Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ordering Seeds!

Seed catalogs - possibly my favorite kind of mail. I think, between all of us, we are probably signed up for every seed catalog available to the east coast. We get all organic seed catalogs, all heirloom catalogs, catalogs for larger growers, catalogs for smaller growers, garden supply catalogs that also sell some seeds....the list goes on. There is nothing like opening up a fresh catalog and drooling at all the pictures and variety descriptions. These are some of our favorites:

As we go through them, they start to look a little more like this:

We sat down a few days ago to try to hammer out our seed order for this season. We secured another acre across the street which means we will be planting a TON more than last season. Each catalog is a little different and I think it may be one of the few things left that still feels simpler to do with the actual paper copies rather than online.

Some catalogs have no pictures at all, just very thorough descriptions and comparisons.

Others have beautiful photographs - they are the most fun to thumb through.


Our favorite place has to be Fedco Seeds out of Waterville, ME. They have everything we could want. For example: they break up their seed selections into open-pollinated and hybrid. Since we do our best to only use open-pollinated and heirloom varieties, this is so helpful! (If you are wondering what the difference is, the most important thing to know is that you CAN save seeds from open-pollinated plants and you CAN NOT save seeds from hybrid plants.) Most catalogs will tell you if it is one or the other, but they don't separate them into sections.
Another nice thing they have are really entertaining descriptions of each variety. Like this one for the Yellow Brandywine tomato:
"When she's good, she's very very good, but when she's bad she's awful." And about care and culture: "Compost the weird-looking fruits." Ha! Or for a variety of mizuna mustard greens we are getting called Ruby Streaks: "As if an artist had carefully brushed deep purple filigree on the delicately serrated leaves of mizuna." Who cares if they have pictures - who can resist that?!

Fedco's general philosophy is also something we appreciate. They are a co-op "to maximize social capital for the benefit of [their] entire community" rather than a profit driven company for the benefit of a few owners. They offer resources to seed saving organizations and they do not carry genetically modified seeds (on purpose). They even test their corn and beets to make sure! And so clearly, you can guess, they also avoid Monsanto seeds. Not to mention, their prices are absolutely unbeatable. They are often half to a quarter of the price of other popular seed companies.

There are definitely other places we like: Johnny's Selected Seeds, Territorial Seed Company, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange, etc. but we by 95% of our seeds from Fedco.

It took us two full days, but we got our seeds ordered! Can't wait until they show up!