Looking through the pile   of seed catalogues that have landed in my hall I noticed the wide range of prices for the same seeds. I believe all F1 seed is imported and the sellers put them in their own fancy packets. I have deliberately not called them seed merchants , to me that are just middle men doing what they all do best, ripping of the paying public. Do we need a  new glossy catalogue for each season? We all know what a tomato looks like, we just want to know how it preforms and a few cultural hints, the same applies to most veg. My favourite tomatoes are Shirley they meet all my criteria, look good enough to exhibit, good taste, and thrive in  a unheated green house Below is what the seed sellers are asking for them, even the postage charges vary

D T Brown 15 seeds £2.99

Fothergills   8 seeds £3.75

Thompson & Morgan 10 seeds £4.99

Suttons 20 seeds £4.99

Nuff said

11 Responses

  1. VegVamp says:

    A good and timely reminder Tony, have thought this for some time.
    For info, “sow seed” are doing Shirley toms 10 for £1.85 (https://www.sowseeds.co.uk) haven’t checked out their P & P charges yet though.

  2. Morning Tony & Karen, have just checked them out, postage is calculated by weight. I shall definitely be having a peruse through thre pages :good: thankyou both :-)

  3. Tony, T&M must have heard you, I just recieved an email today T&M seed sale seeds at 99p per packet, it looks like they must use this site :lol:

  4. roly says:

    we tend to buy quite a number of seeds and I’ve often described myself as seedaholick for overspending on seeds but although this may be true I do tend to shop around and for the past couple of years I have bought seeds at the end of season seed sales from garden centres that have saved me pounds I know its risky but I’m prepared to take that risk because after calculating the true cost of the seeds that in most cases are sold a quarter of the true price some even 50p

    but if I see a certain variety that I would like to try then I will buy 99’9% of all seed I bought are f1’s but I do take your point Tony there is quite a difference in price hence it pays one to shop around i.ve bought from the following last year

    G/Centre the biggest purchase
    DT Brown

    so you pays your money you gets your choice and I have to say quite a lot of gardeners still buy there seed by tradition from the same supplier every year probably moan about price I’ve been told this so many times from other gardeners they really believe there seed supplier is the best

    we used to sell seeds in our shop all pictorial price marked packets and we always ended up with quite a few packets unsold that you had to dispose of because the seed were bought on a non return basis and not forgetting there are many TV garden presenters putting there name and sometime the face to promote seed sales that the seed suppliers pass the promotional cost on to the buyer :lol:

  5. AliCat says:

    Kings do 15 seeds for £2.50, I used all their seeds last year and can say I was very pleased with their quality. This year I bought Mr Fothergills seeds but only because they had an offer on where all seeds were a £1.00 a pack.

  6. Beanstew says:

    This is a very timely comment, as most of us usually top up our seed requirements about now. I’ve been expecting some eye-watering increases this year because of Brexit and the fact that most of our seed is produced abroad. More than ever, it pays to store seed properly, know it’s viability, and not buy more than you can use (which doesn’t explain the pile of half-full packets I threw out the other day)

  7. Jenn says:

    I agree that some seed companies are really just middlemen hoicking up their price to make a profit but some companies do run intensive research & development operations that test, monitor and develop new varieties that we often benefit from. Companies such as Thompson & Morgan often get lambasted for the price of their seeds compared to say Lidl or certain online suppliers such as Premier Seeds Direct but they must have an awful lot invested in development, trialing, land, staff costs etc compared to those other suppliers that just sell the packets of seeds. The same goes for fruit bushes & trees – you can buy an apple, pear or cherry tree from Aldi for £4 but Aldi are not researching and developing or improving new and older varieties on their trial grounds like Ken Muir are or looking into new ways to combat new and old pests and diseases or safeguarding older heritage varieties for future generations. This all takes time and money as research into new varieties and pet/disease control often takes a number of years. The old adage of ‘you pay your money and take your choice’ is apt but it is sometimes worth thinking about the reason why those prices are enticingly low and where those companies may be getting their stock from. I buy seed from T&M when it is on sale or they have a 69p-99p value range that has basic traditional varieties to chose from but I also buy from moreveg, Unwins, D T Brown or Wilko. You have to shop within your budget but don’t forget some of the important work behind some of those higher prices.

  8. dandlyon says:

    The seeds I refer to Shirley are F1 hybrids and no British seed supplier is producing any F1 seed, all the work was done abroad on F1 seed mainly China and Japan. Its a very good chance all the seed sellers I mentioned used the same over seas supplier , some are just making a bigger profit than others. If the seed merchants had spent money and done research to improve our natural vegetable seed this situation would not have arose. Just check how many F1 varieties of vegetable seed is on offer in all seed catalogues, compared with open pollinated vatieties

  9. Jenn says:

    I agree with you, Tony, some seed suppliers are definitely ripping people off – Shirley are a super popular tom and you’d think they would have done all the jiggerypokery with certain varieties that have been around for donkey’s years now. We just have to be selective about where we shop, I guess, and get the best deal that we are happy with at that time. We all absolutely want a bargain and to keep costs down but I do think it doesn’t hurt to support UK growers (like http://www.higgledygarden.com & http://www.realseeds.co.uk) that actively trial and supply seeds based on a less globalist and corporate ethos (and who don’t supply many F1s because of that reason) but the downside will inevitably be that they are more expensive than something just passed down the line to the consumer or produced half way round the world and in conditions we know nothing of.

  10. roly says:

    i.ve just received my seed order I went for pelleted seed where possible because I thought the seed mite be better for sowing and eliminate wasting seed as I’ve already said I do have an abundance of seed so I only ordered the following in pellet form carrot onion and lettuce

    I did make enquiries about heritage seeds but it seems with the EU regulations it was quite expensive to purchase these seeds but this mite alter when we Brexit

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