Dobies Seeds - Four of The Best Seed Companies - A Review
Dobies Seeds - Four of The Best Seed companies - A Review
At this time of year there is very little that can be done in the garden, with a few exceptions. The weather this autumn has been appallingly wet, with lots of flooding, and the ground is completely waterlogged. So its very tempting to curl up in the armchair and browse the seed catalogues which plop through the letterbox with startling regularity.
before you put the kettle on, however, there are two jobs, at least that I'd urge you to do, which will pay dividends come spring.
Now is a good time to retreat to the shed/garage/greenhouse, to do a bit of garden maintenance. Pots, seed trays and plugs need to brushed out (I find an old paintbrush is great for this job), then washed with hot soapy water and dried. This ensures that they are pest and disease free when you need to use them next spring, because you won't feel like doing it then - honest, you'll just want to get stuck in to sowing seeds.
Coming up to winter, I also brush off my garden tools with a wire brush, sharpen them, then give them a squirt of WD40, after all, you'll be needing those secateurs to be razor sharp for late winter pruning.
The best things to plant at this time of year, weather and waterlogging allowing, are bare root roses, fruit trees and raspberry canes, so put the kettle on quickly and pick up those garden catalogues.
There is a huge number of vegetable seed suppliers out there (I am particularly hooked on vegetable gardening) but not all are created equal. Two years ago, seed suppliers came under great scrutiny, as it was found that often up to 80% of the seeds they sold were dead. In fact, I experienced this for myself in 2008, when many of the seeds I planted simply did not germinate. Eventually curiosity got the better of me, and when I dug them up, they were definitely dead. Seed companies since then have made big efforts to improve.
I tend to prefer the less run of the mill nurseries, as I think the seed quality is much better (I've never had a problem with dead seeds from a smaller company), and they often have ethical values and offer more unusual varieties.
So here are the four which I particularly like.....
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I particularly like Dobies because they supply a really good range of fruit trees and bushes, as well as seeds. They were awarded Best Buy Seed Supplier by Which? Gardening, with seed packets starting from 75p per packet, which is excellent value, and 91% of their seeds a go on to produce healthy plants.
You can order online, or via their paper catalogue, and they offer garden tools, gift vouchers (very handy for Crhistmas Gifts) and growing guides. Their website has an 'in your garden now' slot too. When I've ordered from them in the past, delivery has been timely and the plants in good health.
This is a company I've used many times over. They also offer fruit and nut trees, as well as vegetable and flower seeds and plants. They supply books, tools, gifts and encourage children to become interested in growing. Many of their seed varieties are unusual or old varieties.
The company has been family run for two generations and they don't use any chemical pesticides or fungicides, and no artificial fertilisers on their land. Customers may order online or from the paper catalogue, and again, whenever I've ordered items have arrived quickly and in good condition.
The Real Seed Company
I really like this company. They only supply open pollinated seeds, which means that they do not produce hybrid or F1 seeds, so many of their varieties are rare or heirloom seeds. They offer month-by-month growing guides and loads of information on how to save seeds. They trial all of their items, and gardeners may order online or by post. They also welcome feedback on how you got on with their vegetables, so that they can continuously improve on varieties offered.
Plants of Distinction
As the name suggests, Plants of Distinction supply rare and specialist varieties of flowers and veg, some are heirloom seeds. As I can never resist something a little unusual, I'm a big fan. Customers can shop online, or download a paper catalogue, and the company offers gift vouchers, gift selections of seeds and some free gifts.
Pitfalls of Ordering From Seed Catalogues
Provided you choose a reputable company such as these, there is only one pitfall as far as I can see - you always always always order too much stuff, then have the problem of where to put it in your greenhouse or veg plot! I try to restrict myself, but it never works, I'm just tempted by anything out of the ordinary and can't resist, as my bank manager will confirm.
Happy gaden planning!
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