In this Time of Covid, I’m noticing that a lot of online seed sources are either sold out or too busy to take new orders. When has THAT ever happened before? Hopefully, the folks who are starting gardens now will have success and continue gardening in the ‘new normal’ whatever that turns out to be. In the meantime, the rest of us that usually garden are having to scramble to source seeds.
Fortunately for us, for years the gardens here have been planted with ‘open pollinated’ and ‘heirloom’ seeds. That means after they are planted and the plants have gone to seed, the seeds that are collected from the plants will produce more plants like the one the seed was collected from. The original seeds for the lettuce I’m planting now (‘Crisp Mint’ romaine) was bought six or eight years ago and the seeds have been collected from each successive planting. Which also means the plants are now very suited to my specific garden’s growing conditions. AND I’ve not had to buy lettuce seeds for the past half decade and that allows my seed money to be spent on new and different varieties.
So, you get to save money with OP & Heirlooms by being able to save seeds. But, even more important, they taste better. Since picking things out of the garden takes a bit more effort than picking them off the grocery shelves, it’s so much more worthwhile to be able to pick things from the garden that taste better. Grocery store produce is selected for things such as how long it can be shipped and what it looks like, not necessarily what it tastes like. It’s nice to have a pretty veggie, but it’s way more important to have a tasty vegetable.
So where do we get the right seeds? Are there any more available now in this Time of Covid? A friend of mine couldn’t get her seeds from her usual source at Baker Creek since their website was overwhelmed when she wanted to order so she got some seeds from eBay. Her ‘basil’ seeds from eBay turned out to be daikon radishes once it sprouted and grew.
My primary ‘go to’ seed source is also Baker Creek Seeds. They have a huge amount of varieties and they’re all Open Pollinated and/or Heirloom. However, as mentioned, due to volume a lot of their seeds are currently sold out and sometimes their entire website is shut down because of too much volume. Here’s a link to their site which may be useful to you sometime later when they get less volume and are able to process orders again:
Baker Creek Seeds https://www.rareseeds.com/
Here’s some alternate seed sources which may be of use to you. Some of them may also be overwhelmed, others are still shipping although with some time delays. Since as a new user I’m only allowed a few links per topic, some of the URLS will have to be cut and pasted or typed into a browser search box. Hmm, it still won’t let me post after removing the links, guess now I’ll have to remove the entire URLS. So, guess you’ll have to do a true search to find these links.
Kitazawa Seeds, OP seeds with lots of Asian varieties.
Sow True Seed, OP, Heirloom & organic
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Sample Seeds, small site, but nice selection. Limited selection at this Time of Covid since the site owner has to also get out to the garden and plant out next year’s crop for more seeds later.
Sand Hill Preservation Center They have an online .PDF file for a catalog and you get to print out an order form and mail it in, but they do really good work in saving varieties of plants and animals.
Sustainable Mountain Agricultural Center https://www.heirlooms.org/ Mostly beans and tomatoes but varieties you can’t find anywhere else
University of Hawaii Seed Program Seeds for Hawaii climates
San Diego Seed Company
And, if you’re looking for fruit trees which will produce in a warm climate, these folks list their plants by how many ‘chilling hours’ are required each winter and they have a description of what exactly constitutes a ‘chilling hour’. They also ship trees to Hawaii, that’s a big thing for those of us who live here. I’ve had some mainland sellers tell me they “don’t ship to foreign countries” as a reason why they won’t ship to Hawaii. Sigh! I’m sure it’s worse for the poor folks living in U.S. territories. Anyway, Bay Laurel Nurseries will ship to Hawaii and they have fruit trees which will produce here:
Bay Laurel Nursery
So what online sources do you have to get your seeds and plants? What criteria do you use to select your seeds?