Saving Seeds & Seed Catalogs
Why Save Seeds?
Seed saving is not always feasible with all types of plants, but collecting your own seed can be an exercise in self-sufficiency and a lesson in plant biology. Seeds you save from your own gardens are accustomed to your climate and growing medium and are adapted to pests in your area. We would not have the wonderful heirloom varieties of flowers and vegetables if someone hadn’t kept seeds year to year. Seed saving can be a rewarding and cost saving way to garden. For more information on seed saving, its pitfalls, and rewards see the website articles below.
January brings a certain stark quality to the landscape, but for those of us who garden or hope to garden, it is time to imagine the vibrant gardens to come as gardening catalogs begin to fill our mailboxes. The catalogs inspire daydreams and plans of sunshine, blooms, luscious edibles, and warmer months ahead. The promises they hold are intoxicating. For some, though, too many choices can leave you locked in indecision. You want it all.
First, there are some questions you can ask yourself to help the decision-making process:
Hardiness Zone – The USDA issued a revised Plant Hardiness Zone Map in 2012. This interactive tool is based on the average low temperature over a 30-year period. You can find your zone at http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/. Seed catalogs and seed packets will tell you zone hardiness for individual plants.
Sun – Consider the amount of sun your garden gets. Heat-loving plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and melons do best in full sun while leaf crops such as lettuce, spinach, and broccoli will produce with 3 – 6 hours of sun a day.
Days to Maturity - Is the plant suited to the length of our growing season?
Maintenance – Some plants require higher maintenance than others. Speaking to other gardeners or calling the Master Gardener Hotline (607-547-2536) can provide guidance in finding plants best suited to you.
Recently the Otsego County Master Gardeners shared some of their favorite seed and plant catalogs. The catalogs are on-line, but you can request a printed catalog from each website. This list is not an endorsement, but from the hundreds of catalogs, these are some that brighten our winter days:
- Fedco Seeds – www.fedcoseeds.com
- Fedco is a source for cold-hardy seeds especially adapted to our Northeast climate. They have a large selection of organic and regional heirloom varieties, plus organic growing supplies.
- Gardener’s Supply – www.gardeners.com
- This is a source for supplies – from grow lights to potato bags - and information. You’ll find numerous timely articles, videos, and blog posts.
- Harris Seeds – www.harrisseeds.com
- You’ll find vegetable seeds, flower seeds, plants, and growing supplies for both home and professional gardeners.
- Johnny’s Seeds – www.johnnyseeds.com
- Seeds, tools, and supplies from a company specializing in heirloom and organic seeds especially for short-season gardening in our Northeast climate.
- Jung Seeds – www.jungseed.com
- A source for seeds, plant, trees, and shrubs suited to growing in colder climates. Useful planting guide at their website.
- Landreth Seeds – www.landrethseeds.com
- This is the oldest (1784) seed house in America. They specialize in heirloom and vintage seeds, as well as unique garden supplies and books. The special seed collection sets are a helpful way to put together thematic gardens. You’ll find extensive information about each plant.
- Park Seed – www.parkseed.com
- Selling seeds, plants, trees, shrubs, and supplies. A source for seeds for the gourmet garden.
- Prairie Frontier – www.prairiefrontier.com
- Wild flower and prairie grass seed. A resource for those planning a native plant garden.
- Renee’s Garden – www.reneesgarden.com
- Specializing in heirloom seeds and old-fashioned flowers, gourmet vegetable seeds, and culinary herb seeds for the home garden.
- Richters - www.richters.com
- A Canadian company featuring herb plants, seeds, and books. This is a source for all things herbal.
- Thompson & Morgan – www.tmseeds.com
- Plant, seed, and fruit tree supplier from England with extensive premium herb and flower offerings.
- White Flower Farm – www.whiteflowerfarm.com
- Extensive collection of annual and perennial flowering plants and bulbs. Excellent idea book for garden planning and container garden collections.
Last updated June 30, 2021