By Diane Lockspeiser
For most of my life I’ve used the quiet time in January, after all the holiday activities are done, to plan my garden for the coming year, taking stock of what viable seeds I have on hand and buying what I need or want. I prefer to buy organic seeds because I figure it means fewer poisons going into the environment to grow them, and I prefer to buy from smaller companies when I can.
Back when my garden was much MUCH smaller, I would just pick from whatever was available in the store. These were usually offerings from the larger corporations like Burpee and Seeds of Change (owned by Mars, Inc), but I was able to get some items from a small developing company in Vermont called High Mowing Seeds. They were available at the local fresh egg and poultry farm store I often shopped at (yes, such things do manage to exist even in the suburbs of Long Island).
When we moved here and my garden grew substantially larger and more ambitious, I started perusing all the seed and plant catalogs that arrived in the mail in January, and ordered from them. I mostly settled into companies located in California.
During the disruptions of the pandemic, the western wildfires, and in one case severe illness (the owner only started growing organically in the first place because of a cancer diagnosis), those sources either went out of business or started selling only to commercial farmers. I made do with whatever I had or could find in the store.
Searching online last year, I found that little company from Vermont (despite not remembering their name!) and ordered a catalog. By then, they were out of stock of many of the items I wanted.
SO, this year when the catalog arrived in early December, I made the time to put in my order right away. Everything was in stock (yay!) and I already have most of them.
In the spirit of getting to things early, I also made my swap at the library seed exchange. I love it mostly for trying out new plants, since there are little packets to fill with just a few seeds. If you have a pole, fence, or trellis in the sun, try out my heirloom string beans. They are so easy to continue every year that I haven’t bought string bean seeds in over 20 years!~