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Author Topic: Monitoring retail seed scarcity  (Read 1479 times)

R.R. Book

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Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« on: January 14, 2020, 06:55:15 AM »
With comments from the GSM community that the seed supply may be approaching a critical tipping point now, in which last year's weather prevented crops from maturing and forming seeds, it might be wise to carefully monitor the commercially available seed supply, particularly of certified organic/non-GMO heirloom varieties.  While it might be difficult to monitor every company that offers a few organic varieties among its otherwise-GMO seeds, members of Town Hall have identified three U.S. retailers in particular to watch:


Information about seeds from other companies is welcome here too.  Some organic farms, for example, specialize in retailing mainly one type of crop, such as all garlic, and may offer numerous more varieties than available elsewhere.  We can add those as we are able.

It is mid-January now, and while that might have seemed too early to start seeds in the past, it is not too early to order your own seeds for 2020, even if not starting them right away.  A nearby Amish nursery says that I started some of my annual crop seeds a little late last year, around mid-April, and that they start theirs in February.  So Groundhog Day or Valentine's Day may be good benchmarks for getting certain seeds potted up indoors. 

The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener's Handbook suggests that at a minimum, several things can be done for the garden in the 15 to 20 week period before your last frost date.  We can take one of those free calendars that stores were handing out at Christmastime, or our personal desk planner, and circle the average last frost date for our own area, and then begin counting backward to mark each week on the calendar as to how many weeks til end of frost it represents, as this particular book arranges tasks accordingly.  Specifically at this time, the book recommends ordering all seeds and crowns, as well as seed-starting equipment.  Leeks, onions and herbs can be started indoors in a sunny window or in a heated greenhouse now, especially if your location falls into the 15-20 weeks period before last frost date.  Our last frost-date in this area of PA is traditionally Mother's Day, so around May 10.

Please click image to enlarge.

.pdf available here:

« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 02:30:26 PM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2020, 07:46:10 AM »
High Mowing Seeds of Vermont is currently already sold out of the following for spring, 2020:

Abay sweet pepper

All Red potato

Arroyo pelleted lettuce

Bellstar tomato

Black Futsu pumpkin

Black Jet soybean

Blue Lake pole bean

Breen

Candlelight hot pepper

Copenhagen cabbage

Copia tomato

D'avignon radish

Dario zucchini

Dashen pepper

Dolciva carrot, pelleted

Doric Brussels sprouts

Dwarf Gray sugar snow peas

Ezbruke lettuce

Feher Ozon sweet pepper

First Kiss cantaloupe

G-Star summer squash

Garnet red amaranth

Gold Nugget cherry tomato

Haogen melon

Jade bush bean

Kakai hulless pumpkin

Katahdin potato

Long Island cheese pumpkin

Magnificenza cantaloupe

Mardi cauliflower

Maya habanero hot pepper

Merengo celery

Mountain Magic tomato

Murdoc cabbage

Northeaster pole bean

Olympus sweet pepper

Optima lettuce

OrangeGlo watermelon

Ornamental gourd mix

Oscarde lettuce

Pala Rossa radicchio

Picnic pepper collection

Pomegranate crunch lettuce

Purple mizuna Asian greens

Purple Osaka mustard greens

Purple Viking potato

Red Ace beet

Red Long of Florence onion

Red Swan bush bean

Red Wing onion

Rocky Ford melon

Rona melon

Rudolf radish

Scarlet Frills mustard greens

Shiraz beet

Spanish Roja garlic

Spock lettuce

Stocky Red Roaster pepper

Strike beans

Striker leek

Sugar Daddy snap pea

Sulu lettuce

Tall Utah celery

Tavera Haricot Vert beans

Totem Belgian endive

TripleCrown watermelon

Triunfo jalapeno pepper

Valenciano pumpkin

Waldmann's pelleted lettuce

Winter Bloomsdale spinach

Wrinkled Crinkled Cress

X-tra Tender sweet corn

Yaya carrot, pelleted

Yellow cipollini onion


« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 03:34:18 PM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2020, 07:49:52 AM »
Wood Prairie Farm of Maine seeds already sold out for 2020:

All of their garlic and onions

« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 03:35:01 PM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2020, 08:32:26 AM »
Additional organic seed suppliers (may sell all or some organics), none of whom appear to be sold out yet:

(Remember that signing the "Safe Seed Pledge" is entirely meaningless)...

