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Vegetable Garden Seed Shopping

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Shopping for your vegetable garden seeds lists & tips

Have you started shopping for vegetable garden seeds yet? January is when garden seed supplier catalogs begin arriving. If you’re on their list, your mailbox will start looking like a food gardening library this time of year. And it’s important not to ignore the new releases in that gardening library. That’s because seed sowing season is just around the corner. And in some situations, it may already be time to both do your vegetable garden seed shopping and start sowing your seeds!

Vegetable Garden Seed Shopping sprouts

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Vegetable garden seed sowing season already?

Yep, there are many veggies that you’ll do well to sow from seed indoors early in the new year. That’s because they won’t germinate in cold outdoor soil very well. But, you can start growing these vegetables indoors early. That way, you’ll have homegrown starter plants to transplant as soon as it’s warm enough outdoors to support them. And that means you’ll be harvesting food sooner rather than later.

Plus, growing from seed might take a bit more effort than buying starts later in the season. But by growing from seed, you’re likely to save money. Moreover, you’ll be reducing the environmental impact of growing plants that come in plastic pots, have required some level of shipping, and likely have been treated with things you might not use in your home garden.

Which vegetable garden seeds should you choose to order?

One of the biggest challenges when you’re starting vegetable garden seed shopping is choosing among the many options. So if you’re struggling, the main things to consider first that can help are:

  1. What do I want to eat from my vegetable garden?
  2. What do I have room for in my food garden?
  3. Will these plants grow in my area?

Once you’ve answered these questions, filling your vegetable garden seed order should be quite a bit easier. But, you’ll still need to decide which varieties of each crop you want to choose.

Which varieties of vegetable garden seeds should I choose?

Okay, you’ve decided which foods you want to grow. But when you look at the seed supplier lists, you realize there’s more than one kind of each veggie. So how do you choose the right one?

Well, choosing and then growing a variety is part of the fun of gardening! Sure, you might end up with a dud once in a while. But by trying out new varieties may help you find your favorites.

That being said, here are some things to consider if you’re vegetable garden seed shopping for the first time:

  1. If you’re limited on space, look for climbing varieties and grow them upwards. Choose pole beans instead of bush beans. And climbing squash over bushes.
  2. Pick varieties that have been around for a while. Sometimes new releases sound like fun, but the tried and true are more likely to ensure success.
  3. Order back ups. Sadly, sometimes seeds fail. In which case, you may want to re-sow in a pinch. And you don’t want to have to scramble to find new seed mid-season to do so.
  4. Really, order extras. Having extra seed means you’ll be ready to sow succession crops. For instance, sowing lettuce or other salad greens every couple weeks can help ensure you have plenty throughout the growing season.

Shop our Renee's Garden Seed Affiliate shop
(Qualifying purchases made through affiliate &/or sponsored links on this page and others on this site pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors.)

One more thing about ordering early…

While you may not sow summer vegetable seeds indoors yet, it is a good idea to order all the seeds you can as early as possible. That’s because some popular seeds are likely to sell out. In 2020, when pandemic gardening was a thing, seed vendors ran out of a lot of favorites. And, that meant gardeners were left with slim choices. So, order whatever you think you want to grow all season as early as you can. Even if you aren’t gardening during a pandemic lockdown, you’re likely to notice top choice garden seeds run out of stock early.

Often when I wrap up my vegetable seed order with our affiliate Renee’s Garden Seeds as early as January I’m able to find the seeds I want. However, even this early in the year I’ve run into favorites “out of stock” quite early in the year. Sometimes they’re truly sold out. But another thing that happens is seed growers experience crop failures in the prior year. And when that happens, there’s no seed for that crop.

Space? Design? Choosing? Help!

It’s probably pretty easy for you to make a list of what you like to eat. But knowing how much room you’ll need for plants and knowing what will grow in your area might be more difficult.

If you need with plans and setting up a garden, our Academy can really help! We’ve even got printable vegetable garden plans in there. With these you can easily layout a very simple beginner garden and get your vegetable garden growing fast.

Or if you need help designing your overall space, get in touch for a personalized design consultation.

What do we tend to choose for when we’re vegetable garden seed shopping?

If you’re having trouble deciding what to grow this year, maybe our list of choices will help you narrow your vegetable garden shopping list down.

