The 2021 mail order gardening season is already going strong

2020 was a banner year for mail order gardening. So many people who were quarantined at home decided to plant a vegetable garden and the seed companies experienced a record number of sales. 2021 is shaping up to be the same. I'm already hearing reports of so many sales, some companies have suspended their on line stores until they can catch up with filling the orders. That, compounded with their employees having to quarantine, or are actually sick with covid, slows the whole process down. Please be patient as these vendors deal with a number of unique covid-related hardships. Prepare to order early as a number of companies are already sold out of their most popular items.

colorful seed packets

Check with the Garden Watchdog for good sources

I've been buying plants and seeds on line for about twenty years now and I have to say, it is a wonderful experience. I've bought everything from heirloom vegetable seeds to African violet plants. The selection is vast and I feel great about helping out some of the smaller mom and pop operations as well. However, I do my homework before filling up my virtual cart. That's where the Garden Watchdog comes in. There are thousands of mail order vendors that sell plants, seeds and garden supplies. The on line shopper needs guidance as to which ones are the best for what they want and the Garden Watchdog reviews are an excellent place to start. The Garden Watchdog is a searchable database of thousands of companies and you can be specific as to the types of products you want. You can sort the system to show you only seed sellers, or plant sellers, vegetable vendors or trees and shrubs. There are over one hundred specialities you can sort by. You can even sort the system by rating, so you can see the favorite vendors for each speciality. It is such a useful tool. You can read reviews of other customers and we encourage you to post your own reviews of your experiences. Please let everyone know if you have a great experience. So many people are quick to post a bad review and the good guys need that virtual pat on the back too. Let others know you were happy with the experience. With so many companies experiencing delays and shortages this year, it is a great tool to find alternatives if there is something you just have to plant.

various vegetables

Shop early for your mail order gardening needs

If you are ordering seeds, please order early. With shipping being so uncertain, this will assure you of a timely delivery. That way you can plant them at the best time for your climate. If you are ordering plants, I would advise doing that early as well. Even if there is snow on the ground, get your order in line so that when the temperatures warm, your plants arrive promptly. Waiting until your weather moderates might put you so far down the list, you may not get your order filled. The mail order plant vendors are cautious about shipping conditions and will hold your plants until the temperatures in your zip code are safe. I've ordered caladium bulbs from Florida many times and my vendor lets me know by email when he feels it is safe to ship. I've never been disappointed.

caladium plants

Mail order gardening offers unique plants and seeds

Mail order gardening lets you experiment with plants that you might not ever get the chance to grow. I've even ordered a pomegranate tree, however here in west Kentucky, it did not survive the cold winter. My next project will be figs. There are a number of varieties that are supposed to be hardy in Kentucky, so I'm planning on trying a couple this spring. Many of these mail order vendors are small, family operations and are quite knowledgeable about their products. They are more than willing to share their knowledge with their customers. They can recommend varieties that should succeed in your climate or steer you away from something that might struggle.

figs on a tree

Start small if you are a new gardener

As the new gardening season approaches, take some time and plan what you would like to grow. Visit the on-line stores to see what is available. If you are an experienced gardener, challenge yourself with something new. If you are a new gardener, my advice for you is to take things slowly. Learn to take care of a few things before you jump in with both feet. It is easy to get overwhelmed with bugs, weeds and a jungle full of plants. Start with a few tomato plants. Peppers and squash are also easy and produce well. Whatever you grow, make sure your family likes it. If they don't want to eat the harvest, it doesn't make much sense to grow the plants. This year is shaping up to be another banner year for gardening, so start early and enjoy yourself!