Have Fun with Seeds

Rachel Burrows

Now is the time to start planning and dreaming about your garden. There are many wonderful seed catalogues available that can help make your dreams come true. Not only are there inspiring pictures to help brighten up the dreary February days, there is a lot of useful information in most catalogues. Some companies such as Stokes, www.stokeseeds.com, carry a big range of flower and vegetable seeds. Others such as Richters, www.richters.com, specialize in unusual and exotic herb seeds. They also carry a range of gourmet vegetable seeds that includes varieties such as rainbow Swiss chard and sweet chocolate peppers.

Terra Edibles, www.terraedibles.ca, is a smaller company that carries organically grown seeds for a huge range of heirloom tomatoes. They also carry lots of other unusual vegetable, herb and flower seeds. The latter includes heirloom, highly scented sweet peas.

I have had considerable success with Veseys Seeds, www.veseys.com, from P.E.I. They carry a big range of flower, vegetable and herb seeds as well as garden helpers. I find them very helpful on the phone and there is always lots of information in their catalogues. Many of their varieties are ideally suited for shorter growing seasons.

Florabunda Seeds, www.florabundaseeds.com, of Indian River is a local company that doesn’t use any genetically altered seeds. They specialize in easy to grow, untreated, open pollinated heirloom and unusual flower seeds. They will be selling their seeds at the For the Love of Gardening show at the Evinrude Centre on the Easter weekend.

Garden Import, www.gardenimport.com , carries Suttons Seeds, the biggest supplier of garden seed in England. Each variety has been tested and proven both in the laboratory and in Canadian gardens from coast to coast.

If you are looking for something different, check out Gardens North, www.gardensnorth.com. They are based in North Gower near Ottawa and specialize in gardens for colder climates. They sell seeds for rare perennials and woody species and always include good information for germination and planting. Another specialized supplier is Howard Dill Enterprises, www.howarddill.com, from Nova Scotia. If you want to grow giant pumpkins, this is the place to get your seeds! One of his varieties weighed in at 1,385 pounds and achieved world record status.

Brickmans Botanical Gardens in Sebringville, www.brickmansbotanicalgardens.ca, carries the Thompson and Morgan seed range. These seeds are a little more expensive but you will find varieties that other seed companies do not carry.

If any of you have visited the Butchart Gardens in Victoria you will know that they have amazing displays of annual and perennial flowers. They have a website only catalogue at www.butchartgardens.com and usually have most of the seeds of their display plants. This includes the stunning blue poppy, Meconopsis Baileyii.

The Cottage Gardener, www.cottagegardener.com from Newtonville is another seed producer that will be at the Garden Show at Easter. She carries rare, unusual, organically grown and heirloom seeds. There is lots of information on each plant and seed including its history and folklore as well as growing conditions.

If you are keen to grow garlic, then you must refer to the Fish Lake Garlic Man, 613 476-8030. Ted Maczka is still the guru of garlic and offers a wide variety of cultivars along with indispensable growing information on this pungent plant with recognized medicinal properties.

If you are looking for a different idea for weddings or birth announcements why not look at Forget Me Not Heritage Seeds, www.forgetmenotseeds.com. Several heirloom varieties of herb vegetable and flower seeds are available and the seed packets can be personalized. What a great idea for a long lasting and environmentally sound birth announcement!

There is even a company that specializes in Australian native plant seeds. Rainbow Tropicals, 4319 Wilcox Rd., Mississauga, On L4Z 1C3 carries these exotic seeds. Have fun, try something a little different! Wildflower Farm, www.wildflowerfarm.com, has wonderful, hardy seeds and wildflower mixes that are designed to last for a century or more. Their website is considered one of the best resources for wildflower gardening in North America.

Many of these companies carry all sorts of items to assist you with your seed starting. Look for specialized fertilizers, natural insecticides, pot makers, jiffy pots and many more great ideas. Always read the instructions carefully on the seed packets and use sterilized seed mixes.

Several local companies such as Rural Routes at the Peterborough Co-Op are open and carry a good range of seeds. If all the colourful packets confuse you, ask for advice and ideas. Above all, have fun! Try some new varieties; after all it only costs you pennies per plant. Exchange seeds with friends and if you end up with too many seedlings, do a swap for other plants. It is such a great feeling to see first seedlings pushing through the soil.