Garden Clippings for Feb 16, 2019
The itch has begun. There’s not much for gardeners to do in the middle of February but dream.
But dreams can become plans and plans can become reality. The February sun is already stronger and longer than the beginning of the year and, in a few months we will surely be picking dandelions.
Seed catalogues have already arrived in my mailbox, although fewer than before because seed suppliers would rather me spend time in front of a screen than a paper version.
While most gardeners can find their needs met on the standard seed display racks, it is the discriminating gardener who opts for buying seeds directly from the grower. The biggest advantage is selection. The other advantage is that every seed supplier has its own claim to fame or area of specialty.
Here is a run-down of my favorite seed suppliers, in no particular order. All carry a complete selection of flower, vegetable and herb seeds.
William Dam Seeds (damseeds.ca) is a down to earth seed company that was started on a kitchen table here in Sarnia. Like another good gardener that I knew, William Dam Sr immigrated to Canada about 70 years ago and soon found employment at a local chemical plant. He quit his Polymer job to pursue his passion and a decade later moved to Hamilton area where the market was bigger. William Dam Seeds specialises in certified organically grown seeds. Their catalogue is vast with more flower varieties than anyone. They carry over 50 types of tomatoes, the most popular seed category.
Ontario Seed Company (oscseeds.com) is Ontario’s largest packet seed company. A family run business with a rich history rooted in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, OSC grows and distributes a complete selection of herbs, flowers and vegetables along with supplies, tools and books. OSC carries the complete line of Aimer’s certified organic seeds.
Mckenzie Seeds (mckenzieseeds.com) from Brandon Manitoba also claims to be Canada’s number one seed packet company, whose seed displays can be found in retail outlets everywhere. The company had humble beginnings dating back to 1896 and has since been owned by Regal Gifts, the Government of Manitoba and Ferry Morse seeds who is related to Jiffy Products. McKenzie Seeds also owns McFadden Seed company and McConnel’s Nursery, known for mail order nursery products.
Vesey’s Seeds (veseys.com) hails from Prince Edward Island and is a family run seed company that has evolved into one of Canada’s leading mail order garden supply stores. In addition to a complete line of seeds, Vesey’s sells tools, bulbs, perennials, fruit plants and hard-to-find garden accessories.
Richters Herbs (richters.com) in Goodwood, Ontario, at the Northeast corner of Toronto, is a major grower and seller of herbs serving both Canada and USA. Their catalogue boasts more herbs than anyone, with over 50 varieties of basil and over 30 varieties of peppers.
Next week’s Garden Clippings will deal with easiest seeds to start indoors.