As the wind howls and the fire roars, we are sat reading the seed catalogues at Pig Row. I have a few favourite seed merchants, garnered over the years from allotment growing to our old front cottage garden at Drovers (still for sale here if anyone is interested). My favourites are favourites because their seeds are consistent, they grow well, their customer service is great, they send the occasional freebie and that is important when you are on a tight budget.
My seed merchants don't charge additional postage and packing. Something that annoys me after you have filled your virtual basket and then get told it will cost you to receive your carefully chosen packets of seeds. I accept that heavier items, such as potatoes and fruit, will cost you some postage but it does anger me when some seed merchants add on £2 or £3 more for sending you seeds. I know this puts off many new gardeners who buy from catalogues but don't let this put you off my best of the best, who do not charge postage and packing on seeds.
I love Mr Fothergill's, they always send me a few extra packet of seeds when I place a large order, they follow me on twitter and more importantly they are happy to give additional advice. I think D.T. Brown, often forgotten by some allotmenteers, they are a stalwart of good, reasonably priced seed, they have a fast turn around and they send me labels with each order. This is a neat touch when you dash to the glass house with the packet.
Finally, I want to tell you of a company I found at Southport Flowershow, this will be the first year I will grow any of their varieties. I have opted to grow runner beans and mixed salads from Rebekah's Veg. I like how they keep their packages simple and are reaching out at flowershows across the UK. It is that personal touch that has kept me faithful to Fothergill's, Brown and now Rebekah.
If you have a favourite seed catalogue or website, tell us why below, the more we share our favourite seed merchants the more we all take that step and try them out. There is nothing better than a word of mouth recommendation. Share your merchants, your websites, your favourite seed. Let's get the word out that catalogues are million times better than the mass merchant tea and a wee garden centres. Embrace those small, independent nurseries today, tomorrow and year after year.