3 Mistakes to Avoid When Seed Shopping This Year

Beefing up your seed supply for the coming growing season? Be sure to steer clear of these pitfalls as you shop.

By Steph Coelho | Updated Feb 14, 2022 6:39 PM

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Seed Shopping This Year

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! For gardeners, that is. The seed catalogs have been arriving for weeks now, and it’s prime time to sit down and plan the gardening season. When you’re flipping through those glossy, colorful pages, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to keep a level head. Instead, prepare for the exciting growing season ahead without making the same age-old mistakes almost every gardener makes at some point in their lifetime.

Here are three mistakes to avoid when seed shopping this year.

1. Waiting too long

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Seed Shopping This Year

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Even the most organized gardener can fall into the procrastination trap. In January and February, after all, many of us are still recharging after the holidays. When seed catalogs arrive around the end of December, they’re often set aside for later, only to be forgotten.

Waiting too long to restock your seed supply, especially in pandemic times, may delay your whole seed-starting operation. And be forewarned: Once again, seed suppliers are predicting shortages as we head into spring.

Getting your seed orders in early ensures you’ll be able to select from a variety of veggies, herbs, and flowers instead of being stuck with the crumbs left behind by those who were more prepared.

Pro tip: Set a calendar reminder so that prime seed buying season doesn’t pass you by.

RELATED: Set Up Your Garden for Success by Ordering From These Seed Companies

2. Getting too adventurous

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Seed Shopping This Year

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Seed catalog pages glisten with colorful images of new-to-you plant varieties. It’s tempting to snatch up bunches of unique and interesting seeds, but try not to overdo it. A good rule of thumb is to opt for just one or two new varieties in a season.

Stick to the tried and true for a rewarding harvest, and save a little bit of space to experiment. Trying too many new seeds at once can become overwhelming and potentially result in a disappointing season.

Pro tip: Keep a garden log of the seed varieties that worked for you, and those that didn’t. It will make seed buying so much easier.

RELATED: The 10 Biggest Vegetable Gardening Mistakes

3. Forgetting to take stock

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Seed Shopping This Year

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Chances are, you don’t keep a careful inventory on exactly which seeds you have—and how many you have. You may think you still have a few tomato and cucumber seeds only to discover you used the last of them last spring. Don’t rush into buying seeds this season without taking inventory first.

Before you start shopping and enthusiastically clicking “add to cart,” go through your current seed stash. Make a note of what’s missing and what needs replenishing. At the same time, you can sketch your garden and make a rough plan of what you want to plant. This will give you an idea of how much space you have to work with and help you shop smarter.

Pro tip: Save seed packets for favorite varieties. Even if you’re skipping them this year because you don’t have enough space to grow them, you can easily refer back to your top picks and remember where you bought them.

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