Do Your Part to Prevent Seed Shortages With This Advice



With the onset of the pandemic, resulting shortages, and disruptions to warehousing, food, and transportation, seed companies saw a sharp and unexpected increase in demand. As more people turned to “Victory” gardens and looked to growing at least some of their own, seeds and vegetable transplants became treasured commodities. Seed companies simply could not meet the demands on both their product and their packing and shipping capacity.

In their 2021 seed catalogs, both Fedco Seed and Pinetree Seed mention having had to close their websites for a time last spring to fulfill existing orders. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has already had to close in January 2021 for the better part of a week so that they could keep up with orders—the combination of five-fold increase in seed orders coupled with staffing issues due to COVID necessitated the move. Already this year out-of-stocks and backorders are an issue, with many companies’ catalogs yet to even be delivered.

Early Signs Indicate a Need for Seed-Buying Care

It is apparent that this year a similar situation is arising, though seed companies seem better prepared for the demand and have put plans in place to fulfill orders as completely and in as timely a manner as possible. Still, the growth of new gardeners and growers, while certainly to be celebrated, is putting at least something of a strain on the industry. The levelling of capacity, supply and demand is likely to take a few years or more as the interest in this new gardening trend gets sorted for the long haul, and as seed suppliers work to increase their product supplies.

As those who grow know, this isn’t something that can be solved with a simple increase in numbers of widgets at the flip of a switch; increasing seed demand and redistributing to the new types of growers will happen over seasons, not days. Nevertheless, if we all do what we can to help spread the seed around, we can grow not only great gardens, but a great culture of self-sufficiency as people start to get their hands dirty once again.

Resilience grows with cooperation, especially in stressful times. – 2021 Fedco Seed Catalog

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