COVID-19 Gardening Plant catalogs Sowing Seeds

In 2021, Get Your Seed Orders in Early!

Photo: &

Were you caught up in the COVID-19 seed crisis? When seed suppliers all over the world were suddenly overwhelmed by the massive newly awakened interest in gardening, especially food gardening, and found themselves unable to supply the requested seeds? 

I know I was. Yes, I usually order my vegetable and flower seed in January, but in 2020 I had dawdled. I’ve done so before and had still received lightning-fast service, generally, sending in my order and receiving the seed packs a few days later … and certainly no more than 10 days. So, I was stunned when I tried placing orders in late March, only to run into Web sites saying they were so overloaded they had temporarily closed down. Or others warning to expect considerable delays in shipping. Two of the orders I finally did receive came in mid-June: over 6 weeks later and too late for a 2020 sowing. That’s not such a big deal: I now have them on hand and they’ll still be good for the 2021 season.

When this happened, I of course rushed out to my local garden center as soon as it was de confined to try and complete my order, only to find their seed display almost empty. It had been fully picked over. Anything I personally might have really wanted was already gone.

As a result, I ended up not growing some of the plants I wanted. 

This Year’s Situation

Display of many different seed packets.
There’s a huge choice of seeds… when you order early! Photo:

My current concern is this year’s orders: seeds of either new plants (or plants new to me) that I want to try or older varieties I’ve run out of seeds for. And I think you should be too!

I’m sure that seed companies have gone out of their way to prepare extra seed packets this year, to ensure better mailing arrangements and think they are fully ready for the 2021 season. But what if the interest in gardening continues to mushroom? I mean, no one saw last year’s spike coming!

So, my recommendation is to go over those seed catalogs … now! A full two months before you’re likely to need to be sowing anything. Most seed 2021 seed catalogs are up and ready as we speak, with paper catalogs mostly mailed out late last year, while online catalogs are only a Google away. Prepare your orders and get them in as soon as you can.

I sent in my orders … yesterday! Just in case this little article starts another major run on the seed market: stranger things have happened!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

3 comments on “In 2021, Get Your Seed Orders in Early!

  1. While growing rhododendrons, my colleague found it difficult to keep up with fads. Rhododendrons have a slow turnover. They take a few years to become saleable. By the time a cultivar that is a fad becomes available, it is no longer a fad.
    Seed do not take so long to catch up with fads, or in this situation, sudden popularity. However, there are some that producers will not be able to produce enough of in the short term.

  2. I had the same experience last year. I went on line this past weekend and was surprised that there are packets sold out and some packets of 15 seeds are $9-$10. So, off I went to the local nursery and picked up enough for a decent garden. Now, I just need to find seed potatoes.

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: