This time of the year it seems like there are a million and one choices for seeds. The catalogs have been rolling in at record paces enticing us with beautiful pictures of what we could have in our gardens but how do you figure out what you need to buy especially if your trying to save money? The first step is to figure out what you have. After you’ve done that you need to familiarize yourself with where you can find seeds and then you get to the fun part, selecting the seeds. I have a 5 step process that works well for me that might help you too.
Steps for Selecting Seeds
- Peruse catalogs as they come arrive.
- Mark anything and everything I see that I might like.
- Write a master list of all the seeds I want.
- Eliminate anything similar to what I already have or can get through trades and fellow gardeners.
- Make the final list.
I spend several weeks examining the catalogs and seeing all the options. I think it’s necessary so that I can look impassively at the plants and objectively pick what I need. The truth is there are very few things I need but there are plants that will suit various purposes and projects like my self-sowing garden.
Nasturtium, sweet peas, and zinnias all made my list so I mark them in the catalog along with anything else I might want. I do the same with the vegetables and even any perennials, shrubs and trees that may be present. I mark everything that I have any interest in to put on my master list. I won’t purchase from every catalog but looking at all of them helps me to make a list for future purchases, trades, or propagation.
Once I’ve marked everything I make a list with the plant names, catalog company name, and price. Then I compare prices, quantity of seed, and varieties. In the past I’ve even checked the per seed cost of each packet and compared them company to company. I eliminate everything that I already have from other sources like seed trades, seed that I’ve collected or been given. Then what’s left on the list is my seed order. This year’s order will be small since I have many of the seeds I need already and have picked some new one’s from various places.
It may sound complicated but once the information is written down it is very simple to make choices. I hope this helps you to maximize your seed purchases!