seed catalogs vs. store bought seeds

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by blhmabbott, Dec 21, 2003.

  1. blhmabbott

    blhmabbott We're gettin' there!

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    Was just wondering what makes you decide to order your seeds from a catalog or buying them from a store. My mother used to order alot of her seeds, but I have found that I can buy all my seeds at several different stores in town (I still live in the same town I was raised in). Seems to me it would be cheaper buying them in the store, but I can also understand ordering what you need that you can't be found at the stores. We have a nursery that sells the basic vegetable seeds in bulk, so it is much cheaper to buy those than to order. I'm getting spring fever already and wish I had subscribed or ordered some seed catalogs just to spend the long winter nights thumbing through them to plan my garden. Could anyone provide links to some seed catalogs so I can order some free copies? Or is it to late to order them? Anyway, was just wondering what makes you decide to order or store buy your seeds.
    Heather
     
  2. RANDEL

    RANDEL Well-Known Member

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    i but from seed catalogs mainly for the variety they provide. store seeds are fine and you can grow a fine garden from them, but they tend to be bound by mass-marketing considerations. nurseries are imho, better in this regard, than walmart or home depot.

    you may be able to get all the seeds you want at the stores, but once you start studying catalogs, i think you'll find a few that you didn't know you wanted!

    also, its tradition. we order our catalogs and read them over and over again in the depths of winter when we can't be outside much.
     

  3. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some varieties just can't be purchased locally. Also most I find are treated and if you want untreated you have to order.
     
  4. blhmabbott

    blhmabbott We're gettin' there!

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    Thanks to both of you for replying. I'm afraid I don't understand "mass marketed" or seeds being treated. Could you explain please?
    Heather
     
  5. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Treated seeds will be purplish in color due to a fungicide coating that helps to resist rot and some other organisms. Orgic growers tend not to want treated seeds as ,if I remember correctly, the compound has mercury in it.
    If you want pure organic you need to avoid treated seeds.

    Mass marketed refers to the most popular seeds that are pushed on the public and neglects the older varieties that don't ship well or are odd shaped or do best in particular climates/soils.

    Many old heirloom varieties fall out of the area of mass marketed seeds.
     
  6. diane

    diane Well-Known Member

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    Organic veggie sellers CAN NOT use treated seed. They also have to use seeds that have the classification "organic" meaning they came from organically raised seed stock. It's not a choice if you want to be legal.

    My local store does not have what I want when I want it. They only handle a few types of tomatoes and no organic seeds at all.

    Here are a few of my seed catalog web addresses.

    Thompson & Morgan...... www.thompson.morgan.com

    Pinetree Garden Seeds..... www.superseeds.com

    Territorial Seed Company.... territorialseed.com

    Stokes Seeds INC......... www.stokeseeds.com

    Park's Seeds........ www.parkseed.com

    I think you can order catalogs on line at each of those sites.
     
  7. I've always gotten most of my seeds from a local Farmers Co-op store in a nearby town. I've never had a problem with them as far as growing but you have to be a fast shopper cause they only order so many seeds for the year and once they are sold out they don't buy anymore until next year. In another town nearby where I live there is a fruit and vegetable stand that sells seeds year round. I don't have as good of luck with their seeds, I feel like when I go to them in the spring to buy seeds that they are still selling last years seeds and that maybe the reason why they don't grow as good. I do order from seed catalogs once in a while. If I see something that looks interesting then I might order it and give it a try.
     
  8. blhmabbott

    blhmabbott We're gettin' there!

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    Thanks for the explainations, website addys and more info! I now know that I was wrong in thinking I was growing everything organically. I guess if the seeds can't qualify as being grown organically, then neither can the vegetables I produce with those seeds. Very disturbing to me. I am going to check out those web addys now and see if I can get some good catalogs with reasonable prices.

    r.h. - I have also been buying some of my seeds at my local Farmer's Co-op. I've been wondering what the pink stuff is on the corn seed I've been buying....I guess now I know it's some kind of chemical something or other to prevent rotting. It sure grows some delicious corn though :rolleyes: . And I love your siggy line!
    Heather
     
  9. Sometimes when you buy seeds at a retail store, they have not been
    stored properly and germination suffers for it.

    Example: our local Wal-mart keeps the seeds in the greenhouse, in the heat and humidity. I've even seen them get splashed by overspray when the clerks are watering.

    I guess its no big deal if you're buying a marked down packet of 50 cent seeds, but if you're making a large purchase, I'd go the catalog route - those folks have a reputation to protect and take better care.
     
