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Buying Seeds

Category Seeds
Getting the right seeds for your location will help you have success with your gardening. This guide is about buying seeds.


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June 12, 2015

Gardening is not an exact science and can be very complicated. Misinformation passed along from generation to generation only adds to the complication. Most people are content to plant a packet of straight neck yellow squash, follow packet instructions, and hope for the best. This is good.

gardener's hand holding tomato seeds

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By 6 found this helpful
February 24, 2011

The snow and ice are still thick on the ground in my area, but it's time to plan my spring garden. I know that a lot of people are doing the same thing. Planning the garden is almost as much fun as harvesting it! I can't wait to look out my door and see the first crops of peas, greens, lettuces, and broccoli.

If you are planning your garden, there is a really easy way to shop from over 150 on-line catalogs at once - go to Mother Earth. Mother Earth Magazine, that is. Go to:

At the top of the page, you will find their search bar. Type in "seed finder". There you should be able to find just about any seed, start, plant, etc, that you can think of, and lots more.


This is also a good website for finding information on green living, doing it yourself, and a multitude of other topics. When I went on today, they had a nice article about making crackers that I will be trying out tomorrow. And give their articles on making artisan bread in 5 minutes a day a look - they're awesome.

Source: My favorite, Mother Earth News magazine

By copasetic 1 from North Royalton, OH

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By 2 found this helpful
February 10, 2012

This is a link to an article from Mother Earth News, my favorite magazine, and an excellent web site. It is a list of some of the very best veggie seed companies. You can send for free (usually) catalogs, or look at the on-line catalogs.


Some of these catalogs are just beautiful, or have a LOT of good information about gardening. Most have the good, old-fashioned, heirloom seeds. These produce veggies that are more flavorful and, sometimes, have been forgotten by most people - veggies like black tomatoes and purple carrots.

If you have never tasted a black tomato, you are really missing out. They are so flavorful it is amazing!


By Copasetic 1 from North Royalton, OH

Comment Was this helpful? 2

By 1 found this helpful
February 7, 2011

Spring planting has a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it. Shopping for seeds in mid-winter a great way to spend the day, and gives you plenty of time to sort out the details of the next growing season. Whether you buy your seeds though the mail or from your local garden center, here are ten tips help you get the most for your money.

  1. For the best selection and prices, browse a variety of seed catalogs. Most of the major suppliers make their catalogs available online, which is a great way to start gathering ideas. When it's time to place an order, look for seed companies that specialize in plants that are grown in your specific region. Use the Garden Watchdog to type in your zip code and get a list of companies in your area.

  2. After placing your order, keep your catalogs for reference. They contain important information about your seeds that you may find useful later. Remember that catalog statistics like height, spread, and days to maturity should only be used as an estimate. How your plants ultimately perform is dependent on local growing conditions.

  3. Seed catalogs and websites include a lot of abbreviations in their descriptions. Most of these reference a plant's resistance to disease, or indicate a cultivar that has earned special merit. Look for a key to the symbols at beginning of the catalog or on the bottom of each page. Here are some common abbreviations you may encounter:

    • AAS: All American Selections Winner
    • A: Anthracnose
    • CMV: Cucumber mosaic virus
    • DM: Downy mildew
    • F: Fusarium wilt
    • F1: Hybrid Variety
    • LB: Late Blight
    • N: Nematodes
    • OP: Open Pollinated
    • PM: Powdery Mildew
    • TMV: Tobacco Mosaic virus
    • V: Verticillium wilt

  4. Fresh seed has the highest rate of germination. When purchasing seeds off the rack, check the date stamped on the packet. Be sure it's the current year. If you don't see a date, don't buy it.

  5. Tiny seeds are sometimes coated in clay (pelleted) to make them easier to handle and sow. The pellets are sown on top of the soil, where the clay coating dissolves and exposes the seed when it comes into contact with water. Keep in mind that although pelleted seed packets look bulky, they may not contain as many seeds as you think.

  6. Research before you buy. Choose cultivars based on plant size, habit, and tolerance of your soil conditions. If specific climate or growing conditions in your area tend to leave plants vulnerable to disease problems, make sure to look for disease-resistant cultivars.

  7. Look for proven performers. For example, to receive the All-American Selections Winner Label, a vegetable or flower must have performed well in test gardens around the country and proven to be superior to all others on the market. Individual suppliers may also have their own marks of quality.

  8. These are two types of seeds: hybrids and open-pollinated cultivars. Hybrids may produce earlier harvest and higher yields, but often at the expense of natural hardiness and resistance to disease. Seeds saved from hybrid plants may either be sterile or fail to breed true to their parent plant. Open-pollinated seeds are from traditional varieties that have been selected and grown for their desirable traits over a period of many years. They may taste better and are often more adaptable to local growing conditions. Seeds saved from open pollinated plants stay true to their parent plant.

  9. Seeds from commercial suppliers sometimes come pre-treated with synthetic chemicals to control seed decay and damping-off diseases (bright red or green colored seeds usually indicate treatment). Some studies have linked the introduction of these chemicals into the environment with the massive die-offs of honey bees. More data is still needed, but in the meantime, you can help protect these important pollinators by using untreated seeds.

  10. Finally, any seed you buy should give good results if you follow the growing instructions. If it doesn't, contact the company for a refund.

    Comment Was this helpful? 1

May 2, 20121 found this helpful

Whether you buy seeds from a catalog or purchase them from a store, understanding seed terms will help you make more informed decisions when buying garden seeds.

Seed Packages in a box

CommentPin It! Was this helpful? 1

By 1 found this helpful
May 8, 2008

This year for my garden I decided to save some money buying seeds. What I did was go to eBbay, find a seller that had a large supply of seeds, and who offered free shipping on every order after the first is placed.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
October 2, 2009

I have been trying to find "Bear Britches" seeds. Has anyone seen any places to buy them?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

By Sassier299 from MI


October 4, 20090 found this helpful

Go to the swap flower seed on this site, may somebody will have some, good luck.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 8, 20090 found this helpful

I grow them, but I'm not sure how to collect the seeds. I could try to save you some. contact me at cheesyflasouvenir AT

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 8, 20090 found this helpful

Could someone tell me what the heck are Bear Britches?!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Answer this Question...

By 0 found this helpful
April 3, 2006
Q: I am looking for a place that sells brown turkey fig seeds or other types of fig seeds (fruit bearing). I would also like to find a source for grancy grey beard tree seeds.

Hardiness Zone: 8a

kmcl59 from Pensacola, FL

A: kmc159,

Most figs rarely produce viable seeds, so you're usually better off looking for cuttings or second year trees. Many nurseries selling fig trees are either done shipping for the season, or they are already sold out. Try Jenè's Tropicals in St. Petersburg, FL., ( Click on the link for Tropical Fruits or call: 727-344-1668. They sell Brown Turkey Fig trees in 3-gallon pots and ship worldwide. If that doesn't work out for you, I would try and find someone in the neighborhood that would give you a cutting or try to get on a local nursery's list for next year. When searching for Grancy Grey Beard tree seeds, you may also find them listed as White Fringe tree or Old Man's Beard. The seeds form on blue clusters in the fall (male trees produce more flowers and are more fragrant). Try ( Click on the link for the TreeHelp Store and then the Seeds link. The Grancy seeds are listed under Old Man's Beard or Fringe Tree.



By guest (Guest Post)
April 25, 20060 found this helpful

It talkes a long time to get figs from a small 2 foot tree. I think this is one area you need to break down and buy a young tree

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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