I don't need to buy any seeds right now but I do enjoy perusing the catalogues at this time of year and dreaming of the things I want to grow. This year we have all the seeds we need (I think) so I thought I would share with you my favourite places to obtain my seeds, some of these may be new to you so it will be great to introduce you to them as a potential new customer.
Firstly, it would be my own saved seeds. This is something I am quite passionate about and have done more seed saving over recent years. It's really not that hard and you get the plants you want by collecting seeds from varieties that you like and that have worked well for you.
I like to buy organically raised seed, I don't see the point in growing organically if the seeds you use were not produced organically. I also would never buy GMO seed or F1 hybrids. You can't collect seeds from F1 hybrids and be sure of what you'll get as you don't know what the seed company used as the parents. They are also bred using chemicals rather than the old fashioned way of hand-pollinating, so that puts me off them, and they are always so expensive for very few seeds. No, I prefer to get seeds that are more "natural" and often more of the heritage varieties.
So, my top places for buying seed are:
Organic Catalogue - the catalogue of GardenOrganic, also affiliated with the Heritage Seed Library and although I'm not a member at the moment I think they are good too - have picked up their seeds at seed swap events in the past.
Real Seeds - the people at Real Seeds are fantastic, they aren't certified organic as they refuse to go through the bureaucracy of applying to be certified and paying the expensive fees. They can, however, guarantee their seeds are produced organically and they grow the seeds themselves so they know they will work. Great for unusual varieties and they provide you with information on saving your own seeds for the varieties you buy from them. There is also a download-able leaflet on their website about saving your own seed - a great little resource.
Tamar Organics - organic seed at very good prices. No pictures in their catalogue - all online, but always excellent quality seeds and some good bargains in their bargain basement part of the online store too.
Thomas Etty - heritage seeds, some lovely varieties available.
Plants of Distinction - fabulous selection of varieties, some very unusual ones. So many varieties of tomatoes.
Beans and Herbs - another organic seed supplier- mainly beans and herbs (perhaps obvious from their name), but they also do other vegetable varieties, organic sprouting seeds, and organic green manure seed. Many, many varieties of beans. They often attend a seed swap event we support.
One company I have seen at shows is Green Seeds, although I have not bought their seeds they are organic and a small family firm which is something I like to support so may well buy from them in the future. Specialising in vegetables and herbs.
There are many more seed merchants, some offer some organic seeds such as Chiltern Seeds who produce a lovely little catalogue of their vegetable seeds, some heritage varieties too. The other more well known seed merchants (Thompson & Morgan, Suttons, Kings, etc) also have some organic ranges, but not enough for my liking so I stick to the ones above.
You know that feeling when you think you have missed someone out? My mind is blank though so maybe I haven't.