I got the 2012 Pinetree Garden Seeds catalog Friday. Their's is always the first catalog of the season for me, but WOW, this feels so early to me. Guess I'll move my ritual of organizing, planning, and buying seeds over the Christmas holiday to the Thanksgiving holiday. Still, after this summer, I'm willing to look at anything with green plants. Even a catalog!
I just got mine yesterday and had the same reaction. It's always been a Christmas holiday ritual for me, too; maybe Pinetree just wants to get in ahead of the others. But I always wait until they're all in to see what's available from the different companies and compare price and descriptions before I make my final decisions. This does seem way premature, though. I still have to take down my tomato and bean poles!
flsusie wrote:I received Gurney's Sat. and Stokes yesterday. Anybody know of a good supplier for the south, especially Florida? I sure miss Kilgores.
Don't get me started.
I still get Gurney's and Stokes catalogs, and they go straight into the recycling bin. As do many of the other "standard" catalogs from New York, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and other points mid-west and northeast, unless I save them for descriptions. They are marketing seeds mostly adapted to very different growing conditions than those faced by gardeners in the Deep South. All you can do is listen to people who grow down here, make lists of varieties that have done well, search the county extension sites of your state and surrounding states for best times to plant, and cherry-pick from some of the better "generalist" catalogs for your seeds. Actually, there are areas of the world that are much closer to us in growing conditions than anything north of Alabama. Parts of Southeast Asia, Southern China, India, Africa, and South America support varieties that are far better adapted here than what grows in Pennsylvania or Michigan or Iowa. Also keep an eye out for varieties from the Mediterranean area, but watch out for humidity/rainfall differences - plants that grow well there may succumb to the problems of our humidity, unpredictable temperatures and often poor sandy or heavy clay soils.
Some of the West Coast seed houses sell varieties that do well here if you allow for differences in the growing seasons and provided they can stand our heat. And one exception in the East is Johnny's (in, of all places, Waterville Maine), because of their generally high seed quality and descriptions; I find a lot of their spring/summer selections do well here in the winter!
I used to think Park Seed Co in South Carolina would be a good choice for the humid South, but they tend to go for the latest "shiny thing" - All America selections, glossy pictures and all that. I order more from Vegetable Seed Warehouse (http://www.seedsforthesouth.com), Kitazawa, Territorial, Southern Exposure (in Virginia, not really "Southern" the way we mean it), and Baker Creek than I do from all the Me Too companies. I also order from quite a few specialty seed "companies" - some with only a web page and a few varieties of seeds from the Caribbean or Italy, or suppliers of only pepper or tomato seeds like the Tomato Growers Supply Company.
I think the best approach (for me at least) has been to find a variety I want to try, then find a seed company that sells it.
Rich - can you imagine gardening in South Florida before the internet? That's what I did for many, many years! I just had to rely on seeds purchased at local gardening centers. I purchased my first two computers for my business in the 90's. My first introduction to the internet made me wonder what it could possibly good for.
Now, of course, I couldn't live without the internet!
When I first wanted a computer in the early 80's, DH wondered what I would possibly use it for. That one didn't even have access to the web or the internet because it wasn't there yet. I remember seeing Mosaic, the first web browser, for the first time. It was amazing!
HoneybeeNC wrote:Rich - can you imagine gardening in South Florida before the internet? That's what I did for many, many years! I just had to rely on seeds purchased at local gardening centers.
Oh, believe me, I understand! We used to have a decent seed house in Atlanta called Hastings, IIRC. They went bankrupt, unfortunately, shortly after they expanded into all sorts of "home decor" items and "gift" crap that had nothing to do with their core business. Got greedy, I suppose...
I still get a little nauseous when I see a Northrup King display at a local store. What a waste of time and money.
Having recently moved to the South, I'm learning to find new seed sources. I love all the catalogs, and love to look through them all. Most, well, they end up in the restroom here at work--if you know what I mean. I've found I like the ones Rich mentioned as well as a few others. Willhite Seed is here in Texas. They give good advise if you call and ask which would be best for your area as well. They are not necessarily organic, but I'm trying to work with things that will succeed at this point. I'll fine tune my organic efforts once I get the veg garden established. www.willhiteseed.com
Don't get me wrong - I love browsing through some seed catalogs just to read about new offerings.
Thompson and Morgan is a perennial favorite, though I do really miss their old catalog. They used to combine English & North American instead of separating them, and the variety list was amazing. I guess they've had to cut back on things to remain in business, or had trouble getting some seeds into the USA without all sorts of expensive tests for diseases (which I do understand the need for...but still...).
