The catalogs are here!
All it takes is one year of gardening and you’ll find your mail box flooded with seed catalogs. But there really are only a handful of catalogs that I order from. I’m pretty picky about who I order from and here are the ones that have made the cut this year. (Not pictured: Seed Saver’s Exchange. I’m not sure where that catalog ended up today.)
Here’s my criteria for who I order seeds from:
Organic. This is my biggest consideration. There are lots of reasons I garden (please click that link.
It’s important!) but none of it matters if I am contributing to Earth’s destruction. So I will not buy anything that comes from Monsanto or any Monsanto-linked company.
Commitment to the customer. Good customer service is important, yes. But what I’m looking for goes beyond just making me happy. I look for companies that are committed to their community and the people their business impacts.
Selection. I’d prefer to get everything from one place if I can, so I like a wide selection.
Price. While this is my last consideration, it is important. Who wants to spend a ton on garden seeds?
Why these are my favorites:
I buy about 80% of my seeds from Baker Creek Nursery. They have the best and most unique selection of seeds. They are actively involved in their community and the gardening community at larges (see all their seminars and hands-on events) They have never been associated with Monsanto and they work with gardeners around the world to preserve heirloom varieties. And their catalog is a work of art.
Seed Savers Exchange is just what its name implies: an organization dedicated to saving rare and disappearing heirloom varieties.
While the selection is expanding every year, it’s still not as big as most other catalogs. But what they do have is priceless: rare and sometime hard-to-find varieties sure to fill that niche in your garden.
Prairie Road Organics is based here in North Dakota, so a lot of their seeds are particularly well-suited to the extreme weather of the upper Midwest. They are a small, family-owned business and when I contact them I get personalized care that no one else has matched.
These three catalogs are enough for about 95-99% of what I want to plant from year to year. But here are a few other catalogs that I like:
Richter’s has the best selection of herbs that I’ve found. If there’s an herb or perennial plant that I want to add to my garden, they are sure to have it. And probably have at least two or three different varieties to choose from. Their live plants are carefully packed and always arrive ready to go into the garden. One year, a couple plants didn’t survive the trip too well and Richter’s cheerfully and promptly replaced them. And if you want herbs without having to grow them, they have a nice selection of dried herbs at very decent prices.
My husband’s uncle sent this Oikos catalog to me this winter and I am enchanted! The selection here is pretty limited: mostly roots, tubers and perennial vegetables. I’ve been growing Jerusalem Artichoke now for about 10-12 years. The tubers are rather hard to find, but this catalog has dozens–DOZENS!–of varieties of Jerusalem Artichokes. Who knew there were so many sizes, shapes and colors? Over half of this small catalog is Jerusalem Artichokes, but they also have perennial greens (Anyone want some Good King Henry?) and several other varieties of perennial tubers. You really need to check this out.
Last but not least: Territorial Seed. I order from this catalog when I can’t find the seed I want anywhere else. They tend to be more expensive than most others but they do have a nice big selection.
Now it’s time to order…
It’s time to plan your garden and start ordering seeds. In just a few short weeks it’ll be time to start seeds indoors for spring-time planting.
Start with your cold tolerant brassicas first: cabbage, collards and broccoli. Early planting of the brassicas means you won’t have to battle cabbage moth infestations. It’s also good to start onion seeds as early as you can.
Next, start your flowers and herbs. This is where starting plants from seed will really save you money. Depending on how many varieties of flowers you want you can get $200 worth of bedding flowers for just $10-20. What a deal!
which is a lot cheaper than the commercial seed warming trays, which start at $60 and go up from there.
This 3-part series will help you start planning your garden.
Check out my Seed Starting 101 Seed Starting 101 ebook. This illustrated booklet will walk you through all the steps to successfully start your garden plants from seed. Beginning with how to choose your seeds,it includes details on how to plant, what planters to use, and what soil and fertilizers to use. From seedling to full-grown plant ready to transplant into the garden, you are sure to have an abundant garden. And just for reading this post, you can get this booklet for 99¢. Just use coupon code SEED at checkout.