For some years, Sears has called it's catalog the Holiday Wish Book. fffftttttt!
MY wish books have long been seed catalogs. They have an unverbalized promise: "Buy seeds from us, and you will have plants that look like these!"
Just for fun, one year I went through Thompson & Morgan's catalog and listed everything that I would like to have, with the prices. I think the total came to something like $276. I had to trim it down a bit. Wellll....... actually I had to trim it down a LOT.
So, I would like to know what seed/plant catalogs you like best (or not), and why, and what kind of results you've had, good and bad. I'll start.
I get T&M's wish book every year, and sometimes I even order from them, but less than I used to. They have a wide variety from all over the world, but I've had multiple experiences of their seeds not sprouting, and the seeds not being what I ordered (and what the package says it's supposed to be). And this is with a heat mat and lights, not just yogurt cups sitting on a window sill. It seems worse when you pay $6 for 5 seeds and none of them sprout in a year. ***B-***
Parks Seed -- They don't have quite the variety that T&M has, but they have a lot, and I've had a lot of success with starting them, a big plus for me. ***A***
Burpees -- I haven't order from them for several years, but no problems stand out. Good seed, good germination, good service. ***A***
Burnt Ridge Nursery -- This one is fairly local to me, so I can order online and pick them up at the Olympia Farmer's Market. They have a few seeds, but they are a superb source of live plants for the Pacific Northwest in particular (other places, too), including two varieties of goumi, jujube, medlar, mulberries, olive, pawpaw, quince, akebia, aronia, autumn olive, honeyberry, seaberry, serviceberry, wolfberry. AND the owner really knows his stuff, a big plus. ***A+***
Raintree Nursery -- I've never ordered from them, but I was fairly impressed when I just tagged along with a friend who was buying live plants there. Nice selection, healthy-looking plants, but no seeds. ***A***
Pinetree Seeds -- Smaller numbers of seeds, but lower prices. I'm talking $0.95 for many of them, and under $2 for most of the rest. And good seed, too, of named varieties. A good way to try something new. After all, how many zucchini plants do you need? Good service, too. They don't bill your CC until they ship. ***A***
Seymour's Select Seeds -- This place has a lot of unusual, desirable seeds, but I found the germination rate is poor, and they have a bad reputation. A friend of mine said they are fast to bill and slow to ship, sometimes to the point that it's too late to plant. ***D***
Mellinger's -- I ordered plants from them twice and got burned twice. Half the plants came as dead sticks in powdery-dry soil. The flowering cherry tree was as dead as the proverbial doornail; when I complained, they sent me another one, almost as dead, with a crooked trunk. ***F***
Michigan Bulb Company (now owned by GardensAlive) is the worst seed company ever, as far as I know. Absolute trash. ***-Z***
I must admit that I am a second hand seed catalog and seed person. I have several freinds that just give me leftovers of both, otherwise I buy my seeds at the local farm and garden store or even ....shudder....walmart The totally tomatoes site has tons of different varieties (peppers too) and since I am am one of the biggest fans of the versatile and healthy tomato, I love to browse it.
Here at Dirt Works we sell organic and heirloom vegetable seeds, herb and flower seeds year round and this year we've sold more than we ever did before and sales continue to grow in this area. More and more people are growing their own food and many are learning how to grow right through the cold northern winter. We sell supplies for doing that too and we're working up a few kits so people can get everything they need in one place with one click if they want. I'm really pleased to see all the interest in home grown food. It's the best and our spiritual connection to our food is reinforced when we grow it ourselves. Even if all you have is a small space for a window box or clay pot you can grow some really nice herbs to spruce up your meals. They look pretty in the window too! We sell lots of different cover crops for the outdoors as well. More home gardeners are picking up on this idea as well. At the risk of shameless self promotion you can find our seeds inventory here: http://www.dirtworks.net/Seed.html
John Meshna (owner)
Blue River LLC
1195 Dog Team Road
New Haven, Vt 05472