Botanical Interests in Colorado has an organic department certified under the Non-GMO Verified Project:

https://www.botanicalinterests.com/category/Vegetables-Organic


Lake Valley Seed Company is a wholesaler located in Colorado, which may sell to your local seed supplier.  They have an organic line of seeds (watch for the USDA Certified Organic logo):


Please continue to add to this list  :)
« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 03:27:03 PM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2020, 09:51:03 AM »
Turtle Tree Seed of New York shortages to-date:

Fortex pole bean

Odysseus cauliflower

Etardo Belgian Endive (backordered)

Canasta Batavian lettuce

Mutabile green zucchini

Verde Chiaro D'Italia green zucchini

Idemar Brussels sprouts (backordered)
« Last Edit: January 22, 2020, 03:35:53 PM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2020, 10:13:28 AM »
Tally of known organic seed shortages thus far:

Pepper: lllll  llll (9)

Potato: ll (2)

Greens: lllll  lllll  lllll  lll (18)

Tomato: lllll (5)

Winter squash: lllll (5)

Bean: lllll  llll (9)

Cabbage: ll (2)

Radish: ll (2)

Summer squash:  llll (4)

Carrots: ll (2)

Brussels sprouts: l (1)

Peas: ll (2)

Melons: lllll  ll (7)

Amaranth: l (1)

Cauliflower: ll (2)

Celery: ll (2)

Onion: llll (4)

Beet: l (1)

Garlic: ll (2) (note that many suppliers don't restock / ship til late summer due to garlic's growth habit)

Leek: l (1)

Corn: l (1)

Eliminating the singlets, here is the current unscientifically sampled ranking of seed shortages from the companies posted here, starting from most scarce:

Greens (18)

Peppers (9)

Beans (9)

Melons (7)

Tomatoes and Winter Squash (5 each)

Summer Squash and Onions (4 each)

Potato, Cabbage, Radish, Carrots, Peas, Cauliflower, Garlic and Celery (2 each)
« Last Edit: January 16, 2020, 05:17:25 AM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2020, 07:19:30 PM »
Tally of known organic seed shortages thus far:

Pepper: lllll  llll (9)

Potato: ll (2)

Greens: lllll  lllll  lllll  lll (18)

Tomato: lllll (5)

Winter squash: lllll (5)

Bean: lllll  llll (9)

Cabbage: ll (2)

Radish: ll (2)

Summer squash:  llll (4)

Carrots: ll (2)

Brussels sprouts: l (1)

Peas: ll (2)

Melons: lllll  ll (7)

Amaranth: l (1)

Cauliflower: ll (2)

Celery: ll (2)

Onion: llll (4)

Beet: l (1)

Garlic: ll (2) (note that many suppliers don't restock / ship til late summer due to garlic's growth habit)

Leek: l (1)

Corn: l (1)

Eliminating the singlets, here is the current unscientifically sampled ranking of seed shortages from the companies posted here, starting from most scarce:

Greens (18)

Peppers (9)

Beans (9)

Melons (7)

Tomatoes and Winter Squash (5 each)

Summer Squash and Onions (4 each)

Potato, Cabbage, Radish, Carrots, Peas, Cauliflower, Garlic and Celery (2 each)
RR, you've done an amazing amount of work in collating this important information on disappeariing organic seeds, at least for 2020.  Frankly, I'm taken aback by the sheer numbers of crop seeds unavailable for now at least.

Another "righteous" seed company is Native Seed Search, and I've ordered from them for years and years and have always been satisfied.  While they are not certified organic, they plainly state in their blurb (I think under the "About our Seeds" topic online) that they grow most of their seed, and while they do not have USDA certification, their growing methods are as good, and often exceed USDA organic standards. 

Their initial offerings for years were crops native to the American Desert SouthWest, but over the years they have added other offerings, presumably because people tend to want lots of variety.  BUT they are very clear in their catalog which crops are part of their Native American crops, and which are not.  Each seed offeriing ihas a color coded "key":  H = high desert; L = low desert; S = Seed Bank; N = Non-collection; F = Favorites; M = Members Only; B = Bulk Seed Available.

A few years ago I ordered seed of a wild hot pepper thought to be an original source of today's hot peppers:  the Chiltepine.  There are several varieties they offer, with Devil's River being the one I grew, along with another whose name I forgot.  The chiltepine is a cute little pepper whose size belies its heat.  If added in a cheesemaking session, it makes a wonderful hot pepper cheese.

In one of their publications they focused on how many arid-adapted crop seeds they have in their collection and it was over 100.  They are an amazing group of people dedicated to revitalizing the maintaining crops that Natives grew for eons.  Check them out:
https://www.nativeseeds.org/
« Last Edit: January 16, 2020, 05:19:55 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2020, 07:29:52 AM »
Thanks so much for posting info on Native Seed Search Ilinda.  They sound like possibly a smaller grassroots business that is taking care to conserve some possibly rare landraces belonging to that region, and if you know them well, perhaps it would be fine to make an exception to the 3rd party organic certification, which could impose unwieldy bureaucratic requirements on small companies that could force them out of business.

