The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Where to buy seeds

Now that I've cleaned out my old seeds, it's time to buy seeds for next year!  You'll get the cheapest seed prices at Wal-Mart or the Dollar Store, but I've been burned by old seeds from these stores in the past (and by their lack of variety), so now I stick to the feed store and online companies.

Park SeedThe feed store is perfect for seeds you use lots of like collards and lettuce and for tubers like potatoes which are expensive to ship.  But when it comes to an extensive selection of varieties to try out, I turn to Jung Seed and Park Seed.

I used to think that Park Seed was the cheaper of the two, but when I perused their seeds yesterday it seemed like Jung was cheaper!  Still, I ended up ordering from both sites so that I could get all of the varieties I wanted --- usually, shipping costs keep me from making two orders like that, but if you order by clicking on the banner here by Monday, you'll get free shipping from Park.

Every year, I allow myself to splurge and get a variety or two from a more expensive site.  This year, it was Mexican Sour Gherkins from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  I'll keep you posted this summer to let you know if this ancient American species solves our bacterial wilt problem.

Finally, one last piece of seedy advice --- buy heirloom and/or open pollinated varieties, if possible.  That way, once you settle on a variety you like, you can just save the seeds rather than buying them year after year.  Our expenditures on catalog seeds have dropped from $100 two years ago to $35 this year by saving seed, and by buying larger packets than we need of seeds which last several years.  But don't buy heirloom sweet corn --- you'll miss the supersweet taste of the newfangled hybrids!

Read other posts about saving seeds:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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