Gardening From Seed: Less Money, More Variety

Shari Altman
seed catalogs

Photo by Shari Altman

For the past few years, I've been growing most of the plants in my garden from seed, either by sowing seeds directly into spring soil or by growing them indoors and transplanting them later. There are many benefits to growing plants by seed.

For example, seeds are less expensive than transplants. Seed packets become an even more economical choice if split among friends. Also, buying seeds allows you so many more choices when it comes to flower and vegetable varieties. You're no longer limited to the varieties that are available at the local garden center. A big plus in my book! Where else  can you find the blue Himalayan poppy or the rattlesnake pole bean?

There are many wonderful seed companies out there. Here are just a few of my favorites:

High Mowing Organic Seeds - Based in Vermont. Great varieties for those who live in a northern climate, fast and friendly service. Heirlooms available. Over half the seeds I planted last year were from High Mowing, and I was impressed by the yields.

The Cook's Garden - Based in Pennsylvania. Unusual varieties from around the world selected for flavor and taste. Custom Mix seed packs allow you to try different varieties. Heirlooms and organics available.

Seed Saver's Exchange - Based in Iowa. Wonderful selection of heirloom seeds. Organic seeds available.  Membership opportunity offers greater discounts.

Fedco - Based in Maine. Informative and entertaining catalog. Great prices. Organic and non-organic seeds available.

Some garden centers offer seeds from these companies, but of course, you can always order online.

Do you garden from seed? Why or why not?

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