It's official: the homegrown vegetable garden is making a major comeback this spring. With many of us spending more time at home and grocery shopping requiring extra precautions, many Americans are starting their own vegetable gardens, some for the very first time. According to Jack Whettam, sales and marketing manager at Hudson Valley Seed Co, orders have increased "by orders of magnitude" this year, and other seed companies report similar spikes in sales.
Because there’s never been a better time to start a vegetable garden.
While many seed companies experienced shipping delays or had to take a short break to catch up on shipments earlier this April, most are currently back to accepting new orders. Translation: now is a great time to order and start planting all of those tomato, zucchini, and eggplant seeds. Buy vegetable seeds online at the sources below, then consult our month-by-month guide to learn what to plant when.
For those looking to plant wildflower varieties that are beneficial to their local ecosystem, American Meadows provides a guide for seeds by region, by benefit, and by growing condition. The company favors growing flowers that are good for the local ecosystem, such as native plants and those that attract pollinators and beneficial insects.
You can find seeds available at your local garden center or hardware store, but brick-and-mortar retailers usually just carry the most popular, well-known varieties. If you are looking to branch out into heirloom seeds, lesser-known varieties, or reliable producers of well-known plants, purchasing your seeds online can be more economical, offer greater varieties, and help you develop new gardening skills.
“At this site, you can search by region, benefit, and growing condition for flower seeds that are good for the local ecosystem.”
If you want to support a company with a mission, Seeds of Change is the ideal choice. Your purchase will get you high-quality seeds and support school gardening programs around the United States. They have given over $2.5 Million to school programs through FoodCorps to help increase gardening knowledge and enthusiasm in schools.
Gardening advice and knowledge
They say that gardening skips a generation, and that’s true in my family. My grandpa, Yoshio Okamoto, whose American name was Paul, was an avid gardener. He had grown up in Walnut Grove, CA near lots of farmland, owned his home in old Elk Grove, CA (after his interment) with lots of acreage to grow food, and then helped raise me alongside him in the garden. Allowing me to ride on his tractor and harvest his produce. My grandpa is a big reason I have a very special place in my heart for Kitazawa Seed Company.
But this year … this year is going to be totally different! I’ve become a sponge for gardening information. I joined my local gardening Facebook group, started following hundreds of gardeners on Instagram and YouTube, and sometimes I stay up until 3am obsessively reading all about the ins and outs of caring for my crops. I even got this cool seed holder (pictured below)! This is the first article in my series to share all that I’ve learned and that I’m still learning.
Kitazawa Seed Company
Before this past year, I’d buy all my seeds at Lowes or Home Depot and plan my garden based on what was available in their selection. Then, I’d go home, throw all the seeds in my containers and galvanized water troughs without rhyme or reason and hope that something would work out — not considering thinning, or timing, or anything relevant to optimal growth.
This is a nonprofit from which I have learned a lot. I had no idea that there were varieties of produce that were becoming extinct as our diets became less diverse. From their website, their mission is “ Seed Savers Exchange stewards Americaʼs culturally diverse and endangered garden and food crop legacy for present and future generations. We educate and connect people through collecting, regenerating, and sharing heirloom seeds, plants, and stories.”
If you follow a lot of gardening Instagramming accounts, you’ll find that people LOVE this company! Baker Creek has rare seeds that bring fun and uniqueness to your garden. For example, this year, I bought purple beans, kale that looks like a palm tree, multi-colored hot peppers, and some beautiful amaranth (all pictured above).