When I was a kid, seed shopping was easy. We had one seed catalog and that was it. Now, I have a giant stack of them and it takes forever to go through them all. This year, however, I got smart and started prioritizing the catalogs.
Priority One: The catalogs are in Washington State.
By looking at these catalogs first, I can encourage local businesses and help the local economy.
Priority Two: The catalogs are in bordering states.
Buying from these catalogs may not help my local economy, but it does help reduce my carbon footprint.
Priority Three: The catalogs are from states in a similar latitude.
At this point, I still need stuff that is not offered anywhere close to locally (that I know of). Because the home states of these companies are at a similar latitude, however, it is likely that the plants they offer will thrive in my Northern climate of late summers and early winters even if the temperatures are wildly different.
Priority Four: Everything else, just in case they have something really cool.
Sometimes only one company offers what you want (like Burpee with my trellises). Other times they just have something that you decide is worth the gamble. These are my “fun” catalogs, so I make sure I pick from them last when I know exactly how much seed budget I have left.
How does everybody else order their seeds? Do you stick with the same catalogs year after year, do you just grab the top one on the stack, or do you avoid them all together and save your own seed?