R.R. Book

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2020, 07:43:00 AM »
With today marking the end of a 5-day pre-taste of spring, as we return to winter tomorrow, it occurred to me that there still might be time to get softneck garlic into the ground for a fall, 2020 crop.  Rather than struggling to source it on-line, I got up at 6 this morning and drove down to the Amish health food store and purchased $7 worth of organic garlic bulbs - enough to plant around 150 cloves in the ground while the soil was unfrozen and easy to work.  I lined both sides of the aisle between raspberry cordons, as well as the semi-circular path through the gooseberries, as it had occurred to me overnight that garden path edges were wasted space that could be supporting a crop.

Both of those garden paths were flanked by heavy cedar mulch on the gardens, which I tucked the garlic several inches beneath in holes poked by a stick.  The aromatic cedar oil may permit the crop to be repeated in situ there without rotation, as it discourages certain microbes in the top few inches of soil.  By the same token, cedar mulch also ties up nitrogen for a period of time before releasing it again, so it might be well to feed algae pond water to those locations periodically.

Garlic does need a period of vernalization, in which it undergoes a certain number of weeks of cold, which it will have plenty of as we say goodbye to this pleasant hiatus and return to winter.  Every little break from the cold that we receive during winter can be used to make the coming growing season that much easier to get underway, if we seize those opportunities while they exist.  :)
« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 07:58:31 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2020, 01:03:12 PM »
This non-GMO seed supplier in Utah supports Dave Dubyne's Adapt2030 podcast:



Their organic certification is posted here:

https://cdn.trueleafmarket.com/docs/OTCO_Certificate_8-19.pdf
« Last Edit: January 15, 2020, 01:27:03 PM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2020, 01:48:36 PM »
With today marking the end of a 5-day pre-taste of spring, as we return to winter tomorrow, it occurred to me that there still might be time to get softneck garlic into the ground for a fall, 2020 crop.  Rather than struggling to source it on-line, I got up at 6 this morning and drove down to the Amish health food store and purchased $7 worth of organic garlic bulbs - enough to plant around 150 cloves in the ground while the soil was unfrozen and easy to work.  I lined both sides of the aisle between raspberry cordons, as well as the semi-circular path through the gooseberries, as it had occurred to me overnight that garden path edges were wasted space that could be supporting a crop.

Both of those garden paths were flanked by heavy cedar mulch on the gardens, which I tucked the garlic several inches beneath in holes poked by a stick.  The aromatic cedar oil may permit the crop to be repeated in situ there without rotation, as it discourages certain microbes in the top few inches of soil.  By the same token, cedar mulch also ties up nitrogen for a period of time before releasing it again, so it might be well to feed algae pond water to those locations periodically.

Garlic does need a period of vernalization, in which it undergoes a certain number of weeks of cold, which it will have plenty of as we say goodbye to this pleasant hiatus and return to winter.  Every little break from the cold that we receive during winter can be used to make the coming growing season that much easier to get underway, if we seize those opportunities while they exist.  :)
Congrats to you!  You are probably right in thinking it's OK to be a bit late, as they seem to do well in the winter when no weeds are g rowing and they can sit there and ponder their next move.

R.R. Book

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2020, 06:50:12 PM »
Quote
...they can sit there and ponder their next move

 :)

R.R. Book

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2020, 09:46:10 AM »
Sow True Seed, a seed company located in North Carolina, carries a regular line of seeds as well as an organic line of seeds which is cooperatively maintained by organic-certified farmers.  Today on January 18, they are already sold out of one of their organic kales, one of their organic onions and all of their organic soy beans.

Anyone wanting organic seeds for 2020 may want to order very soon.



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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2020, 10:19:15 AM »
True Leaf Market Seeds, mentioned above, is quickly selling out of seeds in bulk sizes, such as 25 and 50 pound packages.  These may be going to larger farms, or they may be disappearing into the caches of preppers for future use.

Several vegetable seeds in home-garden sizes are already sold out:

Pagoda Purple cabbage

Amy Hybrid canary melon (note that hybrid seeds can be organic, but will not reproduce true-to-type in subsequent years)

Imperator 58 pelleted carrot seeds (easier to spread method for very tiny seeds)

Chinese celery

Bush Pickle cucumber

Red Tatson mustard

Sweet Carmen Hybrid pepper

Hot Ancho Grande pepper

Sweet Pimiento pepper

Sweet Colossal Hybrid pepper

Hot Pasillo Bajia pepper

Lady Slipper radish

Dutch Broad Leaved mache

Basket White Hybrid strawberry

Tumbling Tom tomato

Grapette Hybrid tomato

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Re: Monitoring retail seed scarcity
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2020, 08:18:09 AM »
Anyone who can't find the seeds they want locally might consider turning to B & T World Seeds, the largest retail seed bank on Earth allegedly, with more than 35,000 different species represented from around the globe.  Their website says that they withdraw any seed that doesn't come true to type or that doesn't germinate well from the collection:



 

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