Is anyone ordering seeds yet?

christie_sw_mo(Z6)December 6, 2013

My kids are asking me what I want for Christmas so I was thinking about ordering some seeds for them to wrap but don't want to get last year's seeds. I don't think I've gotten any catalogs yet. Maybe I would be better off to wait.
I didn't grow any watermelons or cantaloupe this summer and missed them. Got to order some of those.
Also missed having zinnias for the butterflies.

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gldno1

I have received Park Seed and Vermont Bean Seed so far. Not ordering yet....I am going to cut way back this year.

I want to concentrate on zinnias, cosmos and some more annual flowers to see if I can entice butterflies back.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 8:49AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I think the seeds could be old even if you buy them in the spring. Packaged for 2014 does not mean that is when they grew. A reliable vendor should sell good seed and do germination checks.

I am participating in a tomato seed swap. I hope I don't plant too many tomatoes again because I neglect my flowers. I don't seem to be able to control myself.

Last year my friend's daughter had nice annuals left over from her pots. I have no restraint. If I had extra plants I would have filled more pots. Anyway angelonia and cleome Senorita Rosalita were very good plants. I would rather have a gift certificate to a nursery and buy the pricey plants because the seeds for angelonia that I saw at Park's were 10 for about $4. Except for easy things like zinnias, seeds don't always grow to be a plant. I sometimes have high mortality. 10 small seeds could easily perish. For superior annuals and new introductions I think the seed is very expensive. Vegetable seeds and common annual seeds are usually a good bargain.

I love the melampodium that Glenda got me started on. I think it should reseed; I know it does in the summer. I have to train myself to recognize the seedlings because they look like weeds to me.

I would be pleased if someone gave me potting mix but your children would not think of that as a good gift. You may have already done your winter sowing. I once got a pile of manure for Christmas but now you can't trust that manure won't have herbicides. A truck load of mulch or a metal shelf with lights would be good gifts.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 1:22PM
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regencylass(5a)

Received my first seed order last week (Seed Savers), and getting ready to place a couple orders more this week, one with D. Landreth and the other with Victory. Regarding old seed, I had a good 80% germination last year from seeds that had a package date of 2007. So buying year old seed doesn't bother me in the least...especially if it's on sale/clearance. :D

My kids would certainly think that seeds (or anything that had to do with plants/garden) would be a great gift for "Mom." Last Mother's Day my youngest got me a couple of new herbs my herb garden, and of course I was delighted. And for my bday, my oldest surprised me with a new grow light so I'm now able ton increase my indoor seed starts. Oh yeah! And they know I'm in heaven when they bring me home a folded Kleenex tissue with seeds carefully tucked away inside which they've gotten (with permission, of course) from one of their friends' parents' gardens or found while on a hike through the woods. But then, we're weird that way. LOL

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 10:36PM
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rockwhisperer(6a)

I just sent in my order to Fedco in Maine. They have a good reputation with people I've talked to and their prices are reasonable. I find their ordering process a little fussy, sometimes they allow internet ordering, sometimes not. I emailed and asked them to mail me the catalog for 2014 when they had it available and I got it a couple of days ago.

I won't order from Burpee or Henry Fields ever again, I've had several problems with them, a couple of summers ago I was so mad at them I was ready to pop.

Atwood's often has seed marked down in the spring, and that's for stuff that's for the garden variety stuff, not too many unusual things. It's marked "packed for" the proper year but yes, I agree that doesn't tell you when it was grown. I always have better luck with gourd seed I've grown myself and I suspect what you get when you order is a couple of years old because of how poorly they always germinate.

I've had a problem for the last several years getting Candy onions. They're a hybrid but I love them. Tried letting one go to seed, just to see what I'd get and what I got was nothing. It made a pretty head but nothing in the seed pods. When I order from Dixondale I never need enough for the quantity price to kick in, and they are expensive. Atwood's was carrying them but they stock them 'way too early, I've lost the whole batch a couple of years in a row from too many late freezes after they've been planted. Last year I noticed Lowe's was stocking them -- and at the right time. I don't know why so many people plant onion plants so early in the spring, it just doesn't work for me and I find if I wait till after the last freeze they have plenty of time to bulb up before the summer heat starts in.

But anyway, I've got enough stuff in my seed stash to grow lots of variety next summer even without buying seed. Much of it is not seed grown 2013 but I planted lettuce and romaine seed last spring that was packed for 2008 and even some for 2006 and got a good stand of greens where I thought none would grow. They were so old that I almost just threw them in the trash. Glad I decided to broadcast them in the wading pool beds because several went to seed and I have gathered that seed. Mostly I'm buying seeds for herbs and flowers that draw beneficial insects and planning to interplant them with the veggies.

I always used to throw old seed away because I believed the propaganda about them not being viable past a year. A few things, that is true of, but many types of seeds will germinate when several years old. Last summer's good big stand of Cowhorn okra was from seed saved in 2009. Old tomato seed take a little longer to germinate but I got good Cherokee Purple plants from 2006 in 2010. And so on.

I have had a bad habit of getting carried away buying tomato seed and I'm trying not to get tempted by a variety I don't have. I love the heirlooms. My favorite is Kellogg's Breakfast followed by Striped German. For a nice solid round red, the jury's still out but I hope eventually to just settle on 3 or 4 varieties that yield well here. Been doing too much playing around and didn't get a tomato crop worth writing home about last year.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 3:32PM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

I ordered seeds all summer (on and off) to winter scatter (things like papaver rhoas, coreopsis tinctoria, etc) that would germinate after their winter chill/early in spring and take off.