  10. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It seems to me that the majority of seeds in the stores are hybred seeds not open pollinated and the variety available in stores is very small. I get the Totally Tomatos catalog that has literally 100s of varieties of tomatoes alone. Ordering from cataloges also allows you to get more types of seed specifically for your growing region. I need short season (90 day) high altitude varieties for my area and beans that do real well in Georgia just won't do here. Also most of the seed varieties you get in the store are the same varieties sold in the grocery store with the same, usually bland flavors. You cannot buy Brandywine tomatos in the grocery or Amish Paste or blue potatos or really good old time dry baking potatos. LIkewise small individual cauliflower and broccoli. I love Nantes carrots which are not available in the grocery store. They do not keep or ship well.
     
  11. blhmabbott

    blhmabbott We're gettin' there!

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    A slight twist to my original question: Do you find your yields higher with seeds/plants ordered from a catalog compared to the store bought seeds? Price is a huge factor for me right now, but if I'm going to get a larger yield for my buck I need to look at that aspect also. Thanks!
    Heather
     
  12. blhmabbott

    blhmabbott We're gettin' there!

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    Goatlady, again, thank you for your advice. And I agree with what you said about "how" the gardening is being done and how that will impact the yields. I wish I could do a square foot garden. I've read lots of books and articles on it, and there is a slight chance I'll get to build one, but we will probably be moving in the next month or so. The soil where we are moving is in pitiful shape and the garden spot hasn't been plowed in about 2 years. That is our first priority so that I can start planting something in Feb. Like you said, all seeds produce something. I will probably do quite a few tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets this year also.
    Oh...kinda got off topic...sorry. Since I'll be working with a "new" piece of ground this year I guess I'll do everything I know to do, come ask all my questions here, and hope for the best. You've been extremely helpful and thank you for sharing your knowledge with someone who is still learning!
    Heather
     
  13. ahotee

    ahotee Guest

    Planting and growing methods are important but so is viable seed. Large seed companies sell most of their seed in bulk to large growers. What's left over is packaged for the home grower. Its not always in the best condition or this years seed. If you start a pack of tomato seeds and only 20% germinate, you got bad seed. The seed companies count on you to blame yourself for the bad performanc because you did something wrong.Knowing the germination rate of a companies seed can save time and money and frustration. Take ten seed of a specific plant,i.e. tomato. Wrap them in damp paper towling, enclose in a plastic bag and let germinate in a warm place. Now count how many seed germinate. 2 seed give you 20% ,9 seed give a 90% germination rate.
    I buy from small organic/heirloom companies who maintains a rate of 80% or better. I used to buy quite a lot of seed from a british owned company. They specialized in exotic seed from around the world. They were sold about 12 years ago and went thru several owners who had no clue about seed storage. The quality went down and the price went up.
    I stoped buying. Saving your own seed from the best plants grown in your garden gives you plants adapted to your growing conditions. Every year you plant out your own seed enables that seed to mutate itself just a little more. There's a lot of truth in the stories told about some old time gardner having the best produce in the neighborhood.
     
  14. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    I ordered from Nichol's Garden Nursery about 20 odd years ago and then when I finally got a place to garden again I mistook Pinetree for Nichol's. I didn't particularly like them but they are okay.

    I finally found Nichol's again and they are still family owned, offer organic seed and have pretty good prices. I just ordered $40. worth of seed from them and will probably order some more before the year is out.

    I also order from Johnny's they are about the same but have some that Nichol's doesn't.

    I ordered a new catalog that I had never seen before and I couldn't describe it to do it justice!!! www.jlhudsonseeds.net They also sell some great books. They are a seed preservation company that licenses seed NOT to be interbred or genetically ingeneered, trademarked or patented in any way. Their seed is public domain.

    Great prices with botanical names. They have several books I would love to get right now..."Source List of Plants and Seeds" 363 pages, sources for 70,000 species, varieties and cultivars available from 500 mail order companies.

    Also, "Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience." Talks about how some of our environmental groups are embracing eco-fascism and even calling for a "Green Adolf" The book is geared towards preventing these groups from ruining and perverting environmental efforts.

    "Principles and practices of Seed Storage" 289 pages. I definitely could find a use for this book. It identifies the humidity, temperature and time frames. Also ancient records.

    They also sell Gibberellic Acid Kits. This is a naturally occurring acid found in plants that hastens the germination of seeds and for any of you who do market gardens or greenhouse/nurseries this is excellent.

    This catalog also includes, shrubs, lily seeds, trees, medicinals, fern spores, fruits, ect.
     
  15. blhmabbott

    blhmabbott We're gettin' there!

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    Thanks guys! Interesting website....still trying to make heads or tails out of it lol.
    Heather, who is STILL waiting for her seed catalogs :waa: