Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Great seed companies...

Over the past two years I've gotten a vegetable garden bug. No, not actual bugs in my garden, although there are many. This bug is in my head and on my heart. I want to have a bountiful vegetable garden of my own.

Growing your own garden has many benefits -

  • You know where your produce came from. There is no question about what had been put on them; you grew them.
  • The therapeutic side-effects from working in your own garden are wonderful! Gardening is proven to decrease stress (once you get the hang of it!)
  • Your whole family can be involved in the growing process. Kids love to watch the magic that occurs when a seed is fertilized and loved by the sun.
  • Kids that grow their own food have a greater tendency to eat more vegetables! That alone should sell you on gardening...
  • You can share the bounty with neighbors and friends. Yes, I said share. Many of us are so wrapped up in our own lives that we have effectively cut ourselves off from the remainder of the world. This simple gesture will provide unlimited opportunity to grow your neighborhood connection. This connection creates safer communities, happier communities, and a little giving of yourself never fails to add happiness to your life.

This quest led to finding a great seed company. I'm a research fanatic. I've never known anyone to order seeds from a catalog. I'm sure someone I know has, but I suppose we've never discussed it.

Store seed displays are a magnet for my attention. I can spend an hour browsing the packets and wishing the purchase of this packet would enable my garden to look like the one on the pictured. Admittedly, I have never experienced that, but I never give up hope!

Is there anything wrong with purchasing seeds at the store? No, not in my experience, but there tends to be a limited selection. Sometimes I like to try something new and different. Have you ever served blue mashed potatoes or tiger striped tomatoes? What a feast for the eyes as well as the palate!

We also try to buy organic and heirloom varieties when feasible. Hybrid selections have been cross-bred so much that I worry about the quality of the produce. A few seem to lose flavor and vitamins in the mix. My family is a whole lot more likely to eat vegetables that taste good versus ones that look pretty and lack flavor.

I've found hundreds of seed catalogs, through the internet and gardening magazines. How do you narrow down a list of hundreds to a manageable number of perhaps 10? I'm still searching...

During this search I've found several great websites that offer opinions on the best companies. I love the ones that give experience information. If someone has had multiple problems there is a chance I will, too. If there are tons of rave reviews then I feel pretty safe in placing an order.

Skippy's Vegetable Garden blog contains lots of observations and experience results with various seeds. She prefers Johnny's Selected Seeds, Botanical Interests and Sand Hill Preservation Center, but I notice she also receives Burpee and Seeds of Change catalogs.

Growing Groceries blog recommends five companies - Heirloom Acres Seed, Tomato Growers Supply Company, Bountiful Gardens, Johnny's Selected Seeds, and Baker Creek Seeds. He also notes purchasing experiences with each company.

Life on the Balcony prefers Botanical Interests and Territorial Seed.

Plan Garden has a list of companies submitted by their readers. Many of these are companies that have been in business for years and duplicates from other lists. They also offer software options to aid in plotting your garden!

About.com likes these seed companies - Seeds of Change, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, Johnny's Selected Seeds, Burpee, Territorial Seed, Main Street Seed & Supply, Botanical Interests, Natural Gardening Company, and Dirt Works.

Mother Earth News recommends tons of different companies and has links listed by states.

Hope you find some seed company inspiration here...best of luck gardening!

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