Tips for Seed Shopping From Catalogs

garden-supply-seeds-tin-box

garden-supply-seeds-tin-box

Hopefully, you’ve ordered all of your seed catalogs, spread them out, rolled in them with sheer glee and are ready to get busy ordering.  {If not, don’t worry, you’re not to late.  You can check out my list of seed catalogs to get started.}

Ordering from seed catalogs is a great way to get around the fact that most stores only order the most popular selling seeds–which really limits the variety of plants you can grow.  Plus, you have complete control over colors and plants that will grow in the space you have {i.e. container friendly seeds, seeds that thrive in shade or cooler weather, etc.}.  Over the years, I’ve learned a couple of tricks to ordering from the catalogs.  Because I’ve learned most of them through trial and error, I thought I’d pass them on, and save you a little time.

  1. Don’t over-order.  Seriously, this is the biggest mistake you can make with catalogs.  Most catalogs are full of enticing pictures that make you think you have 50 acres worth of planting space.  I suggest planning out your garden space first, then ordering the seeds…seeds are cheap, but when you order 25 packets more than you needed, it starts to add up.
  2. Sign up for emails from your favorite catalogs.  MOST seed companies will offer free shipping over the course of the year, and since sometimes shipping is more than the actual seeds, it pays to get an email alerting you when shipping will be free.
  3. Read the growing conditions carefully before ordering.  Not every plant thrives in every zone, so even the best seeds won’t produce plants/flowers.
  4. If possible, stick with organic, untreated, and/or heirloom seeds over hybrid seeds.  Most seed companies let you know if they are Non-GMO, so that’s not as much of a concern, but heirlooms usually produce better tasting crops–and give you a chance to sample something  you will likely never find in the grocery store.  Organic and untreated seeds will at least ensure that your seeds have not been produced using dangerous chemicals.
  5. If you have a small garden space, consider ordering with a friend.  A packet of tomato seeds can literally serve a whole neighborhood if you only need a plant or two.  Might as well divide and conquer.
  6. KEEP your seed catalogs after you have ordered.  Circle all of the seeds you ordered.  Make a note right in the seed catalog about how you liked the plant, growing tips you picked up over the season, etc.  That way, you will know exactly what you liked and what you don’t want to try again as the years roll on.
  7. My favorite seeds are Botanical Interests, but I came to that decision after trying several different seed companies and comparing results.  If you are a newbie, try a couple different companies.  You may find that one company seeds are better suited for your area/liking.
  8. Shop early so that you have plenty of time to start your seeds indoors.
  9. Tack on extra time to the “days to maturity” estimate on the seed description/packet.  That is just an estimate, and in my experience, it always takes longer.  If you are expecting it, you can plan a little better.

That’s pretty much all I’ve learned {only really knowing 9 things seems kind of pathetic now that I see it in writing}.  What tips do YOU have for gardeners that are new to the seed catalog world?

~Mavis

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Time to Order Free Garden Seed Catalogs

seed catalogs{photo credit kissmyaster}

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to start thinking about ordering seeds for this years garden.  I added to last years list with all of your suggestions {thank you!}–it’s like Christmas all over again :).

Botanical Interests Seed Catalog {These are my seed of choice!  I’ve visited their warehouse several times, and they totally care about the quality of product they put out.}

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds {Great place to get rare seeds}

Totally Tomatoes Seed Catalog {Best place to get tomatoes, but you can get other seeds here too}

Burpee Seed Catalog {HUGE company, the website says they are committed to selling only non-GMO seeds, though}

Ed Hume Seeds – {Specifically selected varieties for cool climates}

Gurney’s – {Large selection, website has tons of useful planting information too}

Seeds of Change Catalog {100% certified organic seeds}

Seed Savers Seed Catalog {Non profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds}

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange {Sells varieties specifically suited to grow in the Southern part of the U.S.}