As long as seed is properly stored, it doesn't matter much if it was last years seed or this years seed.

Baker Creek Heirlooms sent out a nice tempting catalogue to me yesterday...first paper catalog I'd gotten in years.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 6:50AM
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gldno1

I have an old gardening books that lists longevity of seeds. A few years ago I went through all old seeds and labeled their expiration date; I tossed ones that were beyond their 'good' date.

Of course you can always test a few seeds (10 at least) between damp paper towels to see if they are still viable. I wasted a lot of time on old lelttuce seeds planted outside one year.

Ilene, I raised Candy onions from seeds one year. I started them really early, Jan or Feb, and I had very nice results. I think I got the seeds from Harris Seeds in New York. Lots of places carry them now. The problem was getting the seeds planted thin enough. I also had to clip the tops a few times. To plant in the garden, I just cut a small plug from the flat, clipped tops and bottoms again and gently teased them apart.

I am getting several catalogs but just toss them. I order online exclusively these days.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Longevity Chart

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 9:00AM
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dirtguy50 SW MO z6a(6a)

Got the Baker Creek catalog a couple days ago and ordered my seeds today. I order online but like to read their articles and plant descriptions in the book. Everything was in stock except the extra dwarf pak choy. A couple places here in town carry their seeds so will check with them from time to time. Hope everyone is safe.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 6:03PM
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rockwhisperer(6a)

Glenda, I don't seem to have very much luck with onion seed, not sure why. I wonder how well they would wintersow? Judging from the way the clumps of onion plants that are sold look, it kind of seems like the commercial growers are planting them pretty close together. I have some onion seed coming from Fedco and might experiment with that.

I'm germination testing some lentil seed. Lentils can be planted early like peas and if the seed I have is still viable, I might experiment a little. If nothing else, they will add nitrogen into the soil and will be done by the time the summer plants are ready to go in.

I haven't started getting seed catalogs yet. Baker hasn't sent me on in a couple of years now, seems like when you don't order from them in a year's time, they purge you off the list. Their catalog is almost a "Coffee Table Book", I hate to think what it must cost to produce and how it must jack up the price of their seeds.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 5:26AM
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regencylass(5a)

I sow my onion seeds quite close, just like leeks. Then just prick out and separate as they get larger.

Regarding seed orders, I received my order (over 30 heirloom varieties of veg) from Victory Seeds this week. I already have onions, asparagus, artichoke, rhubarb, leeks, brassicas and a few of the more slower germinating herbs already in flat and under the lights. I start my seed sowing the 15th of December every year and always have great success.

I received my Bakers Creek catalog already. Their corn selection has dwindled to almost nothing (thanks for nothing, Monsanto), but I'll still end up having a decent order to place. I usually spend around $100 with them, although a couple years I went a little crazy as my order was well over $300. :) And yes, those seeds are still germinating well.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 12:20PM
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rockwhisperer(6a)

The last several years I have sown my tomato and pepper seed inside in early January. I think that's a little early for my set-up because they get so big I'm hard pressed to find a place to keep them where they'll get enough light. They get so many roots in the container that they're needing to be watered at least every-other day, sometimes every day. After I've hardened them off, I'm schlepping them in and out, in and out, because of alternating balmy and freezing weather and it's all just too much. So I'm thinking this year I won't start seeds till Feb.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 12:48PM
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rockwhisperer(6a)

Sorry folks, this one got posted twice somehow....

This post was edited by rockwhisperer on Wed, Dec 18, 13 at 14:28

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 2:26PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I hate to tell you this rock whisperer but Feb. is too early too. I do the very same thing and I have a family reunion in N Central Kansas every year the end of April. At that time I have to either get them in the ground with protection or somehow get them in a big enough pot so they don't dry out while I'm gone. It causes me tension and anxiety and the remedy plainly is to plant later. Smaller plants could easily stay inside under lights over a long weekend. But it will take a counselor and therapy to get me to not obsessively plant too early.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 3:26PM
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rockwhisperer(6a)

Oh, bummer! I don't know if I can hold off planting seeds inside past Feb or not, Helen! But I'm with you, schlepping big plants around is a drag. It seems like I always set them out too early, too, it works out sometimes, but fails other times, and I think it always sets them back so that I haven't really gained much by doing everything so dang early. Send the counselor my way. Heh.

I tried wintersowing in round Ice-cream tubs with a big "X" cut in the lid last year. I cut the bottom out and pressed them down into the ground so I didn't have to mess with potting mixes. Around here, we have to plan ahead if we're going to wintersow because nobody sells the components for potting soil here in the winter. Mention "wintersowing" at any of the garden centers around here and they look at you like you are speaking a foreign language.

Of course with our erratic spring temperatures, I had seedlings in nearly everything before the last two frosts and of course couldn't bring anything in. I had them grouped together so I could cover them with a blanket but the end results weren't very good, I didn't count it as a success and won't try that again.

So this year I'm back to milk containers and a soil mix of equal parts peat, mushroom compost (which just looks like dirt to me) and vermiculite.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 7:02AM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

I've noticed that smaller plants transplant better than larger ones anyway...they adjust to their environment faster and get going...often catching up to their larger brethren.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 7:21AM
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