Am I paying too much for seeds??

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Leah IL, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. Leah IL

    Leah IL momto6

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    I just read a thread about buying walmart seeds, and it got me wondering. This is my first real garden this year, so I ordered the Burpee catalog because I'd heard of the company and my neighbor told me that they were the best seeds. The seed packets cost, on average, about $2.95 each. Am I getting robbed here, or are these seeds worth it? Why are Burpee seeds $2.95 a packet while some seeds are a dime? If anyone could enlighten me, I'd appreciate it. I want my garden to be successful, but if I am just falling victim to good advertising then maybe I could go with a less expensive option.

    Thanks!
    Leah
     
  2. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    Hmmm ... it depends!

    If you're looking for a particular variety, especially a hybrid or rare heirloom, you can expect to pay more for the seeds.

    However, a Roma tomato is pretty much a Roma tomato, whether you pay a couple bucks for the seed, or 10 cents for an American seeds packet.

    Shop around, experiment, see what works and what doesn't. Take advantage of seed exchanges on this and other boards. Look for local sources whenever possible -- for one, it encourages merchants to stock gardening-related supplies. :)

    Most of my utlitarian (non-heirloom) seeds in recent years have been purchased at the local feed store. They buy in bulk from a wholesaler and package and sell them by the pound. A packet of 100 or so seeds generally ranges from 25 to 40 cents. (I kid you not!) Sure, the selection is rather limited ... for winter squash, they'll usually have Waltham butternut, and acorn. For cucumbers, good ol' Straight Eight, and a pickling variety. But these are tried-and-true kinds that perform well in our area. My "basic" seeds last year (squash, cukes, pumpkins, beans and peas) ended up costing, I think, $6. No shipping costs, either! :D
     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    I like to get the cheap ones because they are pretty much all open pollinated. Then I look thru the catalogs and chose the varieties that I want that are not available in the cheap seeds. The cheap ones are rather limited in variety. But why pay 2 or 3 bucks for a pkg of sugar baby watermelon when I can get it for a dime? Then I will use my seed money to get a different variety to try. But I am saving more seeds with each garden.

    Another thing to remember when you start to plant your seeds. Don't go by the spacing for the seeds given on the pkg. You will just waste most of the seeds. Get something like 'square foot gardening' from the library and see what spacing you really need. Then save the seeds that you don't plant and use them next year. Just tape the pack shut and put all the pkgs in a mason jar and close the lid tightly. Put the jar in a cool dry place out of the sun.
     
  4. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    The day I got my Burpee catalog, I spent about two hours marking stuff. Then, I had to run to Wal-mart. They had just gotten finished stocking the new seed display...of Burpee seeds... for 98 cents a pkg!!!

    I'm still ordering my roots...but the seeds are coming from Wal-Mart!

    Even if quantity is the difference, the packs hold enough for me, of just about everything!

    Meg
     
  5. bonnie lass

    bonnie lass Semper Fi

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    Check out www.artisticgardens.com, they have some unusual and heirloom stuff, and the sample packs are only 35 cents. The packs are small, but how many seeds do you need? They offer larger size packs for $1, and the shipping is $3.50, no matter how much you order. :)
     
  6. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    With Burpee and several other of the larger seed companies you are paying for a lot of the research they do for seed improvement. Ever hear of a burpless cucumber? Burpee, I believe, are the ones that developed them.

    Take a package of your Burpee seed, open it, and count the number of seeds in the pack. Do the same for a really off brand package. If you have extra seed, also do a germination test. Most states require certain germination requirements, so there shouldn't be a great deal of difference, probably the % will be stated on the package.

    In many states it is illegal to sell outdated seed.

    Yes, I think that you do pay more for Burpee seed. I for one am willing to pay somewhat more because they produce one of the best descriptive cataloges that I know of. Slick and glossy and the photos are better than on the cheap papered ones. Wasteful? Perhaps, but you can get a better idea of what the crop may yield looks wise. I am also willing to pay more for Burpee products because of the ongoing research they do. I am also willing to pay more for a company that I KNOW will stand behind thier products and not cheat you with order switching or other foul ups.

    Having said all of that, Burpee does not all of my seed purchase money each year.

    We also might talk about paying more for Parks seeds. I'm willing to pay a little more because of the special packaging. I really think that germination probably benefits from the special packaging. If I were to store for wtshtf, I'd store Parks seeds.
     
  7. bonnie lass

    bonnie lass Semper Fi

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    I think research is wonderful, I work in research, it pays my bills, but I myself prefer to grow heirloom, open pollinated seeds that have not been tinkered with.
     
  8. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    A couple ways of looking at this.

    If you pay $2 for a pack of seeds, for example. And it comes from a reputable supplier having the type of plant desirable for your tastes or market, then the cost of the seed is fairly negligble compared to the cheap seed that might cost 50 cents. If you have say 200 seeds in the pack, and pay a penney for each on the expensive brand compared to 4 seeds for a penny of the cheap seed. It's almost like splitting hairs for the regular gardner. And for the commercial market gardener, they buy quantity or make up for it in the price of the end product.
    I mean if you sell a plant or vegetable for a dollar from a penny investment on the seed, that's not bad.....and you get the type you want.
     
  9. limhyl

    limhyl Well-Known Member

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    Ordered mine out of Pinetree nursery in Maine. All of mine are open pollinated and cost less than a dollar per pack. That beats walmart! Although I did break down and buy some there too. You can't have too many seed varieties now can you? Theresa.
     
  10. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    You are right; you never have too many seeds. A gal needs lots of seeds to keep her busy in the winter. It is fun to trade seeds also. Most people like to get them in the mail and try new varieties. We trade with neighbors also. The past few days we have been planting different vegies; it is so fun to think of summer again.
     
  11. diamondefarm

    diamondefarm Well-Known Member

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    I buy my specialty/heirloom varieites from a catalog or online. The usual ones (green beans, etc.) I buy at a farm store when they are on sale.

    If you live in the OK/TX/AR/KS area, Atwoods stores has an $.8 per packet seed sale going on right now. These are all stamped "packed for 2005". Flowers and Veggies both.

    I loaded up!
     
  12. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    Thanks for the info on Atwoods. Meybe I'll jest mosey on up there and get some chicken feed a little sooner than planned and see what kinda seeds they have!
     
  13. beginablarp

    beginablarp Member

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    I get most of my seed from Pinetree in Maine, and have gotten nothing but excellent germination and results, they also have really reasonable shipping rates, which is where a lot of your money ends up going. I always get a couple of things from Johnny's, also in Maine, because their catalog is so informative, I use it as a reference guide when shopping from everywhere else.
     
  14. Bluecreekrog

    Bluecreekrog Well-Known Member

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    I buy my seeds at the feed store, fresh seed and you can get what grows best in your area. IMO bulk is best.
     
  15. Leah IL

    Leah IL momto6

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    Come on Spring, come ON!! I am too excited after looking at all these catalogs and websites. And to make matters worse, I just got my free seeds in the mail from Martin!! I am planned out! Thanks for all the information. I checked out everything you all posted. Pinetree looks absolutely wonderful, and Artistic Gardens looks great too! I guess I will save a few dollars this year. I'm going to buy my onions/garlic/potatoes at the local feed store and either order seeds from one of those places or check out some other local places in town. Thanks so much!!
     
  16. KendraB225

    KendraB225 Member

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    I get some of my seeds from Pinetree, Baker's Creek Heirloom Seeds, & Wal_Mart. But most come from the local Feed & Garden store. They sell large packets for the farmers. I get the best prices there.