The mention of Thompson and Morgan brought back memories of my childhood. I do believe this is the Company that my mother purchased our vegetable seed from. I went to their site and ordered a catalogue.
Just got my Dixondale Farms catalog! Already ordered...last year I waited and some of my order was already sold out. Doesn't really count as a seed catalog, but still.
I always ordered my nasturtium seeds from T&M as they always had something different from the rest of the seed companies. Nasturtiums seem to have caught on since I first started growing them because everyone seems to have a wide variety now.
HoneybeeNC wrote:The mention of Thompson and Morgan brought back memories of my childhood. I do believe this is the Company that my mother purchased our vegetable seed from. I went to their site and ordered a catalogue.
Try going to their British site at http://www.thompson-morgan.com. I am constantly amazed at the wealth of resources and dismayed by comparison with American sites - even their own, or maybe ESPECIALLY their own! For example, their English site page on Hardy Annuals has a sidebar that allows you to instantly pull up lists of seeds by Soil pH, Scented Flower, Caution (harmful/poisonous properties), Edible Flowers (99 listed!), etc. There is nothing comparable on their American site, or anyone else's that I've found.
My Dixondale long-season onion sampler is ready to go out beginning this weekend. I know I'm taking a calculated risk for growing long-season onions down here, but one or two of the UBERS explained that the longer they're in the ground (especially over the winter), the larger the bulb will be. I got a respectable showing for my first attempt this year with the short-day sampler, but, since they just breezed on through the coldest months we have here (Jan/Feb), I've decided to back up the train and start them 6 weeks earlier than I did this year. The sets were planted out on January 8th, my B'day, and harvested between July and August.
Since it was a scorcher in Texas, I had no hope of anything resembling a cool root cellar. So, I punched holes all over a large plastic bowl, stacked them carefully and put them in the garage on top of the clothes dryer. From August until last weekend, all but about 5 of the onions did fine. As I was reaching for one, I disturbed a cloud of fruit flies. So, with that, I carefully removed the non-infested onions, and chopped them up for the freezer. 5 got tossed. I planted a total of 120 sets.
terri_emory wrote:I always ordered my nasturtium seeds from T&M as they always had something different from the rest of the seed companies. Nasturtiums seem to have caught on since I first started growing them because everyone seems to have a wide variety now.
A perfect example of the difference between the UK T&M and the US T&M.
Their American catalog lists 20 distinct varieties of nasturtium. That sounds like a lot, until you look at their English catalog and count 32 varieties, not counting mixtures...
rjogden, I'll have to look at the English version of T&M. Seem like we should be able to have the same offerings, but David Austin Roses is the same way. Look at the UK version of Austin's website and they have so many more offerings. In this case though, the greater variety for the UK has something to do with trademarks and registering the variety as "property" of DAR and licensing fees. Still, it doesn't seem fair! If I could get Fighting Temeraire and Cariad here I would be one happy little Austin Rose addict!
Gymgirl, I planted my onion starts on New Years Day this past season. It worked out really well and I got a very nice crop. It was my first year growing onions here in Texas. I'm right on the border for short-day and intermediate-day. So last year I ordered the variety sampler for both short- and intermediate-day. This time I ordered the ones that did the best this past season: 1015Y Texas Super Sweet, Hybrid Souther Belle Red, Red Torpedo Tropea, and Yellow Granex. I've already got some potato onions and some shallots planted out and up and growing. Dixondale says they won't be able to ship until Jan 9th, but that's OK. I've got some garlic to plant out so maybe I'll just do that on New Year's Day. If I can hold out for that long!
Did you go with the fertilizer from Dixondale? Just wondering, 'cause most of what I've read says they love phosphorous. I mixed Bone Meal into the potting mix (EBs) and scratched some into the topsoil once a week, once they were established.
Wondering if this was enough. The EBs did the lion's share in the beginning, keeping them hydrated round the clock for me! Toward the end, I was filling the EBs up almost every day! Thirsty 'lil boogers!
Did you go with the fertilizer from Dixondale? Just wondering, 'cause most of what I've read says they love phosphorous. I mixed Bone Meal into the potting mix (EBs) and scratched some into the topsoil once a week, once they were established.
Wondering if this was enough.
Bear in mind that what make bonemeal such a wonderful organic fertilizer is the same thing that limits it's use as a seasonal application - it tends to be very slow to break down and release it's phosphorus. Bone is tough stuff.
