Inflation in seed prices and shipping prices
Looking at the same of the prices in new seed catalogs has me blanching a bit.
Some are doing a good job of holding the line on more price increases. Most Baker Creed seed packets are still in the US$3.50 - $4.00 range, and shipping is still free. Baker Creek has always been one of my favorite seed companies even though many of the varieties I want are not available there, and this is going to mean shifting even more of future orders to them.
Johnny's Seeds, on the other hand, is showing steep increases on both seed prices and shipping prices. For example, Fortex has been a favorite pole bean for me for several years now, and it's difficult to find it anywhere except Johnny's. But for 2024, they are asking $5.75 a packet (out of stock, unknown shipping price) or $15.15 for 250 seeds plus shipping $8 shipping. So $25 for 250 seeds, which is probably a 2-3 year supply of Fortex bean seeds for me, vs. $36 for a dozen different seed packets at Baker Creek.
I have think I have a few Fortex bean seeds left over from last year. It's probably time to use them for a seed increase in 2024, rather than eating them. I'll grow something else to eat this year.
It's not just the Fortex. Johnny's is offering Buttercrunch lettuce for $6.15 a packet, Sungold F1 for $5.80 a packet, and so forth. These prices don't include shipping.
When the same variety is offered by both Baker Creek and Johnny's, you can see the difference. Black Cherry tomatoes are $6.15 for a packet of 40 at Johnny's, or $3.50 for a packet of 25+ at Baker Creek (even before adding shipping to the Johnny's order). Personally, I don't need 40 seeds of a single tomato variety.
The only way I can justify the 2024 Johnny's prices is to order things I can't get anywhere else, or to order larger quantities of seed. For example, I still order most of my seeds for winter sprouts and shoots there, but I am buying them in 1/4 lb bags of each.
I think Johnny's is increasing looks to farmers and market gardeners for its sales, and is less interested in offering small backyard gardeners seeds at a competitive price. Baker Creek, on the other hand, seems to see the backyard gardener as the mainstay of their customer base.
We will all have stronger incentives in the future to try to save at least some of our own seeds, rather than purchase all of them every year. This will be true even for those like myself with limited gardening space.
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