I’ve been growing annual vegetable gardens all my life. And these days I know to keep my selections simple. That’s because our dedicated vegetable garden isn’t terribly big, our local farmers do a great job growing some of our more challenging favorites, and after years of doing this, I know what I like to have at hand all the time.

Here’s a quick list of what we grow in our small vegetable garden space:

  • Lettuce: We eat a lot of salad everyday. So that means I’m sowing lettuce seed over and over again throughout the growing season. I’m a sucker for bibb/butterheads and Queen of Crunch!
  • Arugula: This spicy green is one of my favorites for salads. So I grow it from late winter through late spring and again in fall. And sometimes it will grow in winter for me too. True Italian is my favorite.
  • Chicories: Love these to add to salads for color, texture and flavor. Plus, they tend to perform into winter!  Endive, Radicchio, Escarole & more fall into this category.
  • Spinach: This tasty green is so easy to grow in our cool climate, so I sow it over and over again all season long. Longstanding Gangbusters is our go-to.
  • Sweet peas, shelling peas & snap peas: I love growing all sorts of peas. If you’re limited for space and love shelling peas, choose these. It’s more difficult to find them at the grocery store or even a farm stand. Sabre shelling beans are our choice.
  • Cucumbers: These may be my favorite homegrown veggie. We eat loads of them fresh all summer long. And I ferment pickle cucumbers for later in the year too. Green Fingers Persians from Renees are on my list!
  • Kale: This is one of my favorites to have on hand all winter. We’re rarely without Lacinato growing in our cool season beds.
  • Parsley: You really never can have too much parsley on hand. I add it to all sorts of dishes. And I keep chimmichuri on hand most of the time made from either flat or curly parsley.
  • Purple potatoes: We try to keep the sugars low in our diets, so growing huckleberry gold potatoes is always in my plan.
  • Carrots: I do grow a few carrots despite our struggles with wire worm pests. Babette grows relatively quickly & stays small, which helps us bring them in before the pests get to them.
  • Zucchini: I’ve learned my lesson and in our small space only plant one or two zucchini. Often one is a bush and the other is Incredible Escalator, which climbs We love enjoying this fresh all summer and frozen or dried for winter. We even make zucchini chips. But you really can have too many zucchini!
  • Beans: My favorites are golden wax and french green beans. And in our smaller space, growing pole beans makes the most sense. I can intermingle them with climbing cucumbers or plant them to travel up sunflowers instead.
  • Tomatoes: These days I don’t grow a lot of tomatoes. I might have one Sungold or Lil’  Bites for snacking in a big pot on our deck. But, where we live, I’m able to support small, organic farmers by purchasing their tomatoes in bulk. This saves me a lot of work battling to get great tomatoes in the PacNW. That being said, I have grown amazing tomatoes here. If you’re up for the challenge, learn how to grow tomatoes successfully from start to finish here.

Shop our Renee's Garden Seed Affiliate shop

(Qualifying purchases made through affiliate &/or sponsored links on this page and others on this site pay a small percentage to Garden Mentors.)

Vegetable garden seed shopping includes herbs & flowers!

When you’re selecting your veggie seeds, don’t forget to include herbs and flowers in your order. These add flavor and color to your meals as well as your garden. Plus, they can make a big difference in how many pollinators visit your crops. Plus, if you’re into herbal crafting, you’ll be able to harvest from your garden for DIYing your own herbal goodies.

A quick list of annual herbs and flowers to add to your garden shopping list:

  • Borage: If you want pollinators, this true blue beauty is one to grow. Plus, once you start growing it, you’ll have it forever!
  • Calendula: This beautiful, edible herbal bloom is a come-again performer. And pollinators love it! Flashback from Renee’s is one of our favorites!
  • Basil: This delicious leafy herb can be tricky to cultivate, but it sure is worth it. We keep Spicy Globe in a pot to make caring for it easier.
  • Sunflowers: Whether you choose annual towering beauties or perennial tuberous sunchokes, these flowers will bring pollinators en masse to your garden. Just be sure to choose a variety that offers what pollinators & birds need like Paintbox Bouquet.
  • Zinnias: In our book, no summer garden would be complete with out these blooms. We love them all!

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