Sustainable Seed Company {Certified organic heirloom seeds}

Territorial Seeds Catlaog {Untreated seeds.  Family-owned business from Oregon.}

Peaceful Valley Seed Catalog {Promotes organic gardening}

Uprising Seeds {Open pollinated, organic certified seeds}

Victory Seed Company {Rare, open-pollinated, and heirloom seeds}

Johhny’s Seed Catalog {Employee-owned company out of Maine.}

High Mowing Seed Catalog {100% organic seed, out of Vermont}

Gardens Alive {a great source for beneficial insects and fertilizers}

D. Landreth Seed Company {oldest seed house in America–catalog is not free, but it is available online}

Amishland Heirloom Seeds {Owned and operated by one woman.  She ONLY sells her OWN  seeds, and has signed the safe seed pledge}

Cherrygal Heirloom Seeds {Eclectic company selling non-GMO seeds and hand-crafted items}

Bountiful Gardens {Seed company out of California selling untreated open-pollinated non-GMO seed}

Pinetree Garden Seeds {Family-owned company promising to never sell GMO seeds or support anything that in any way supports Monsanto}

FedCo Seeds {Adapted to be cold-hardy, specifically for the Northeast United States}

Stokes Seeds {Carries a selection of treated and untreated seeds}

The Cook’s Garden {Seeds for gourmet gardeners}

Renee’s Garden Seeds {Heirloom, organic, and specialty seeds}

Annie’s Heirloom Seeds {Great selection of heirloom seeds}

Irish Eye’s Garden Seeds {Sells quality potato, vegetable, flower and garden seeds}

Hudson Valley Seed Library {Great seeds, beautifiul artwork on the packaging}

Seeds Now {They sell only 100% natural NON-Hybridized and 100% NON-Genetically Modified seeds}

Potato Gardens {Out of Colorado, good place to get potatoes, garlic, onions}

Seattle Seed Company {They encourage people to buy locally and to grow their own food when possible!}

Osbourne Seed Company {Out of Mount Vernon, Washington–seeds designed to thrive in the NW}

Heavenly Seed {Heirlooms, open-pollinated, organic seeds.  Good spot to get sweet potato plants.}

Did I miss one of your favorite seed companies?  Let me know in the comment selection below and I’ll add it to the list.

~ Mavis

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Free Garden Seed Catalogs

botanical-interests seed packets

Photo Credit 

Have you started thinking about next years garden yet?  I have!

Thanks to my awesome readers, here is an updated list of seed catalogs. If you have a favorite one you don’t see on the list, let me know in the comment section below and I’ll add it.

Botanical Interests Seed Catalog {My boyfriend Ryan works here}

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds {Cool rare seeds}

Totally Tomatoes Seed Catalog

Burpee Seed Catalog

Seeds of Change Catalog

Seed Savers Seed Catalog

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Sustainable Seed Company

Territorial Seeds Catlaog

Peaceful Valley Seed Catalog

Uprising Seeds

Victory Seed Company

Johhny’s Seed Catalog

High Mowing Seed Catalog

Also when you sign up for the Garden’s Alive email newsletter you’ll receive $25 off your order of $50 or more just for signing up.

Did I miss one of your favorite seed companies?

 Let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

~ Mavis

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Mavis Garden Blog – Free Seed Catalogs

hey girl garden catalogs

Photo Credit 

Okay, so maybe I am a total garden nerd, but every year around this time I start thinking about what I’m going to plant in NEXT YEARS garden.

And because I am a super nerd, I like to get on the mailing list for my favorite seed companies so I’ll be the first to get their new catalog when it comes out in late fall/early winter. Here is a list of a few of the seed companies I’ve ordered from in the past.  If you have a favorite one you don’t see on the list, let me know in the comment section below and I’ll add it.

Botanical Interests Seed Catalog {My boyfriend Ryan works here}

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds {Cool rare seeds}

Totally Tomatoes Seed Catalog

Burpee Seed Catalog

Seed Savers Seed Catalog

Territorial Seeds Catlaog

Peaceful Valley Seed Catalog

Gardens Alive {$20 off a purchase of $40 or more}

Johhny’s Seed Catalog

High Mowing Seed Catalog

And if you are looking for bulbs…

Breck’s {Save $25 when you order $50 or more}

Did I miss one of your favorite seed companies?  Let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

~ Mavis

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