Got the Pinetree catalogue yesterday, as well. I've never ordered from them, but they keep sending me catalogues anyway. I try really hard to "not peek" at my seed catalogues until after the first of the year, when I really am needing a "fix" of something gardening-related. Why do them keep sending them earlier and earlier? I'm afraid I'm going to weaken LOL
Southern varieties might work for me - we're south of the Mason Dixon line if it had continued eastwards - but I also prefer open-pollinated or heirloom varieties so I look for seed catalogues with generous offerings of those types.
Doug9345 wrote:I've never ordered from them because I've always viewed them as leaning toward varities for the South.
One of my litmus tests for whether a seed company "leans South" is to check their bulbing onion offerings. What we grow deep down here are short-day varieties, and there are quite a number of them around now but you still have to hunt them down. Twilleys offers only three, all F1 hybrids. OTOH they offer seven long day types (including the Spanish onions), and the shallots on the same page are long-day as well.
Frankly, I'm also less than enchanted with their ordering system - they're stuck in the 80's. I actually prefer direct ordering over the internet because I have an instant physical record of what I ordered and when, and I don't have to be concerned about being misunderstood over a bad phone connection, or give out my credit card numbers over an open line. (I use "virtual card" numbers, one-time-use numbers offered by online services like Discovercard and Citi Mastercard backed by their security guarantees, and I never have to worry about someone hacking into a small retailers' records).
greenhouse_gal wrote:It's hard to imagine that there'd be greater interest - seed companies have been selling out of their stock early the past few years! But never having been to England, maybe that's true.
I've never been there either, but growing up I remember all the references to the "typical English cottage garden" in all the old "cyclopaedias", along with early color prints showing wild profusion of perennial and annual beds covering what in the US would have more likely been a bare expanse of sterile lawn from curb to foundation. I have heard it is no longer that way, though I know they still
I deeply regret tossing my old T&M catalogs over the course of several changes of address, thinking that there would of course be another one "next year" - until one year, what came instead was a generic "American-style" catalog twice the size and with maybe a quarter of the varieties.
I've never been there [to England] either, but growing up I remember all the references to the "typical English cottage garden" in all the old "cyclopaedias", along with early color prints showing wild profusion of perennial and annual beds covering what in the US would have more likely been a bare expanse of sterile lawn from curb to foundation. I have heard it is no longer that way, though I've heard they still host annual flower shows that are world-famous and well-attended.
My brother still lives in London, England and has a beautiful garden. He did have a vegetable garden, but found the birds ate more than he did, so he's changed it to a lawn and flower garden with a pond.
I find it fascinating to tour England on Google satellite and then go down on street level photography. The English are traditionalists with their hedges, iron gates, brick walls along the street, brick two story housing, and often very short front yards [gardens!]. Really, i don't see many gardens there or anywhere for that matter.
Kew Gardens is fantastic and is tremendously diverse. They have Lilypads that are 6' across.
Shoot, we've got those right here in little ole' Gainesville Florida! Kanapaha Botanic Garden grows Victoria Lillies from seed every year, and they are at least 6' across by midsummer. Absolutely beautiful.
Quoting: never tell anyone they have a nice yard. Tell them they have a nice garden.
In England, a yard is a paved area (no soil) - a garden is where one plants vegetables, flowers, trees, etc. A lawn is where one would have grass.
Quoting:The English are traditionalists with their hedges, iron gates, brick walls along the street, brick two story housing, and often very short front yards [gardens!]. Really, i don't see many gardens there or anywhere for that matter
Whereas most city houses have very small front gardens. They usually have a larger area in the rear. My grandmother had a long narrow garden in the rear of her home, with a large chicken house.
My mother lives in a home in Cornwall which was constructed around 1952. It, too, has a smallish front garden, but in the rear there is an extensive garden where we raised all our own vegetables when I was a child.
Although I have not visited my Brother's home in London, I have seen photographs, and from them, it would seem, that he has an enormous rear garden. Again, a very small garden in the front of the house.
My cousin purchased a home recently in the Greater London Area, I'll have to ask about her garden.
Speaking of British home gardens, I know it's off topic to the topic of seed catalogs, but it was a comment here about British home gardens that prompted me to google on something, and now I just have to share. I lived in England 1993-1996 and we were lucky enough to rent a 3-bdrm house on a large rolling lot. It was mostly grass and field. I do remember one rock garden, a couple roses and rhubarb near the house, a 10x20 veg plot, and we also enjoyed 1 apple and 1 plum tree, a a gooseberry bush, a currant bush and a long hedgerow of blackberries. It was nice, and the view down the valley was spectacular. I remember thinking then that I would never again live in such a beautiful place. But fast forward 15 years and holy cow, look at it under new ownership - British home gardening at my old British home: http://lowfold.net/default.aspx (gets you to Home page, then you can click to see various vantage points of different garden areas).
