It’s that time of year… The most magically time of year for gardeners (other than the actual growing part) – ordering seeds and flipping through seed catalogues!!!!!!!!!! I know I look forward to this as soon as the garden ends. Patiently waiting for them to arrive in the mail.
With everything going on in the world seeds are selling out quick this year. And for good reason, people are finally coming to their senses and starting to take their food supply into their own hands. There is something so magical about starting a tiny seed and nurturing it into a harvestable piece of food.
PSA: Order your seeds now!!!
I’ll go through some of my favourite spots to buy seeds, and things to consider when ordering, but first here are some seed definitions in case you were wondering… because it can get pretty confusing.
Small seeds like carrots and onions are very difficult to plant. They become clumped together due to their small size. Seeds that are pelleted are coated in clay making them easier to handle, separate and use proper spacing. Be sure the seed company you are ordering from uses a natural coating.
Seeds with a coating on them such as fungicide, or pesticide, sort of like a built-in chemical treatment.
These seeds are coated in graphite, helping the seeds pass through the seed machines and for ease of visibility for workers and larger-scale farms.
Seeds that are created by two patents of the same variety. They produce offspring that is much like their parents and are contain more reliable characteristic form season to season. If you save seeds, make sure you have open-pollinated varieties. (Definition from westcoastseeds.com)
When pollen from one plant variety is used to fertilize the flowers of a different variety, the resulting seed will produce a hybrid variety. The resulting plant (known as F1 hybrid) will have characteristics from both of its “parent” varieties. Not all hybrids produce good results, but sometimes these cross-bred plants will have superior flavour, shorter growing season, cold-hardiness or immunity to disease. (Definition from westcoastseeds.com)
Varieties that are grown over 100 years ago and that same seed has been saved over many generations. Exhibiting the same characteristics as they did 100 years ago! Think great-grandma saving seeds that you can now plant today, super cool!
Seeds that have not been grown with the use of chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
It is the broadest way of describing the artificial manipulation of heritable traits of organisms to exploit specific characteristics. (Definition from westcoastseeds.com)
Favourite (Almost all Canadian) Seed Companies
William Dam Seeds
One of my favourites. They have a lot of varieties and everything seems to germinate quickly and efficiently. Great catalogues too! Based out of Ontario.
West Coast Seeds
Another great seeds company, all their seeds are non-GMO. I love their catalogue, they have lots of great tips and advice inside (and on their website). Based out of BC.
MatchBox Garden Seed Co.
A smaller seed company, all grown by the founder! She specializes in organic heirloom seeds and she’s got these really great little seed packs that are super handy mixes. Based out of Ontario.
I haven’t ordered from them yet, but I have requested a free catalogue. Perhaps it will be for next year though at this rate. I have heard great reviews from other Instagrammers. Excited to try! Based out of PEI.
Great seeds! I have had good success with their seeds. They don’t have an expansive collection, but they do have some cool varieties. All organic and non-GMO. Based out of Ontario.
The seeds are good, but not all of them are non-GMO and untreated. I don’t think I have bought any seeds, as I like them for their garden accessories. So make sure you know what you are ordering. I especially love their other products, they have great prices on trays, season extenders, books, etc. Based out of Ontario.
True Love Seeds
A new company I found this year! Looks very cool, they have great collections of different veggies, and they source all their seeds from small scale growers around the states. Excited to try a couple out from them this year! Based out of Pennsylvania.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
I have such a love to their seeds, their mission and their catalogue. None of their seeds are non-GMO, treated, or anything bad. And they have the most extensive varieties of seeds form small growers around the world. They also have tons of heirloom varieties! Based out of Missouri.
Ordering seeds may seem like a big undertaking, but if you take a little time to think about what you actually eat, what your goals are for the season, and what you already have then it’s super easy and super fun!
What you have already
I always get way too excited when flipping through the seed catalogues, I swear I had every page dog eared in the Baker Creek catalogue this year. I made myself go back and check what seeds I already had in my collection, which ones were still good, and how many of each I had left. It made me delete some in my shopping cart. Seeds can last up to 3 years when properly stored.
How much space you
If you only have a couple raised beds, then chances are those 25 varieties of seeds you bought aren’t going to fit!! Whereas on the other hand, if you have a whole ¼ acres to plant, and you only bought a few varieties, then that won’t work either. Take note and buy accordingly.
What you like to eat
This may seem like a no brainer, but it really is important. If your family never eats broccoli (even though the homegrown stuff taste much better than the store-bought and you might change your mind) don’t plant it. Plain and simple. Concentrate on the things you eat the most of.
What your goals are
How do you picture your garden this year? Are you growing things just for your morning smoothie? Only for salads? To feed your family for the year? To can with? Or if this your first year and you want to start small? All things to consider, plan and buy seeds according to your goals!
Planning for different harvest windows
One of the things I like to do is plan for a few different harvest windows. For example with my cabbage, I got 3 varieties. One early, that I can harvest and enjoy in the early summer. 1 mid-season cabbage, for enjoyment, and 1 super late winter hardy that can be used for storage. The same can be done for radish, I love the 18-day radish variety for the spring and adding the winter radish to be able to harvest well into the fall/winter. The same with tomatoes, if you are wanting to make lots of sauce, then you will need lots of paste varieties. I like to do a few paste types, 2 slicers and 1 snacking. Its also good to have one that will mature earlier than the rest, because trust me, waiting on tomatoes to ripen is hard!!
I’ll be writing another post on how I am organizing my seeds this year!! It’s new and it’s great! Stay tuned. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you! What seed companies do you love? What are you planning this year?