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Seed Catalog Ordering Tips

By Editorial Staff

seed catalog orderingby Info Guru Aurora LaJambre

Gardeners’ hearts beat a little faster once the growing season is right around the corner.

It’s a time of dreaming about all the new plants you want to grow, and old favorites you can’t wait to see and smell again. But unless your property and budget roll on endlessly, it’s also a time to make decisions.

These seed catalog ordering tips will help you consider a wide selection without falling for big deals on duds.

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10. Dream


Whether this will be your first or tenth year of gardening, take time to flip through all kinds of seed catalogs a few times just for fun. Fill in the blanks of “Wouldn’t it be fun to grow…” and make a list of all the plants that come to mind. Your location may not be a good match for all of them, but you’ll end up with a few fun possibilities.

9. Be skeptical of steep discounts

Be skeptical of steep discounts

If a deal feels more like a steal, you’re probably not buying new seeds. The Old Farmer’s Almanac advises us to be skeptical of crazy discounts and call the store’s customer service. Ask how old the seeds are, and just say “No” to saving money on plants that may not germinate.

8. Look at every page

Look at every page

It may be tempting to save time and simply flip to the section with your usual plants, but then you’re closing the door on potential discoveries. Glance through each page and you may stumble on a beautiful pair of garden gloves to replace the holey ones.

7. You don’t live in the tropics

You don’t live in the tropics

Beautiful as tropical plants like Hibiscus are, if you live in the Northeast they’re not likely to grow in your outdoor garden. Take these catalog ordering tips to heart, and stick to those that match your plant hardiness zone and the growing conditions of your yard. Invest in a blow-up palm tree to tide you over until it’s finally time for that Hawaiian vacation.

6. Check out multiple places

Seed Savers Exchange catalog

Just because the catalog in your hand doesn’t offer the heirloom seeds you have your heart set on doesn’t mean you should give up. A number of gardening retailers specialize. Register online for a handful of free garden catalogs to satisfy all your needs.

5. Don’t go on a spree

Don’t go on a spree

Buying twice the amount of seeds you need won’t magically double the size of your yard. Set your limit before you start browsing. Allowing one round of dream browsing where you circle every gourmet herb, sprout and flower you’d love to buy, and then edit, edit, edit or you’ll end up with a sad shelf full of seeds that’ll never be planted.

4. Get the worm

Get the worm

Take advantage of early bird discounts. You’ll get the seeds you want before they sell out, and have those that need to be planted early ready to go. As an added bonus, you may get some free seeds from the retailer, or plants that thrive in container gardens.

3. Do the math

Do the math

Tally the actual number of seeds that’ll come in each package you plan on ordering. When it comes to seed catalog ordering, under buying is even worse than overdoing it.

2. Out with the old

Out with the old

Trying to grow seeds that are more than a couple years old is setting yourself up to fail. Forget about that coffee can filled with marigold seeds from you don’t when and start fresh. Order from a local or online gardening shop you trust to sell new seeds in good condition.

1. Take a pass on chemicals

Take a pass on chemicals

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Tempting as it may be to buy seeds pre-coated in chemicals like fungicide, you don’t know how those chemicals will affect your other plants. Plus, do you really want some mysterious chemical in your soil? Be clear that you want untreated seeds. Call the store to make sure your choice plants are available and double check your order when it arrives.


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