Seed Prices Revealed

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It’s seed catalog time!

IMG_0527[1]I grow a garden to produce quality food for my family while spending less money.  This year, I’m looking forward to growing a market garden.  Being frugal is even more important now as the volume of seeds needed increases.  I like to be an informed shopper and seed catalogs can be really deceiving and frustrating when you’re trying to compare carrots to carrots.  Not only does each vendor include different amounts of seeds, each vendor uses different measurements.  One lists number of seeds, another grams or ounces.  Some just say “packet” which provides no information at all.  Today I sat down and normalized the data, so to speak.  Below is the information I discovered.  I selected varieties that are common to most seed companies and that were all open pollinated.

1st Best Value       2nd Best Value      3rd Best Value

Seed Company Patty Pan
Squash
Bantam
Corn
Roma Tomato
Botanical Interests $17.88/oz $1.88/oz $23.90/g
High Mowing $22.35/oz $4.95/oz $27.50/g
Baker Creek $36.31/oz $6.25/oz $31.25/g
Johnny’s $37.93/oz $4.38/oz $32.30/g
Territorial $24.13/oz $2.50/oz $32.90/g
Bountiful Gardens $28.88/oz $5.07/oz $25.00/g
Peaceful Valley $23.36/oz $6.21/oz $12.44/g

I have to say, I was a bit surprised.  I’ve often shopped at Territorial because they are local – just 30 minutes down the road.  They have a good selection and are in all our garden centers.  Then, a few years ago I discovered Baker Creek and fell head over heels in love with their amazing catalogs and variety of heirloom seeds.  This year, Peaceful Valley is having a 40th Anniversary sale and all their seeds packets are just $1.99.  That felt like a great deal and I ordered a bunch of seeds from them.  I needed to buy a larger volume of some seeds like beans, peas, corn and lettuce seed and so I was looking at Johnny’s who offers all of their seeds in larger volumes.  I still need to compare their prices by the pound of those larger seed packs but otherwise it would appear that I’ll be giving Botanical Interests some of my business.

In my experience these companies dominate the organic, open pollinated, catalog based seed business… if there is another you’d like me to add to the comparison, just let me know.

I’d also like to ad a note on quality of catalog, because it’s part of the experience of sitting by the fire on a cold, dark winter day.  Like I said earlier, I really fell for Baker Creek because of their catalog.  I have them all saved somewhere and the first one I received made me so giddy I literally had to hold back from tearing the pages out and framing some of the art within.  This year, I am sorely disappointed.  The pages appear to mimic the Instagram style of filtering and the colors selected for overtones literally irritate me.  It’s uninspiring and drab. Based on that, in addition to their higher price and non local location – I won’t be ordering from them until something sparks a positive note.  Botanical Gardens has always taken a no nonsense approach to their newsprint catalog.  I like that it’s simple and you don’t feel like half your seed buying dollars go into their catalog. It’s easy to imagine it goes towards something more important.  Botanical Interests received a negative response from their drawn images of fruits and vegetables, opposed to photos.  While they’re pretty great drawings, there is something missing when a photo is not included.  Their catalog is well organized and attractive otherwise.  The catalog from Johnny’s Select Seeds has won the popularity contest in my circle.  It’s pages are full of glossy photos, lots of information but arranged in an uncluttered manner.

I can’t speak to the quality of the seeds from each company but I’ll be happy to report back on that at a later date, and we welcome your feedback on your personal experiences below.

I hope this information helps you as you set out to find the best value in your seed buying.

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