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Buying 'quality' seed?

Posted by prairiemoon2 6A MA (My Page) on
Sat, Dec 25, 10 at 9:50

I am planning to purchase a good amount of seed this year, more than I usually do. I am looking at seed companies and finding it difficult to figure out which companies offer quality seed. Prices are really high for the most part. I was shocked when I set about putting everything I wanted into a shopping cart on a site where I thought the prices were in the mid range and it was almost $75. Without shipping costs.

So I want to make sure I am buying seed that someone is being very selective about. Being sure to separate only the best plants for seed collecting etc. I can't see how you can know that about a company.

I have bought from a company in the past that had low prices, but the plants they produced seemed to me to be of inferior genetic material.

I have gone to Garden Watchdog and I'm looking on the recommended sites but rating a company by the good service they give is different to me, from the quality of the plant you end up with.

Has anyone solved this problem for themselves?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Buying 'quality' seed?

PM2 - I've gotten excellent germination + plant quality from Diane's Flower Seeds the past two years. I will be placing another small order with her in the next week or two. She's a Watchdog 30 company on Dave's Garden and has been ever since I first discovered the site.

I also got excellent quality plants grown from Hazzard's seeds ordered on 12/31 last year during a free shipping period. One seed type was chelone - white turtlehead. I WS the seeds and the plants bloomed first year.

I ordered from Swallowtail a few weeks ago and received the seeds but can't vouch for their germination/plant quality yet.

RE: Buying 'quality' seed?

I'm with gardenweed_z6a. I ordered from Swallowtail. This is my first year with them and decent prices. Free shipping over $30.00. They come nicely and carefully packed. No amazing pictures on the cover, but neat.

RE: Buying 'quality' seed?

Good morning and Happy Holidays... time to get serious about the seed shopping. [g]

Gardenweed, thanks for that info on Diane's Seeds. I did take a look at all the Top 30 on Garden Watchdog and I was hoping someone would know something about Diane's Seeds. I see a few I wanted to order. I like Open Polinated that I can collect and depend on to come back true. I also like to send my business to small seed companies who are being careful not to use Genetically Modified seed. So that's good to hear! I have my eye on the Historical Pansies especially.

I've never heard of Hazzard's I'll give them a look.

I see a few on the Swallowtail site I'm interested in. I'm hoping someone has had some experience with them and will report in for us. Yes, Ladyrose, I see the free shipping, good idea. Don't you hate paying for shipping? Especially with some companies that charge an arm and a leg for it. It's just this week that they have their free shipping too.

I want to suggest FEDCO seeds in Maine. A very nice company that also offers no GMO seed and a good amount of organic seed. GREAT prices. I've tried them before.

Has anyone tried J.L.Hudson?

Thanks, gardenweed and lady rose. :-)

RE: Buying 'quality' seed?

I always use Geoseed. Very best prices, best seed (my germination experience), most varieties , cheapest shiping. They seem to be more for commerical growers but they are very, very nice and let us buy from them.
Problem is the catalog. To get it in a usable form you have to click "Online Catalog". When that darn thing loads you will see icons at the bottom of the front page. The third icon from the left will say "save pages" when you pass over it with your mouse. Click that icon and you will get to download a PDF version which is easy to use. I also was lucky enough to get a hard copy which I constantly look at. Don't expect growing instructions or pictures for their 8,000 varieties, the professional growers have all that (but you can look that up easy enough. Look up an image on any search engine.)
Always count/estimate the seeds you receive.
Incidentally if you want to not end up "testing" a bunch of seeds and wasting money, first search (on Yahoo or google) for the plant variety you want, plus add the word "Trial" or "trials". There are several trial sites who have tested hundreds of plants. A variety might be well known but only 1 or 2 colors really do well. I like the U of Tennesse, Denver, Cornell, Dallas, NCSU, Auburn and the old U of Florida trials. All have excellent info.

Here is a link that might be useful: Geoseed link

RE: Buying 'quality' seed?

I placed my Hazzard's order yesterday and got their year-end free shipping. I ordered 12/31 last year too. I don't know how long the free shipping lasts but it's worth waiting for if you know what seeds you want ahead of time and can hold off ordering. I ordered some salvia and an heirloom Romaine lettuce Cos Rouge de Hiver (which means something like cold red). The small seed pack has 5,000 seeds/$5.35 so I'm splitting the order with some friends. Also picked out a stunning California poppy called Thai Silk Appleblossom Bush.

RE: Buying 'quality' seed?

Hi Bob,

Thanks for that suggestion for Geoseed and the link. I'll check them out too. I love your idea about doing a search for a trial. I never thought of that. I always like to hear what someone's experiences are with something.

Hi gardenweed, I did head over to Hazzard, I was trying to think of any seed that I might need that much of and there were very few. No one to split one with either, but who knows, next year may be a different story. I really do like that Thai Silk Appleblossom Poppy!

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