Okay, sorry for the threadjack, just couldn't resist.
LiseP I think this is worthy of a new thread. Like "Look where I used to live". Did you just find out that it had its own site? That in itself is remarkable. It is beautiful. I see something that I never saw when I was there, SUN.
Please make a new thread, I dont know where lol, so more people can see this magnificent story.
Good idea, 1lisac. I've just put it in its own thread over on the garden design forum. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1231503/
Yes, I just found the link yesterday. (So as not to veer off of seed catalogs further, I'll put any other comments over on the other thread).
HoneybeeNC, England is great for gardens, that's for sure. Everywhere you look in Yorkshire is worthy of a calendar photo. 1lisaC, I hear you about the sun. It was always just about to rain, raining, or it had just rained. (There's probably a connection, lol, between all those gardens and all that rain).
Very cool! Thank you from me, too, for the link! Many ideas are churning through my little brain (I'm in the third year of starting new veg and rose gardens from a blank slate)! There is a woman on HMF who has posted many photos of her garden. She seems to be going for the same look, but in Virginia (if think--of course I can't find the link I saved to her photos right now). Roses mixed w/evergreens and perenials...Well, thanks again, Terri
Yep, England's a gardener's mecca. But check this blog by a gardener from England who has now made an amazing kitchen garden in Texas. http://wwwrockrose.blogspot.com/
(Look down the page for before and after pics of her kitchen garden - fantastic).
I don't know if she's a member here on DG, but I find her garden very inspiring.
Hmmm, I wonder what seed catalogs she uses! (Okay, just trying to get this back on topic, lol).
Gymgirl - I grew-up in an era when girls wore skirts! I once tried to bribe my daughter into wearing a dress when we went out to Thanksgiving dinner, and she refused! (I think she was about 16 at the time - she's now 40)
I grew up in an era when girls wore skirts, too. That's all we wore to school, every day. But I have lived in jeans since then; it made more sense when I was dealing with farm animals! When DH and I were first married and my mother and stepfather came to visit us on our island in the Pacific Northwest, my stepfather observed that my whole wardrobe probably didn't cost me more than $10...Actually I thought that was pretty cool.
LOL, GG! No, it was too cold to go naturist. But they saw us dressed just about only in jeans and flannel shirts, and they thought it was funny. They had a lot more clothes in their suitcases than we did in our closet.
Sounds about like how I like to go! There was a great t-shirt giveaway recently, and I collected about 60 shirts. I kept all the ones that fit me, and reach for a new one every day. That, and a pair of jeans and the old gardening shoes is how I like to travel -- really light!
"I am really leaning towards growing all heirloom varieties next summer so I can avoid GMOs and the companies that produce or sell them"
Honeybee, just speaking out so others won't mis-read your words into something that isn't...
GMO's aren't yet available to the general public so you are safe ordering from any home gardener catalog. GMO seed is only for big commercial farms/farmers and they have to sign papers and be approved to grow them.
Also, just buying "heirlooms" will keep you away from hybrids and GMO's but also just buying hybrids will also keep you away from GMO's. I hope you see my point. Personally, I went over ten years only growing what is now known as "heirlooms" and "heritage" plants. Only about five years ago did I delve back into a fe3 hybrids (mostly tomatoes) and see that I was missing out on some very good veggies. Some of those hybrids I've de-hybridized and many of you can do the same. (I actually think many hybrids may already be stabilized but are still called hybrids so people continue to buy new seed.)
By the way, Baker Creek no longer grows/produces all their own seed but has joined the ranks of the many companies who buy wholesale seed stock. Because they have a nice catalog leads us to believe they are a home-based business, which they once were. Don't get me wrong, I'd support them if I didn't already have better sources for my seeds.
Horseshoe wrote:I actually think many hybrids may already be stabilized but are still called hybrids so people continue to buy new seed.
I'm no attorney, but AFAIK if they are labelled "F1", they pretty much have to be hybrids - otherwise, they're illegally labeled. And as the names associated with F1 hybrids are generally copyrighted, selling anything else under that name would be considered infringement.
Quoting:All of our seed is non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated and non-patented.
We do not buy seed from Monsanto-owned Seminis. We boycott all gene-altering companies. We are not members of the pro-GMO American Seed Trade Organization! We work with a network of about 100 small farmers, gardeners and seed growers to bring you the best selection of seeds available! Many of our varieties we sell were collected by us on our travels abroad.
I looked up "American Seed Trade Organization" and could not find a reference. There is an "American Seed Trade Association"
I'm beginning to feel that I should start supporting those companies working to preserve heirloom seeds, or there may come a time when they are no longer available and lost to antiquity.
