If you lust after plants the way I do, you need to grow seeds. 

  • It’s the only way to try plants  that  never show up in  local garden centers or nursery catalogs. 
  • Seeds are generally cheap.  The risk is small–the reward potentially wonderful, making it easy to experiment.   
  • And seeds create bounty.  They come in packages of 20, 50, 100 which means plants to share with friends.   (Sharing  is one of gardening’s great joys)

Every year since I’ve had a home of my own, I’ve put together a  January seed order.  Even before we had this house, the woods, the gardens, I ordered seeds to grow in pots on our thrid floor balcony. 

And if I should ever have to leave this house and go to the old gardeners’ home, I pray I can still  order my seeds.  They are one of life’s miracles, the very essence of spring, and a reason to jump out of bed in the morning and see what’s new.

I have three favorite seed sources–

Pinetree Garden Seeds (www.superseeds.com) A little company in Maine that sells small seed packs geared to  home gardeners.  They are value-priced.  Most varieties are under two dollars.  Pinetree has a mind-boggling  selection–including international vegetables, and more than 10  kinds of basil, alone.  I always order their sugar snap peas, Swiss chard, kale, and leeks from my spring garden.  For Summer, Sweet Chelsea tomatoes, Italian basils and beans, Mexican peppers.  Their General Lee cucumbers do really well for me.   Check out their flowers too. And If you’ve never tried Cleome, order some and rake it into a flower bed after last frost. 

Many of the wonderful flowers in my garden come from http://www.fragrantpathseeds.com/.  I direct sow their dark, blue larkspur, California and Shirley poppies.  My woods are full of their white and purple honesty every spring.  The Fragrant Path is a mom and pop shop with great  products and  prices.  I admire and adore their mission–preserving heirloom plants and flowers.

And finally, It wouldn’t be summer without tomatoes and I grow mine from seed.   Totally Tomatoes www.totallytomatoes.com has the best selection of  I’ve ever  found.  Anything in their Goliath line is a winner.  “Best tomato I’ve ever grown,” said my friend Robert who grew up on a Wilson County farm.   I grow their Goliath, Italian Goliath and Old-fashioned Goliath.   And I always order something new.  That’s the cool thing about seeds, remember?  You can always afford to experiment.

Photo:  Tiny now, but they’ll make a big splash in May– Larkspur resents transplaning so I rake $2  seeds into the flower bed every fall.