3 Expert Seed-Buying Tips

Seed buying isn't too complicated if you do your research.

My dad had already purchased his first round of seeds for the family garden. My parents’ back bedroom will soon be filled with little green sprouts and stacks of organic gardening books. My dad is a seasoned gardener — the dude has been growing organic vegetables, berries, and herbs since he and my mom arrived in Kansas in the 1980s. But he still seeks outside advice when picking seeds for the year. So, gardeners — take note! Whether you’ve been growing for years or months, you can glean seed-buying advice from seed experts.

Mother Earth News recently published a blog tackling seed buying. The publication got a lot of great advice from The Natural Gardening Company’s seed-buying experts.

1. Don’t fret if many of your seeds are back-ordered

Most seeds sold are on an annual cycle. The seeds that will eventually be sold to consumers are planted in the spring, grow in the summer, and are harvested in the fall. After the plants are cleaned and processed, the seeds are “tested for germination and purity to insure they meet certain quality standards.” Then the seeds get distributed. This process can sometimes be delayed, which can cause back-orders. This is totally normal and you shouldn’t freak out if the seeds you want are back-ordered. Just be patient and take that extra time to prep your garden bed, and seed-start containers.

2. There’s a Federal Seed Law

The following explains the importance of the Federal Seed Law:

“This law regulates commerce in the sale of seeds, and is of particular importance because it requires that vegetable seeds meet certain germination standards. A key provision of these germination standards is the requirement that seeds must be tested every 15 months to insure that the seeds continue to meet minimum germination requirements. If they do not, they cannot legally be sold.”

Pretty important!

3. Read the label

MEN’s post goes on to explain that “pro-consumer” seed companies that follow this law typically include all the information about these “standards” on seed packs. Also: If the seeds are organic, you will find the “certified organic” information on the back of the seed envelop.

How do you go about seed buying? Do you buy from a certain store? Are you growing anything new this year? Tell us in the comments!

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Credit: Image by Sheri Giblin.