I just finished my seed orders. This year, for the first time, I am ordering seed rather than buying it all locally. I've spent a lot of time over the past month selecting varieties, using the book Designing the New Kitchen Garden and the UA Agriculture site. If I want to really use all this research and planning, then I can't depend on being able to buy the varieties that I've chosen locally. I'm very satisfied with my choices right now. I hope that holds true at the end of the summer.
This year will be my first year to garden in the kitchen garden surrounding the pool, so it is very important to me that it be as beautiful as it is functional. I've tried to choose varieties that capitalize on color and texture, while not sacrificing taste or reliability. I suppose I will know more at the end of the season.
I ordered from three sources: Seed Savers, Reimer Seeds, and Henry Field's Seed. You can find all of those sites along the right margin of this page. The seed I chose is a mixture of hybrid and open pollinated varieties. I'm going to try my hand at some seed-saving this summer and fall. Mother used to save certain seeds, so it is a time-honored practice in our family.
Since I did set a budget to work within, I had to cut back the orders from my original choices. It was tempting to just order every thing I wanted, as I kept thinking how much I would spend on produce (or even bedding plants) compared to the cost of seed. But I made myself trim my order, and I'm glad I did. I mean, do I really need three varieties of eggplants, when I don't even know how to cook one? (Mother always sliced them and fried them: there must be a better way!) I kept in mind my "gardening for life" mantra and approached this year as a starter year. No, it's not the first time I've grown vegetables, but it is the first time I've tried to grow them for aesthetics. I can always add more next year!