Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Seed Ordering 2015

Every year my seed ordering gets a little bit simpler.  I remember one year I ordered seeds from three different sources, not counting the garlic supplier.  The following year I prepared complete order "plans" for each supplier, compared costs, and ordered everything from the cheapest source.  (A decision I later regretted.  Garden space and work are far too valuable to throw away on bad seed.)  The next year I split my order between two suppliers because I really wanted strawberries.  Then last year I limited myself to a single supplier (plus garlic in the fall) and bought whatever I couldn't get or didn't want from them at the local big box store.  (If you just want the most popular hybrid variety, the big box store is cheaper and decent quality in my area.)

Additional simplifications:
  • I alphabetized my stored seeds, rather than trying to sort them by season.  Much easier this way.
  • I plan the garden, throw out the really old seeds, and do a complete inventory of the remaining seeds before I start ordering, so that I never fail to order something because I think maybe I already have enough.
  • After the order is written, I give myself a little time to whittle it down.  (For example, by remembering that I have dried sunflower heads on the back porch packed full of - apparently - 100% viable seeds.)
Ten out of ten of the "harvested" sunflower seeds sprouted.
I save the extras from most seed packets for 3 years.  Some herbs, like dill, are more like weeds than garden plants, and the seeds come in packs with practically a lifetime supply - those I will save longer if last year's germination rate seemed good.  Some of the smallest seeds (carrots, onions) I replace every year, as their germination rate decreases quickly and they are pretty much a complete loss if the first planting doesn't go well.  (I have read that lettuce seed should also be thrown out, but have not found that to be true.)  Some plants I will save my own seeds from, if I've not planted a hybrid: beans, cilantro, and grains come to mind.  I don't save seeds from plants that frequently suffer from blight in our area, like tomatoes, or seeds from the squash family, as they always disappoint.  And this year for the third year in a row I will be growing my own sweet potato slips in my kitchen window.  I may try to do something similar with potatoes, if I can find a place to plant them.

So, 2015 has officially started!


  1. It's so interesting to hear about your seed selection process. You are so much more organized then me when it comes to gardening. Which is funny, because I'm not sure that's true for the other parts of our lives.

  2. I seem to remember you once asking me if it was important to have a plan for your garden, and I thought, "How unusual for Renee Michelle to question the wisdom of a having a plan!"