Seed catalogs in the mail are one of my favorite sights. I order them in December and they come in early January, like a breath of fresh spring air in my mail box.
In this digital age, some might think that catalogs are going obsolete. That they are a waste of paper and can be replaced by a website. That might be true for the big Sears catalog or other places, but I love seed catalogs.
3 Reasons Why You Still Need Seed Catalogs Today:
1. First, I like to lay out all of the catalogs together on the table and look at them. Next, I compare the pictures and the varieties of plants available. Then, I also compare the prices and seeds per pack. Even though I could do this online, it is much easier in real life.
2. I like to have the catalogs as reference throughout the year. The catalog tells you important information about planting and length of germination. It also shows you a picture of what the plant will look like when it’s fully grown.
3. They are FREE (well, not all of them but the ones below are)!
My Seed Company Recommendations
Here are a list of a few seed companies that I order from. I quoted from each company their mission statement for their business. This is in no way an exhaustive list of seed companies.
Here is a link to a longer list on this blog. These companies have free catalogs and good variety with competitive prices. If you are new to seed ordering, I would recommend trying several varieties from each catalog so you can find one company that works for your needs.
“We conserve and promote America’s culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.”
“At Annie’s we are always testing, growing, and trying all the heirloom vegetable varieties we can find to bring you the very best. Chosen for their reliability, ease of growing, delicious flavor and spectacular color, each favorite is the one we pick year after year to grow for our table. If you feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to choose, then the Annie’s favorite is a great way to go!”
“Our mission is helping families, friends, and communities to feed one another by providing superior seeds, tools, information, and service.”
“2017 marks our 149th year helping home gardeners grow the best fresh produce and most beautiful flowers, and we are delighted to greet the new season with lower prices, exciting new varieties and garden supplies, and classic favorites that always out perform others in beds, borders and containers!”
“At High Mowing Organic Seeds, we believe in re-imagining what our world can be like. We believe in a deeper understanding of how re-built food systems can support health on all levels – healthy environments, healthy economies, healthy communities and healthy bodies. We believe in a hopeful and inspired view of the future based on better stewardship for our planet. Everyday that we are in business, we are growing; working to provide an essential component in the re-building of our healthy food systems: the seeds.”
Baker Creek produces a beautiful, high quality catalog every year. I love looking thru it each winter. They also have a great website. They have so many amazing and fun varieties of heirloom seeds in their catalog, the possibilities are endless.
What kinds of seeds should you be looking for?
All of these companies offer non-GMO, heirloom, hybrid and organic seeds. What do these labels mean? Let me break it down for you:
Non-GMO: GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) are seeds that have been genetically tampered with or changed in a laboratory. These are unnatural and we can’t be sure what the long term benefits to health will be. It is VERY important that you get Non-GMO seeds for your garden.
Heirloom: These seeds are older varieties that have adapted to weather and other conditions over centuries. these seeds usually do better in certain areas where they have adapted. Also known as heritage seeds, you can save these seeds at harvest time and get the exact same plant the next year.
Hybrid: The crossing of two parent plants of the same kind to produce a desired result. These seeds often produce better in certain conditions. But if you save the seeds for next year, it is unlikely you will get the exact same plant.
Organic: Organic seeds are grown by organic farmers. They have not been exposed to any chemical at any point. They were planted, grown, harvested and packaged using organic methods only. Organic seeds can be either hybrid or heirloom seeds.
Seed buying time is a great time of year. There is so much excitement to try new things and so much hope for the future. I hope to save some of my own seeds this fall, but for now I will enjoy this time and wait for spring!
Where do you get your seeds? Let us know in the comments. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!