Everyone wants a bargain. And if you’re like me you sometimes go with the lowest price only to find it wasn’t such a bargain after all. For example, I once put a cheap battery in my furnace thermostat and couldn’t figure out why the furnace wasn’t kicking in on a cold January day, or the bargain garbage bags that open up as you’re carrying the bag out to the garbage can. In those rare moments when I’m in my right mind I look for quality and the lowest price. Like the snowshoes I bought this year. I paid $100 for a pair, actually it wasn’t the lowest price, but it was the best price for that quality of snowshoe.
The same can be said when shopping for seeds for a vegetable or flower garden. However,with seeds,the stakes are even higher. If you go low and buy the cheapest seeds you will have wasted a lot of time and effort planting and caring for something that just doesn’t perform well, or worse yet, never germinate.
I used to cringe a little when I saw the prices for seeds in one of my favorite seed catalogs, Johnny’s Selected Seeds. However, after years of gardening I see now that paying a little more for good quality seed gives me a little insurance that the seeds will germinate well, grow well from the seedling stage, and produce a plentiful and disease-free crop.
A good example of this is New Ace Peppers. I used to plant bell peppers only to be disappointed by a less than prolific harvest, or even none at all. Not the case with New Ace. You can ask the people I’ve shared transplants with, this one is really prolific! Last summer I had enough bell peppers to sell, give away, freeze, and of course eat fresh in soups and to make stuffed peppers.
The thing to remember about selecting seed is that there is a lot that goes into that little seed. First there is the selection of a certain variety by, no doubt, a group of expert farmers and breeders. These seeds undergo trials and tests before they are selected. Some win awards from the All American Selections, an added bonus. Then there comes the way that seed stock is grown and harvested. A robust crop harvested at the right time will produce the best seed stock. Lastly, comes the packaging and storing. Seed companies like Johnny’s Selected Seed and Jung’s print the dates on the package. Seeds packaged for 2017 were no doubt harvested in 2016. This is important, especially with hybrid seeds, which seem to germinate best if they’re not too old.
Indeed, there is a lot that goes into those little seeds. I’d rather pay a little more for my seed and know that I’ll have more success with the plants and better production than try to save a few pennies and be frustrated with poor germination, disease, and sparse production.
Fortunately, there are many good seed companies out there just waiting to send you a catalog, and of course, most have catalogs online. Here is a list of my favorite seed companies:
HPS (for larger quantities at a reasonable price)