Relax, gardeners, there will be plenty of seeds to go around

    One of my favorite annual rituals is sitting in front of a roaring fire in early January with a cup of tea and stack of seed catalogs. It is, for me, the official start of a new gardening season. By then, the hard work of the previous year’s garden is a distant memory, along with the failures. In January, armed with unlimited seed options, anything is possible.
    But it has come to my attention that I may be deprived of this great pleasure. Apparently people are already ordering seeds.
    My first tip-off to unusual seed-buying behavior was an influx of questions from fellow gardeners on Instagram looking for seed sources and suggestions. And then I saw other gardeners commenting on their 2021 seed orders. Floret, a Washington-state flower farm with an enormous social media following (due in large part to the most stunning photos of flowers you’ve ever seen) sold out its fall seed sale in a couple hours.
    Perhaps this is a natural reaction to the Great Seed Shortage of 2020. When the pandemic forced people to stay home and even trips to the grocery store seemed fraught, a lot of people decided it was time they learned how to garden. The good news is that hopefully the world now has a lot of new gardeners. The bad news was that seed companies were not prepared for the frenzy and many sold out or had long delays processing orders.
    People seem to be concerned that seed shortages will continue and are trying to get a jump on their orders, which puts my cozy fireplace seed list-making event in jeopardy.
    Purely out of self interest I reached out to a few seed companies and a local independent garden center, and the report, across the board, was that we probably don’t need to worry too much about getting our hands on seeds next year.
    Kara Zondag of Jung Seed in Randolph, Wis., which mails about 3.5 million seed catalogs each year, said the company expects to have plenty of seeds to meet the needs of gardeners. “We encourage gardeners not to worry and to keep on growing,” she said.
    At least one local garden center has already ordered a larger-than-usual supply of seeds for growing next year.
    In other words: Everyone stand down! There will be seeds for all of us, and all this rushing is putting a real damper on what will probably be the highlight of my entire winter.
    Speaking of seeds, remember those mystery seeds from China that were showing up in the mail? The National Garden Bureau says that more than 20,000 seed packages were reportedly received in the U.S. Packages tested by government agencies showed they contained, fruits, vegetables, weeds, viroids and larvae of various beetles. How very 2020.
    Thank goodness we won’t have to rely on mystery seeds sent in the mail for next year’s garden. But let’s all agree to hold off a bit longer before we think too much about that.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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