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Sat Mar 28, 2020, 06:03 PM

Panic Buying Comes for the Seeds.

'I’m clearly not the only one who is desperate to garden.

On a recent Sunday, after I’d completed my push-up challenge, counted my rolls of toilet paper and sketched out a new work-from-home schedule that I would eventually abandon by midday Monday, I looked online in search of something that my pandemic-addled mind had decided overnight was essential: seeds.

Crises can release memories, and as I entered my third week of social isolation, a half remembered fragment of “Candide” resurfaced from high school French class. I must, the voice demanded, cultivate my garden. And, as it happens, I have a weedy patch of backyard that I can turn, if not into an Eden, than at least something slightly less weedy and more nourishing.

Despite one disastrous deck garden (I blame questionable soil), I have a reasonable track record of messily coaxing food from the earth. I grew up with a backyard garden, spent a summer working on farms in Vermont and worked for three seasons in a botanical garden. . .

But as I searched for seeds to grow beautifully swirled red and white Chioggia beets, fiery peppers and enough basil to start my own pesto company, website after website warned that my vegetative dreams may be delayed.

“It feels like we are selling toilet paper,” Mike Dunton, the founder of The Victory Seed Company, a small seed company focused on horticultural biodiversity told me via email. (He was too busy filling orders to come to the phone.)

I’d been searching his company’s website for glass gem corn, a popping corn that originated with Carl Barnes, who was a part-Cherokee farmer in Oklahoma. In recent years, the corn has become internet famous because of its kaleidoscopic jewel-like appearance. My pandemic prep included buying four pounds of standard yellow popping corn; glass gem corn felt like a way of stepping up my game. . .

Clearly, I was not the only person who felt that the best path through the pandemic was to panic-buy a bunch of seeds. . .

The impetus to grow things right now is not limited to those with yards.

“It’s been crazy, the amount of uptick we’ve seen in the past two weeks,” said Bryce Nagels, the founder of Nutritower, a hydroponic gardening company. (According to Mr. Nagels, the system lets people grow the equivalent of a 30-square-foot garden inside their home.)'>>>

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/style/seed-panic-buying-coronavirus.html?

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Reply Panic Buying Comes for the Seeds. (Original post)
elleng Mar 28 OP
MuseRider Mar 28 #1
elleng Mar 28 #2
NutmegYankee Mar 29 #6
MuseRider Mar 29 #7
NutmegYankee Mar 29 #8
DarthDem Mar 28 #3
Silver Gaia Mar 29 #4
Vinca Mar 29 #5
MissB Mar 30 #9

Response to elleng (Original post)

Sat Mar 28, 2020, 06:06 PM

1. I am trying to germinate

some old seeds. I planted them about 5 days ago and they are in my sun room, I figure a lot of things like lettuce might grow well in there where I can keep it warm or cool and there are a lot of windows.

If it works we should be able to get by a lot longer not going to the store.

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 28, 2020, 06:14 PM

2. Good!

I think my neighbor and family are planting this weekend. HOPE so, as I've loved their cherry tomatoes in past years; hope they have seeds!

They've had an asparagus patch, hope I can look at it soon.

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 29, 2020, 02:43 PM

6. I'm managing to get germination of lettuce seeds even 5 years old

And my tomatoes routinely germinate from 3 years old, especially the unique hybrids I bought.

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Response to NutmegYankee (Reply #6)

Sun Mar 29, 2020, 04:45 PM

7. THANKS!

This encourages me. I guess you can still get seeds around here but I am not even certain how to try. Orders, well I do not know how that works right now. We ordered a little squeaky toy for our dog and it is coming the first week in June!

I am lucky with the sun room. I can probably do much of the things by leaving them in now and bringing them in later like a greenhouse.

Thank you for the encouragement.

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 29, 2020, 08:03 PM

8. The only annoyance is the germination rate drops.

Normally 9 out of every 10 seeds will germinate, but when old it drops. I compensate by putting more seeds in each cell, though I had some all germinate in one cell and none in another. I pulled the extras very gently, and transplanted them with success.

The only vegetable that is giving me trouble is spinach. Only a 17% germination rate. But I just seeded a second large tray to compensate.

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Sat Mar 28, 2020, 07:30 PM

3. Great Piece

Not much of a gardener here but I do love trees and bushes. Thanks for posting this.

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Sun Mar 29, 2020, 02:59 AM

4. Wow.

I had been planning to place an order for garden seed. I usually just pick them up in the store, but had decided I would order online this year so as to avoid going into the store.

Your post made me decide I should order NOW. So, I went too Burpee's online catalog to order, and learned that it was a good thing I did! MOST everything I clicked on was out of stock! I've never seen anything quite like this before.

I was able to get everything I wanted except for yellow squash. I didn't get my first pick of variety on most things, but was at least able to get my second choice and a lot of them were heirloom seeds.

Thank you for the heads up on this!

If you want a garden and need seed, don't wait! Order NOW!

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Sun Mar 29, 2020, 07:53 AM

5. I bought my seeds weeks ago when spring fever set in. Glad I did!

I usually don't start tomato plants because we have a local farm that has beautiful plants and a huge variety, but this year I'm planning to get a few going just in case. I'm in zone 5, so not quite ready to start them yet. I've got some leaf lettuce growing in a little greenhouse/cold frame thingy I bought for about $60 off Amazon. I was thinking of starting some snap peas, but I checked the ground yesterday and it's still frozen about 5" down so I'd better wait a couple of weeks for those, too. This miserable quarantine will be a whole lot easier to handle once gardening weather arrives.

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2020, 04:16 PM

9. I noticed territorial seed company was wiped out!

I usually get most of my packets of seeds from Portland Nursery. In fact, I did just that in late January.

I grabbed my boxes of seeds and my territorial seed catalog and figured out what seeds I needed and what new varieties I’d like to try. There are always some varieties that sell out fast, so I wanted to make sure I checked out Portland Nursery first before ordering directly from territorial.

I pretty much had everything I needed in hand by early February. Territorial shipped my order quickly.

I have occasionally haunted their page since then, hoping to find some Nova tomato seeds. They must’ve had a crop failure this past year as that variety is simply unavailable.

Just for giggles I went on their page this weekend, thinking that since Portland nursery is closed perhaps people are hitting up territorial directly.

And boy, are they. I’m sure there were some seeds somewhere on that website that had some availability but I didn’t see anything but the words “sold out”!

Really glad I got some when I did. I’m in round 2 of my starts and will shift over to the warm weather stuff in May. My rack is full of starts (I arguably started my tomatoes too early this year) and I’m transitioning out everything but my peppers, tomatoes, ground cherries and Mexican sunflowers (tithonia) just so those items can have enough room to grow.

(By the way, I use two plastic photo boxes to sort and keep my seeds. Each box has three rows with separate photo sized boxes to hold seeds. My brain loves organization so this works well for me!)

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