I order more seeds from Pinetree than from any other catalog, which is the bargain-hunter, practical me coming through. Where else can you still buy a packet of seeds for under a dollar? I qualify as a long-time customer, having received the catalog back when it was pretty much colorless, and then later getting onto their website, still barebones and IE-only when everyone else was mounting more up-to-date technology. Both the catalog and the website have improved since then, though content still wins out over appearance.
Pinetree caters to small-scale home gardeners, the idea being that most of us don’t need a packet of 50 tomato seeds, 25 will do fine and then you’re not paying for seeds you will never use. With the exception of some fancy hybrids and rare seeds, the prices are $2.00 or less per packet. Seed counts are provided, so compare. In most cases, you’re paying the same or much less per seed than with other catalogs and comparable prices to buying off a seed rack; there are exceptions.
Tomato seeds as compared before: Celebrity, 15 seeds for $1.75; Brandywine, 25 for $1.35. Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce, 500 seeds for 95 cents!
Descriptions are homey and personal; they’ve tried all these seeds and it shows. You are seldom going to find the latest fashions in vegetables here, but you’ll get a wide selection to choose from, including hybrids, open-pollinated and heirlooms. They also sell herbs, flowers, plants, bulbs, etc., along with a whole lot of books (some discounted steeply) and supplies for gardening, kitchen use and crafts.
Finding things in the catalog can be a little challenging, due to an odd organizational system in which vegetables are listed by type and then you also get a section of international vegetables by region and then a section of container vegetables. There’s some cross-referencing, but it’s still confusing – for example, to find Bull’s Blood Beet I had to look under Dyeing Herbs. (I like to eat it, thank you.) Searching on the website solves this problem.
This is also not a catalog where you get the Latin names of plants provided (a personal preference not shared by everyone, I realize). But if you’re looking to not spend a lot of money while still ending up with most of the seeds you wanted, Pinetree is an excellent first stop.
Notes: (1) You can order a print catalog through most of the catalog websites (or in some cases, download a PDF version). (2) Mention of specific products, brands, or companies is not intended as an endorsement by the University of Maryland. (3) I do not receive consideration of any kind for mentioning products, brands, or companies in my postings. The seed catalogs I review are those of sellers from which I have previously bought seeds.