Thursday, January 24, 2013

How I Choose My Garden Seeds

"Always choose your garden seeds from a company
with a climate similar to your own." --my mom

I grew up on a 10-acre homestead with chickens, rabbits, pigs, goats, and the occasional other 4-H animal. And a huge garden. Some of my earliest memories are of "my" garden -- a small corner of mom's surrounded by 2x6 boards for me to walk on so I wouldn't step on any plants.

(This photo is actually inside mom's greenhouse. I searched and searched for a photo of me in the garden -- I do know at least one exists of me with a green pumpkin -- but couldn't find any. Not sure where they're hiding.)
Every year after Christmas I remember my mom pulling out her ice cream pail of seeds from the previous year(s) to the kitchen table. She would sort through them, then make a list of what she needed to order, then pull out her trusty Jung Seed Catalog. For as long as I can remember, my mom has sworn by Jung. They are located in Wisconsin, and she always had great success with their seeds.

Fast forward 15-20 years, and here I sit with four different seed catalogs on my kitchen table. This year I received two from companies I'd never heard of before, and I expect I'll still get my usual Johnny's, Burpee, and Gurney's soon. Whenever I get a catalog in the mail, I always check the return address to see where it came from. If it's from anywhere in the southern U.S., I toss it right away. Jung (Wisconsin) and Johnny's (Maine) and maybe one other will stick around.

I take a sharpie marker and start circling things I'm interested in (more on those interests in my next post!). The nice thing about keeping more than one seed catalog on hand at first is that they all have slightly different descriptions for the same exact seeds (especially Johnny's -- it's a huge catalog with a ton of great information!). After I've narrowed down which varieties of which vegetables I'm most interested in, I compare prices across companies.

In the last 5 years or so that I've had a garden, Jung always wins. Usually by only 10-30 cents per packet, but it's enough to keep me coming back.

I haven't ordered my seeds yet this year (why let them sit on my counter when I can't do anything with them until late March?? [and no, I don't start any of my seeds early, that's a post for another day]). I'll be taking my time browsing catalogs. I'm still trying to decide what to plant this year...

Where do you order your seeds from?

*As much as I love Jung seeds, I am not writing this as a promotional post. They don't even know my blog exists. I'm just sharing my insight and experience with you. :)  *

  Grow Write Guild


  1. I'm a Jung or PineTree girl, myself. Since we're up north, we toss the southern seed catalogs, too. As I save my own seeds over the years, I find I'm buying fewer and fewer which is nice. It's a work in progress, you can imagine.

    1. Saving seeds is something I've never tried myself... I've had people save flower seeds for me though, to help populate my perennial garden!

  2. I ordered many of my seeds from a company in British Columbia this year - a very different climate from hear in Montreal! That said, I hope the choices I've made are more or less suitable (although after 4 weeks under grow lights in the basement the eggplants haven't germinated, so I may give up on them...) I'm enjoying this Grow Write Guild project; you'll find my response to the first prompt here:


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