Out of curiosity, I compiled a list of articles relating to seed sales forecasts in 2008 and 2009,
- Vegetable Seed Sales Shoot Skyward – All Things Considered, NPR, 2/21/09
- Veggie Seed Sales Sprout – USA Today, 2/19/09
- Seed Merchants Reap Benefit Of Need To Cut Bills – Financial Times, 2/5/09
- Seed Days Sign of Spring – Flemingsburg Gazette (a small hometown newspaper in Kentucky), 2/25/09
- Seed Seller Says Sales Are Booming – Knoxville News Sentinel, 5/31/08
… and these reports portend a banner year for seed companies that hasn’t been seen in thirty years. Giants like Burpee, Park Seed, and Ferry-Morse are anticipating at least a 25% jump in seed sales. Even boutique seed companies like Renee’s Garden will see a boost in veggie seed sales.
So what does this all mean to us, vegetable gardeners?
It’s not our intent to create a buying panic. But if you’re picky about particular varieties, especially heirloom, it may be a good idea to finalize your seed purchases real soon. We live in Northern CA and pretty much sent in all our seed orders for the year. Specialty garlic and seed potatoes are especially in high demand. We’ve compiled a shortlist of seed companies we’ve purchased from and which Plangarden users have recommended to us.
If you’ve relied on purchasing seedlings in the past, don’t be surprised if your supplier may run short this spring. Many people don’t have the patience to grow tomatoes from seed, and may find that supplies will be limited or of lower quality (due to greater production).
Potted herbs are another commodity that may run out quickly. In the past, we’ve encountered shortages for common herbs like parsley. We’ve now learned tricks and ways to accelerate germination for hard seeds (generally over 10 days to germinate), so it’s no longer an issue for us.
If you plan on preserving your harvests this year, don’t wait till the last minute to get supplies. Ball preserving jars and lids saw a 40% increase in sales in 2008.
Finally, ornamental gardeners, take heed: there’s a good chance that nurseries and garden supply stores may be devoting more space and inventory to veggie gardeners!