It is January, and as a new gardener, this means I get to dreamily flip through seed catalogs and envision by garden-to-be.
I’ve heard great things about Seed Savers, so we planned on doing most of our ordering from there, but there were a few things, like rapini and shallots, they don’t have in their catalog, so we looked at some other catalogs as well. Fun! Except a lot of what the different catalogs offered seemed the same. And other similarities bothered us. For example, Henry Field’s website is strangely similar to another company’s, Gurney’s. Curious. It turns out they’re owned by the same people, Scarlet Tanager, LLC, presumably keeping the two different faces to not bother the loyal customers of either.
Looking further into this, we ran across an article in a country magazine about how big business permeates the seed world, with many seed companies being owned by the same firms or getting their seed from the same places. As people who spend very little money, we think hard about who and what we are supporting with each purchase we make. And there must be better options in the world of seed.
Which brings us back to Seed Savers. They are a non-profit whose mission is to save and share heirloom seeds, bringing together a network of gardeners who grow gardens that preserve the nation’s horticultural history and share that inheritance with others. They are based in Decorah, Iowa and use their visitors center there to educate and bring together community.
Rather than just ordering from their catalog, we’re going to join, and gain access to all the seeds offered by other members. I’m sure through them we’ll be able to find those few things that weren’t available through the catalog itself. And feel better knowing where our seeds are really coming from.