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Starting Seeds

Carol of May Dreams Gardens recently put up a great post called Seed Buying - Method Or Madness. In this post she rhetorically asks her readers what kind of seed buyer they are. Here are my answers.

Do you carefully read all of the seed catalogs sent to you and then browse the Internet to compare and contrast all the options, then decide which seeds to buy?
Yes - I go through each and every catalog that I get in the mail, page by page and pour over all the vegetable, flower and shrub descriptions. I keep track of zone information, plant height, days to maturity, sunlight requirements and I even have an Excel Spreadsheet to help sort it all out.

Do you buy seeds from 'bricks and mortar' stores and get whatever appeals to you as you are browsing?
Yes - Although I'm more of an impulse bulb shopper than an impulse seed shopper. $5.00 Elephant Ear Bulbs? What a bargain! I'll take six.

Do you buy vegetable seeds in bulk where they scoop them out of seed bins, weigh them and put them in hand-marked envelopes?
No - They have places like this? Give me an address and I'm there.

Do you know what stratification and scarification are? Have you done either or both with seeds?
Sure I know what they are and usually rub some of my larger seeds with sandpaper. Sorry to say though that as a Dad of two young ones, my fridge is too full of juice boxes and Gogurts to fit any seed packets. On the other hand, I have bought pre-chilled bulbs. There I go with the bulbs again. Sorry this is supposed to be about seeds.

Do you order seeds from more than one seed company to save on shipping or buy from whoever has the seeds you want, even if it means paying nearly the same for shipping as you do for the actual seeds?
This year, I'll try to limit myself to 2 or 3 seed companies but in the past (when I was making more money) I would actually get the seeds shipped rush delivery. Nobody wants their seeds sitting around in a hot shipping company.

Do you buy more seeds than you could ever sow in one season?
Well in January it's completely within the realm of possibility for me to give all those seeds the attention that they need to turn into great looking healthy starts. But by June the seeds must multiply or something because I somehow have extra seed packets that I have to hide from my wife. Oh yes honey, I used everything I bought. I should probably buy even more next year.

Do you only buy seeds to direct sow into the garden or do you end up with flats of seedlings in any window of the house with decent light?
Five words for you. Fluorescent Indoor Seed Starting Rack. Nuff said.

I'm going to skip over the rest of her questions because I got the Seeds of Change catalog in the mail today and it's sitting on my counter all by itself. I'm a big fan of their True Gold Corn. Plus this post is getting pretty long. Thanks for the great post Carol.


  1. Carol said...
    Thanks for answering the questions. I'm enjoying reading all the answers people are posting. It's interesting how seed sowers seem to all have some things in common, at least those who are posting answers.

    Go to an old-time hardware store or feed & seed store to find seeds in bulk, mostly vegetable seed!
    Tracy said...
    Anthony - I just found your blog through May Dreams Garden - it's great! I've already saved a link to your dad's post on dandelion wine. Maybe making some wine will make me appreciate the yellow field I call a yard. I also saw your post on your trellis, which is exactly what mine looks like (except for a diagonal bar in the back that they guy at Home Depot said I had to put on or it would fall over). Plus, your vegetable area bears an uncanny resemblance to mine. Check out this link to see: http://timberglade.typepad.com/outside/2006/05/its_official_al.html

    Anyway, it's good to find you!
    Tyler said...
    Is your seeds of change catalog the professional version or the garden catalog. Trying to figure out when mine will get here :)
    Colleen said...
    "Oh yes honey, I used everything I bought. I should probably buy even more next year. "

    I love this! I've used this one on my hubby almost every year, meanwhile stashing full and half-full seed packets in my file cabinet drawers :-)

    Great post, Anthony.
    Blackswamp_Girl said...
    LOL... Colleen just posted the comment that I was going to make.

    I love Seeds of Change, but never buy from their catalog since my local health food stores carry their seeds. If you haven't yet tried the 'Yellow Intermediate Mangel' beets, you definitely should--they made a beet-lover out of me!
    Anthony said...
    Carol, thanks for inspiring us all. Well done.

    Tracy, our gardens do look similar, except for the fact that yours is incredibly neat and mine is usually a giant mess. I love those wide paths. My beds are so close together that all my plants grow into the paths and block me out.

    Tyler, I just get the regular garden catalog.

    Colleen, I feel better knowing that someone else out there is a seed stasher. :)

    Blackswamp_Girl, I'm already a beet lover, but I'll give the 'Yellow Intermediate Mangel' a try since you recommend them. Now where did I put that catalog.
    Annie in Austin said...
    Anthony, I'm glad you are back in gardening and planting mode - you had so much energy diverted by the pool last year! I use spreadsheets to keep track of plants, but never used them for seeds.

    I've also posted on seeds at my blog, but it's less current & more nostalgic.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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