I plan to buy at least something from Baker Seed. I like what I see and love their catalog. Plus, I pay attention to John Kohler who does the growingyourgreens youtube videos and Baker is high on his list. Just yesterday, he did a youtube from the Baker seed store, where he had gone to see a video on GMO, and he talked about it a little and showed a little bit of the store and the catalog. I wish he'd talked more about GMO but it was nice to see the store.
I know that Bakercreek gets some of their seeds buying in bulk but I still love them. They have a fantastic selection and as I understand it they TRY not to do business with any of the companies that do have GMOs, even tho the average gardener couldnt/wouldnt have access to them anyway. They also have great customer service meaning that when you call you speak to a human. The few times I have not had good germination rates they have refunded or replaced no questions ask.
Ditto what you said, Lisa...Baker Creek does have excellent customer service. I've spoken with Jere Gettle several times, mostly when he was just starting out, and he was extremely helpful. And that was before I grew seeds for them in 2004.
"I'm no attorney, but AFAIK if they are labelled "F1", they pretty much have to be hybrids - otherwise, they're illegally labeled"
Rich, yes, F1 plants are definitely considered a hybrid. The point I was making was that you will find that some hybrids will breed the same or close to the same crop the following year. It is often in F2 stages and beyond you will find yourself getting a multitude of who-knows-what. I've stabilized a few hybrids over the years and was surprised to see the older varieties showed very little reverts. Most of the early-day hybrids only had two parents, fairly easy to stabilize. The modern day hybrids are another story, often having 8 parents and up. Personally I think it is fun working with a few of them!
Honeybee, when Baker Creek first started out they grew all their seeds until they branched out, getting other local farmers/growers interested in helping out. I'm quite sure they don't buy seeds from Seminis or Asgrow and the like so I'm positive you'll not be buying (or supporting) the big agri-businesses more prone to dealing in GMO's/hybrids, etc. And yes, please do continue to support the "heirloom" varieties and the companies that sell them. Knowing you I have no doubt YOU will be contributing to saving seeds and continuing on as so many others of us have.
LiseP, John Kohler rocks! And thanks for supplying the You-tube link...I'll be sure to go view it when I come back in.
Shoe (who just picked some beautiful Chinese cabbage..hmm, time to make KimChee this weekend!~)
GH-Gal, I wandered away while posting and missed yours. Very quickly, there were some years when they did have bad germination rates. This was due to some of the suppliers, again local growers/backyard farmers, who were supplying some of the seed. Since it was being done off the farm they had no way to monitor growing conditions and/or seed saving. Now that they (Baker Creek) have guidelines and proven growers it is much better now.
Shoe (and yep, their prices are a bit steep but if you look at it as buying a life-time supply of seeds it helps cut the pain level down! *grin)
Well, you never know when it comes to germination. So many factors come into play. Some folks are much better at it than others so it may have been a personal experience and someone felt it was the seeds rather than the way the seeds were germed. From what I've read from your posts I have no doubt you know how to grow things from the ground up, or rather from the seed up, so I'm sure you're good to go.
Off to gather eggs before I lose my daylight!
Another thing about BC is they offer some unusual cultivators, so poor germination maybe do to a seed that needs"special treatment ". I can't say I have ordered from any seed source that is 100% perfect, but when I have a problem I like to know that the Co will work with me. BC has ALWAYS been great about that. When I had trouble with Eggplant germinating they gave me advice AND replacement seed. I don't think it's fair to rate a company unless you have notified them there was a problem. I sell seed balls and the only way I know that the seeds didn't germinate is if somebody tells me. Then, I hate to say this, usually the customer didn't follow the directions ie sow in fall for spring blooms.
As I mentioned above BC offers some very unusual culivators so I would assume germination would be different. Some types of Hot peppers can take a month to germinate, even with a heat mat. If I hadn't read this I would have tossed them and written a bad review LOL Nothing should take that long to germinate. Lol
I've also had good luck with Totally Tomatoes as far as germination rates and selection.
THats an interesting observation re hot peppers. I have grown daturas and they are related to peppers and tomatoes. You can see the structural resemblance in the pods/ fruit. Daturas will sit in a pot for a month and then pop. So it should be no surprise for peppers to do that too, but I have never heard anyone say that.
Thank you for all the comments on this thread -- quite helpful in my ordering process -- late this year, but done now and I'm most excited! Seeds on the way, 8 new pullets cozy in the bathtub, fencing in the garden begins in 10 days...and, of course, the dogs are shedding like crazy...HAPPY SPRING!!