Monthly Archives: March 2009

Hard times reap profits for seed catalogs


One business that is thriving in these uncertain economic times are the seed sellers. People’s anxiety has fertilized the garden industry which has seen a huge increase in sales this season.


“I wouldn’t say people are panicking. It’s more like they are anxious,” said Bill Timmsen, Human Resources Director at Baker Creek. Vegetable seed sales have more than doubled this year. Baker Creek had been experiencing a slight growth every year, but this spring, seed orders started pouring in early and haven’t stopped.

“It’s more like folks just don’t know. We can’t see tomorrow. We don’t know how bad things are going to get. Growing our own food is one way we can have some control.”

Washington is using the term “shovel- ready” to designate projects that are ready to start creating jobs the minute funding arrives. That shovel-ready work has already started in America’s back yards.

Amid the Washington talk of “shovel-ready” recession projects, few projects are more shovel-ready than a backyard garden. Vegetable seed sales are up by double-digits at all of the nation’s biggest seed sellers.

“ After years of declining veggie seed sales the whole cycle has completely reversed and we are experiencing tremendous interest from a new generation of gardeners who want to, for the first time, start a garden to grow food, said Renee Shepherd, owner of Renee’s Garden.

During a recession, it is a predictable cycle. People tend to want to get back to the basics. But most seed growers have never experienced a jump in sales this large.

“All our seed sales have increased,” said Timmsen and particularly our vegetables seeds.

tomato seedlings

Baker Creek

Renee’s Garden

Nichols Garden

Tomatoes by the Bale

Straw Bale Gardening

I order seed and herb plants most every year from Nichols Garden Nursery in Albany,OR. I didn’t know much about herbs when I started my first herb garden. But, armed with a copy of Herb Companion and a seed catalog from Nichols, I plunged into culinary herbs.

I can’t say I have the same herbs I planted 20 years ago because I’ve moved. But I am starting a new garden with the same tools for success: herb plants or seed from Nichols Herbs and Rare Seeds Catalog and the most current news about herbs in Herb Companion Magazine.

This year my little garden will be expanded by adding straw bales for gardening. I learned about that from Rose Marie Nichols McGee. She tells all on her website.

Gardening friends and neighbors have always visited over the garden fence. This year Rose Marie and I are going to compare notes about our straw bale gardens by way of our blogs.

Heirloom Tomatoes are ordered and will be delivered from Abundant Acres by planting time. I’ll be planting some tomatoes by the traditional method and others in bales.

The straw bale gardening method is a new territory for me. I’ll keep you posted every step of the way, tracking what works and what doesn’t.

The exciting news is that you’ll also get to learn from the master, as Rose Marie shares here adventures in straw bale gardening.

One thing I know for sure because I’ve already ordered the seed, my bale will gave a little added color with Whirlybird Nasturtiums poked in some of the bales.

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