I have a little word file tucked away on my computer where I quickly jot down varieties that pique my interest, often as a result of other bloggers posts or comments. Well…that file is now 14 pages long.
I would love to grow every single variety – wouldn’t we all? - but the limits of time and space mean that I have to pick and choose. For me, this is often the most difficult part of the planning process. The good news is that since growing vegetables is generally a one year (or less) commitment, I can eventually try everything on my list….in theory anyhow. In practice, for every one variety I try, I probably end up adding at least one or two more to the list.
In my last post, I outlined the process that I went through before purchasing seeds. Once I decide what seed varieties I want to purchase, I first look to my 3 favourite seed companies: William Dam, Pinetree, and Baker Creek.
All of these companies sell a wide variety of seeds at good prices and, equally important to me, they have all signed the Safe Seed Pledge.
Since William Dam is within a reasonable driving distance, I usually go there to pick up my seeds & I also get many of my supplies from them such as seed starting mix, fish emulsion, cell packs, etc.. When I went there in January, they didn't have a couple of the varieties that I wanted in stock yet, so I am already planning a second visit within the next couple of weeks.
|William Dam Seed Order|
What I love about Pinetree is that they sell small packets of seed for an equally small price. Most “regular” seed packets contain many more seeds than I could ever use, even in the 3-4 year life span that most seeds have. For the same price, I can purchase 2 or 3 different varieties from Pinetree and the packets still contain more seeds than I generally need.
|Pinetree Seed Order|
Baker Creek is all about heirlooms - they have many unusual heirloom varieties that you can’t find elsewhere.
|Baker Creek Seed Order|
Unfortunately, I usually find that some of the varieties I want are not available at any of these sources, so I have to expand my search to other seed companies. In order to keep costs down, I like to purchase seeds from as few companies as possible. The cost of the seeds themselves often isn’t all that much (although it can really add up, especially if you are into ordering many different varieties like I am!), but some companies charge an excessive amount for shipping. Territorial Seeds, for example, charge $7.95 for standard shipping PLUS an extra $10 to ship to Canada….I can’t think of any seed variety that would get me to pay $18 for shipping.
So my plan is usually to order what I can from my three go-to companies and then choose only one “extra” source each year. Unfortunately, this generally means that I won’t be able to get every variety that I want. Varieties that I can’t get go back on the list for future purchasing & I then substitute other varieties that are being offered at the chosen seed houses.
This year I decided that the extra source would be Renee’s Garden. I REALLY wanted to get Romanesco squash and Michelle commented on a prior post that the variety sold at Renee’s was different from many others, being an F1 hybrid (and this was the likely reason for its hyper-productivity in her garden!). I looked around their site and found several other varieties of veg that I wanted to try in order to get the most from my $7.95 shipping charge. All of the seeds I purchased should last for several years, so even if I enjoy these varieties, I won’t have to reorder from Renee’s for quite some time (leaving the door open to try varieties from other companies).
|Renee's Garden Seed Order|
And now, without further ado, here is my seed purchase list for 2015:
You may notice that there is one additional source listed that I haven’t mentioned yet – High Mowing Organic Seeds.
In the last few years, many companies who did not previously ship to Canada, are now doing so. I also recently noticed that some shipping rates have changed for the better. When I found a few varieties that I wanted to get at High Mowing, my original thought was that I would put these on hold for a future purchase as my “extra” company this year was already chosen. But then I double checked their shipping charges – and would you believe they now have FREE shipping….to Canada. No, it is not a misprint…I checked ;) What it IS is a miracle, especially as most seed companies don’t even ship for free within the United States (or within Canada, for that matter), much less outside of it.
Moral of the story? Don't assume. It's always wise to check, just in case. And this goes for the opposite as well, where costs may have gone up. After spending hours scouring a company's offerings and building up your cart, you wouldn't want an unpleasant surprise come checkout.
|High Mowing Seed Order|
So looks like I will now have four go-to sources – happy, happy, happy….I love shopping for seeds.