed packets. I still have some from past years which I’ll someday frame for my home office!
Totally Tomatoes – I ordered from them when we were in Central Virginia. My Tommy Toes (teeny red tomatoes) grew and produced like crazy! If there are any tomato seeds I can’t get from SSE or SESE, I’ll order from Totally Tomatoes.
What is your favorite seed supplier? Please Share! I’m always looking for new and interesting varieties of fruits and veggies. I’m also looking for reliable suppliers of fruit and nut trees.*** This personal blog is comprised solely of the opinions, views, projects, and travels of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She is lucky enough to have loving family and friends whom she drags along with her on her adventures and whom she puts to work on her little farm. She uses this blog to help promote living in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, from Roanoke to the Potomac River.**