Now that the Christmas Season is over, it’s time to move into Almost Summer (which is followed by Summer, and Still Summer). You know what that means? Seeds! New Hope Seed Company is the first stop I’ll make after I do an inventory of what I have that’s still viable.
What I like about New Hope Seed Company (in no particular order & no, I don’t work for New Hope):
— Canteloupe/Muskmelon. Without a doubt the melon varieties available at New Hope are the best I’ve ever had. Mind you, there are only six varieties but once you found perfection why go elsewhere? Mr. Big Food is a very big fan of melon and both he and I agree that there’s no contest; Old Tennessee Muskmelon is in a class by itself.
Old Tennessee Muskmelon sherbet
— Customer Service. This follows from the melons. There had been a failure of our favorite melon, and seeds were not available for 2011. When I placed my order, I noted in the comments section that I was disappointed. When my order arrived, it contained a packet of those seeds with a hand written note.
[more what I like plus what you might not like below the fold]
— Seed Packaging. Seeds come in a small plastic baggie within the paper package. This may not sound like a big deal but here in The South it is. The plastic protects the seeds from humidity, which is important for seed storage. (It’s also an added layer of protection in my back pocket!)
— Variety. New Hope Seed Company offers varieties that just are not available anywhere else. Aunt Hattie’s Red Okra is a spectacular plant with gorgeous red pods. Iopride Watermelon is unbelievable. I could go on & on.
— Tobacco. I discovered New Hope years ago when I was in a snit over Nanny Cincinnati. I was looking for tobacco seed to plant on city property– namely the patch of earth between the sidewalk and the street. Rare, non-hybrid tobacco is one of New Hopes specialties. There’s a wealth of information on growing it on the web site. Try it as an annual. It’s a stunning plant, especially if left to go to seed. Plants are also available.
— Sweet potato plants (slips). Here New Hope functions as an intermediary. A nearby local farm specializes in sweet potatoes which can be ordered from New Hope. Slips ship according to your location. Psst– Nancy Hall sweet potatoes are delicious.
— No GMOs.
What you may not like about New Hope Seed Company
— If you are looking for a one-stop seed shopping experience, this is not the place to go looking. Excluding tobacco and sweet potatoes, they offer just 13 kinds of veggie seeds (beans, corn, eggplant, and so on). This is why I shop New Hope first!
— If you are a novice gardener, you may be disappointed to see that the seed packets have no basic information on them: no planting dates, spacing recommendations (although packets do include “days to harvest”). This doesn’t bother me, and it shouldn’t bother you because the information is readily available elsewhere. I’m just noting it.
My order was horribly botched, (my fault), so I wrote to see if I could change it, knowing that it’s often difficult or impossible to retract a faulty order once placed. I pretty much expected a range from a polite “No”, to the usual, “We’re not responsible for your stupidity!” response that’s so common these days.
Alas!!!!!!, David replied *promptly* that the changes I wanted had been made, *AND* thanked me for supporting New Hope, in a totally non form-letter sort of way.
I’ll have more on other seed sources as I begin planning my garden and buying seed.