Ordering seed is a ritual of renewal for a farmer. Ordering seed is saying a big fat “yes” to the next growing season. Amid the wintry mix of freezing rain, pelleted snow and 30mph gusts, ordering seed is the promise that spring will come. Overall, it’s a fairly straightforward task that is mostly fun, but also tedious and painful. Looking at gorgeous pictures and reading the carefully crafted descriptions often keeps me up late into the night. The melon below is an heirloom available from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Just the description alone makes me wants to plant acres and acres of melons!
On the other hand, inputting all the data for 40+ crops and 100+ varieties into an Excel spreadsheet can get tedious. There’s order numbers, order quantities, prices, seed counts, last year’s notes, not to mention comparing costs and varieties from six different catalogs and finding the varieties that fit the needs and character of this particular farm. There’s a lot to think about.
And when I say seed ordering can be painful, I mean utterly heart-wrenching. “Why can’t I buy 25 varieties of tomatoes?” Because you can’t give people only tomatoes, Tory. They’ll ask for onions. “My life just won’t be complete without five pounds of Italian Flat beans!” And what if those seeds don’t germinate, Tory? You need to plant more than one variety. “Who says I can’t buy everything I want?” Your bank account, Tory and your CSA members. They told you what they wanted, remember? Stop buying so many eggplant seeds!
New in 2012
So, now I’ve come to terms with myself and most of my seed ordering is done. Just some of what you have to look forward to: more sweet peppers, four kinds of potatoes, colorful carrots, crunchy celery and more heirloom varieties! Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds defines heirloom:
In sharp contrast to hybrids, Heirlooms trace their ancestry back many years to a time when pesticides and herbicides were not in use. As Jere Gettle, the owner of Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. puts it, “Basically, an Heirloom seed is one that has been passed down through families and is usually considered to be over 50 years old. Some varieties even date back to Thomas Jefferson’s garden and beyond.” Unlike hybrids or GMO’s which often have problems reproducing to the parent strain, Heirloom seeds can be saved and replanted, ensuring a trustworthy supply of family food year after year.
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds– specializes in heirloom varieties, Missouri
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds– employee-owned, heirloom, organic & hybrid varieties, Maine
- Harris Seeds– quality products, fair prices, New York
- Jung Seed Company– local company, Randolph, WI
- Seed Savers Exchange– specializes in heirloom varieites, Iowa
- Burpee Seeds and Plants– well-established, popular company, Pennsylvania
- Vermont Valley Seed Potatoes– local farm, organic seed potatoes, Blue Mound, WI