Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More Catalogs!

I received two more seed catalogs in the mail last week: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Pinetree Garden Seeds. Last year I ordered from Pinetree and Parks, and got my garlic from Southern Exposure.

Sadly, Parks went through a bankruptcy last year and I was very disappointed in their service. I'm going to give them another chance this year because I have found the seeds they provide to be really top quality, but I probably won't order as much because it is just too risky. Last year several of my seed packets arrived quite late, and another didn't come at all. When I called them I was told that it would ship "on Tuesday", but two weeks later they were still on back order, so I have to wonder what Tuesday they were thinking of; I finally canceled the order, for which I received a store credit in the mail three months later. Thanks.

On the other hand, Pinetree Gardens had excellent service but the seeds weren't very good. They had really poor germination (I'd say on average about 60%, though the marigolds and nasturtiums really dragged that down) and the plants that did come up were stunted for several weeks before finally seeming to perk up. (This happened for multiple plantings, so I'm fairly confident it wasn't a water or weather thing.) I will not be ordering from them again this year.

I've also ordered from Gurney's in the past and will probably get their catalog soon. The seeds were okay, the service ho-hum, and the live plants left a lot to be desired. My sister was also unimpressed with their live plants. I may order from them again, but probably not this year.

SESE, on the other hand, will get a lot of my business this year. I really liked the garlic I got last fall, and I like that they are very focused on development for the Mid-Atlantic region. I love their description of the Mid-Atlantic growing environment:

This area is generally characterized by high summer heat, humidity, numerous plant diseases, uneven preciptiation and occasional high temperatures in early spring and late fall. Soils are predominantly clay except in sandy coastal areas.

Basically, plant hell. (Okay, probably Death Valley is worse...)

Happy seed dreaming!

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