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Let’s Talk Seeds: Your Guide to Growing Success

Feb 22, 2024

Let’s Talk Seeds: Your Guide to Growing Success

Spring is just around the corner and if you haven’t already, it's time to start planning and ordering seeds for the upcoming gardening season. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting out, selecting the right seeds is crucial for a successful harvest. We're excited to share some valuable insights and tips for ordering seeds, along with a few of our favorite seeds and seed sources!

A woman looking at a seed catalog

January and February are when the seed catalogs begin arriving and this typically is when the gardener starts planning out their garden season. If you don’t receive catalogs, subscribing to seed catalogs is a great way to begin the new gardening year. These catalogs not only offer a wealth of information but also provide a beautiful visual of possibilities for your garden. To sign up for seed catalogs, simply visit the websites of your favorite seed companies and look for options to subscribe to their mailing lists. You'll then be among the first to receive the latest editions, filled with vibrant images, detailed descriptions, and valuable tips to help you plan and grow your dream garden.

But know that you don’t have to order your seeds online, there are so many other options. You can purchase seeds from local garden centers, online retailers, farmers' markets, community seed swaps, and more. Each option offers a unique selection and convenience, allowing you to find the perfect seeds for your garden.

3 image collage of pink flowers, flower catalog, and a handout.

5 Steps for Ordering Seeds Online

I primarily order most of my seeds online due to my numerous favorites, some of which are exclusively available online. Each year, I order these same seeds over and over. Online ordering also allows me to discover new varieties that open up my world of greenhouse gardening even more. In fact, on Tuesday, I planted African violet seeds that I would have otherwise never likely tried. But, keep in mind, you can also find quality seed packets at local big box stores, which I also purchase. Ultimately, choose the method that suits you best!

  1. Plan Your Garden - Before ordering seeds, take time to plan your garden layout and consider factors such as space, sunlight, and soil conditions. Determine which plants you want to grow and make a list of the seeds you'll need.
  2. Research Varieties -Explore different varieties of seeds available for each plant you intend to grow. Consider factors such as taste, disease resistance, and suitability for your climate.
  3. Check Seed Viability - Look for reputable seed companies that offer high-quality seeds with good germination rates. Check for the seed packet's expiration date and any germination information provided. The expiration date is not always easy to find online, but I do check once I receive them and have never had an issue with receiving out-of-date seeds.
  4. Review Seed Catalogs/Shop Online - As mentioned above, browse seed catalogs or websites from various seed suppliers to compare prices, varieties, and shipping policies. Pay attention to any special offers, discounts, or bulk deals that might be available. By ordering through seed catalogs/online, I have discovered amazing plant varieties I would have never been exposed to otherwise.
  5. Place Your Order - Once you've finalized your seed selection, place your order with your chosen seed supplier. Double-check your order to ensure you haven't missed any essential seeds and consider adding a few extra packets for experimentation.


Seed Saving

Seed saving is a wonderful practice that allows gardeners to preserve heirloom varieties, adapt plants to local conditions, and save money.

Multiple seed packets spread out on wooden table inside a Yoderbilt Greenhouse
Multi-colored purple blooming flower

Our Favorite Seed Sources

Although it was really hard to even consider narrowing down our favorites to just three, we did want to share some of our favorite seeds and seed sources.

Angela's Favorites

When ordering seeds, I'm kind of like a kid in a candy store, my eyes are bigger than my time to plant. Having a greenhouse allows me to grow plants that I can't buy at my local nursery, that's one reason ordering seeds is so fun. I have listed 3 seed sources that I use regularly.

  1. Johnny Seeds - I order from them often and am happy with the quality of the seeds. I have been most impressed with the Salanova lettuce seeds I purchased. So far, there is 100% germination and the plants look amazingly healthy.
  2. Botanical Interests - This is my first year ordering from this company and so far, the seeds do not disappoint. I have had 100% germination with each variety I have planted. I am about to plant a round of herbs...I'll keep you posted.
  3. Ferry-Morse Seed Company - I pick these seeds up from Lowes because of convenience and have had success with this brand as well.

Shannon's Favorites

I can wholeheartedly agree with Angela’s reference to a kid in a candy store, I’m sure many of us can. As mentioned above, I start 100% of my plants by seed in my greenhouse. With careful attention during the summer months, I do this year-round. Some of my very favorites would be:

  1. I adore Carnival and Confetti Sweet Peppers from Johnny Seed. I order them year after year and have always had great success. In fact, I just started my summer plants in my greenhouse yesterday.
  2. Geraniums – If you've been following us, you know I adore geraniums in my greenhouse throughout winter, and then they overflow onto my porches, patios, and gardens from late spring to mid-summer before being tucked back into my greenhouse. I use several seed sources as I use a specific color palette in red, light pink, coral and salmon, but my very favorite would be Swallowtail. The pricing is great, and I’ve always had amazing germination rates.
  3. As with Angela, one of my very favorite sources for seeds is Botanical Interests. The pricing is amazing, germination has been phenomenal, the variety is huge, and, let’s be honest, that packaging is adorable. I order so much from them all year long but if I could only order one thing, it would be any of their lettuces, particularly the Chef’s Choice or Market varieties.