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Seed catalogs are wonderful, aren’t they?
Garden planning season is exciting to gardeners, it’s like setting new years resolutions. Garden planning is the hope of planting and starting a fresh garden. Most beginner gardeners will head to any local store that sells seeds and just grow the first carrot or tomato variety that they see. Once you’re a seasoned gardener however, you’ll get pickier about your seed selection and seek out seed catalogs from favorite seed companies.
Gardeners love browsing through seed catalogs and selecting certain varieties (after reading the descriptions and drooling over the photos).
Even after I take my seed inventory (you can too with this free printable) I still find myself *gasp* ordering too many seeds even when I don’t need any. I often don’t even have the space to fit all of the varieties, but the excitement of purchasing is too tempting 😉
This post will talk about where to find seed catalogs, how to select varieties & how to order
Where do you find seed catalogs?
Seed catalogs are offered by most seed companies and most of the time they are free. They will offer a printed version, online pdf file or both. All you have to do is look up your seed company of choice (here are my favs) and find the catalog request form on the website. There are some seed catalogs that you have to pay for like the hefty baker creek one (but it’s so worth it if you love heirloom seeds like I do!).
How to choose your varieties & important info
Make a list of what you’d like to grow before choosing varieties and keep in mind your growing zone. (Learn more about garden planning here). Your seed catalogs will show you the varieties they carry and have important information like:
- The vegetable/fruit/herb/flower type and variety name
- A seed number for ordering
- The description which will tell you things like taste, ease of growing, best climates for that variety, size and shape etc
- How many days until maturity (so you can harvest)
- How many seeds in a packet (you will have multiple size options for seed packets)
Some seed catalogs also offer additional information like:
- How to grow the fruits, vegetables, herbs or flowers
- Seed history information
- What varieties can handle things like drought or cold temps
Once you know the crops you’d like to grow you can choose varieties based on:
- The description of taste or what it looks like
- Your style of cooking (for example you eat lots of stir frys or Italian food)
- Your climate and if the crops can be harvested within the days of maturity (for example if your growing zone has 90 frost free dates you’d make sure you select crops that can be harvested in that time frame
How to order your seeds
Once you have your list of what varieties you’d like to grow you’re ready to order! Make sure you have the seed variety number, the seed packet size, and the name.
You will have two options for ordering seeds: online or with an order sheet that came with the catalog.
Most seed companies prefer online ordering these days, all you have to do is type up the seed company name in google and add seeds to your cart. I would recommend ordering your seeds weeks before you need to start them to finalize things like your planting schedule or filling out your garden planning sheets from my printable garden planner.
My name is Isis Loran, creator of the Family Food Garden. I’ve been gardening for over 10 years now and push the limits of our zone 5 climates. I love growing heirlooms & experimenting with hundreds of varieties, season extending, crunchy homesteading and permaculture.