Where have all the seeds gone?

Discussion in 'Seed Starting / Propagation' started by marlingardener, Mar 4, 2022.

  1. marlingardener

    marlingardener Mighty Oak

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    I'm not asking out of curiosity, but planning for the fall garden and possibly next year. I can save more seeds than usual, if necessary.
    So many seed packets of vegetable varieties are simply not available. We usually plant Sugar Snap peas, but resorted to Cascadia this year. No red leaf lettuces, except in mesclun mixes. And the list goes on.
    Does anyone know why? Were there widespread crop failures? What happened?
     
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  3. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    I think there are several reasons. One is covid 2020, when people couldn't go anywhere and started gardens, at least here in Norway. This led to higher demand, and of course some seeds were sold out quickly. Then came the transport issues, also covid-related. The media howled about empty shelves and food shortage, with the result that many who hadn't started a garden in 2020 did so in 2021. Gardeners who couldn't get the varieties they wanted in 2020 because they were sold out, bought more than they needed in 2021, and I guess some stock piled.

    The globe has also had variable weather the last couple of years. Too wet, too dry, too cold and too hot has led to partially failed crops, and therefore less seed. This region had very few plums two years ago because of frost and snow in the beginning of May, following some nice, warm weather that made the plum trees bloom. I remember one year when autumn was so wet the big potato farmers further south lost most of their crops due to flooding, and a lot of the onion harvest rained away.

    I checked one of our seed companies. There are very few coloured leaves lettuces, which is unusual. The pea assortement seems narrower than last year, but there's a nice variety of tomatoes, beans, squash, etc., so there might not be a shortage-shortage since there seems to be lots of seed out there, but maybe not the ones we want.

    Not seed-related, but shortage related: the price of wood has risen to insane heights up here because of forest fires and beetle infestations in countries far away from us. Trade is global, and merchandise gets sold to the highest bidder. If we were to get a new roof this year, we'd have to cough up at least three times the money we payed two years ago.

    And now I just remembered that I will need to grow some Nasturtium for that colourful salad bowl.
     
  4. MIKE ALLEN

    MIKE ALLEN Seedling

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    Much the same as Droopy.

    Covid seems to be responsible for almost everything.. I get science reports on so much relating to world-wide horticulture etc. I haven't read anything of a world-wide nature.
     
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  5. mart

    mart Strong Ash

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    I think I can get red leaf varieties here ! Not sure which one but if you want I can send it to you ! Try it out !!
     



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  6. marlingardener

    marlingardener Mighty Oak

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    Mart, that is such a kind and generous offer! I truly thank you, but must regretfully decline. We have our "greens" bed planted and there is no room left.
    I hope your container gardens thrive and you enjoy your fresh vegetables.
     
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  7. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Mighty Oak

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    We ordered some sugar snap seeds yesterday. Perhaps our garden centres are stockpiling them. My apologies if it is true.
     
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  8. Droopy

    Droopy Slug Slaughterer Plants Contributor

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    Well, @Sjoerd, it might also be that the producers favour their home market, and the Netherlands is a big seed producer. So is Germany, and further east. After all it's a lot easier to distribute seeds to shops at home than shipping them abroad. The shipping costs have also soared due to lack of transport, shortage of containers, marine crew, lorry drivers, etc.
     
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  9. mart

    mart Strong Ash

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    Since my supplier is local I don`t have the problems others do ! Anything I can`t get here I get on ebay !
    I never buy from seed catalogues ! They are mostly a ripoff ! JMHO !
     
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  10. Cayuga Morning

    Cayuga Morning Strong Ash Plants Contributor

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    Droopy thanks for that summary of likely issues related to seed shortages. A good synopsis.
     
  11. Daniel W

    Daniel W In Flower

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    Both Baker Creek and Victory Seeds report much, much higher sales volume, and the weather in 2021 wasn't good for some seeds.

    What to do about it? I think you are right about saving seeds. I am a BIG proponent of seed saving although I do buy quite a few too. I have two books about saving seeds, I can post the info if wanted. Some are super easy, some take some more effort, and some aren't that practical for the home garden.

    Lettuce is super easy as long as a 3 or 4 foot tall lettuce plant is OK in your garden. It only takes one or two plants. I save Black Seeded Simpson. I think germination is better and faster for home saved seeds. With lettuce, I let the seed head dry out a bit on the plant, then cut it off and store it upside down in paper sandwich bag for a month or two. Then crush in my hand, remove big stuff, put the fest in a dinner plate and take it outside and blow off the chaff. It works pretty well.

    By the way, I checked Seed Savers Exchange. They also report very high demand right now. They have Red Velvet lettuce. I'll link - is that allowed here? (I'm not connected to them in any way) If not, I can remove the link.

    If there is no red lettuce, can you find some red leaf Swiss Chard or Amaranthus instead?

    I like saving seeds because of food security, seed security, it's free, no postage, and I think if you let the best plants go to seed, you wind up in the long run with varieties that are adapted to you area and even to your garden.
     
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