As you peruse the seed selection at your local garden section in the big box store you might think that since it is available in our store it must surely grow in your area and you will be able to gain an excellent harvest from it. However, that level of thoughtfulness is not a part of the marketing strategies many of these commercial seed-selling conglomerates consider as they hope that your failure will lead to more seeds bought as you try again thinking it was your fault the seeds failed. One of the largest reasons though when you are growing from these seeds and not seeing the success you think you should have even when you have made sure it is something that should be able to grow in your area can steam from where those seeds where grown from to start with.
Currently, North America dominates global sales followed by Asia Pacific and Europe. However, Asia Pacific is expected to become the market leader by 2020. Asia Pacific and Latin America are expected to witness high growth rates during the forecasted period. This range tends to be how commercial market seeds are categorized and packaged from. That can mean that the seeds you have just bought at the store have been tempered to grow well in a completely different climate, region, and even continent then where you live and what to grow. When seeds are grown in a specific region with a narrowed climate over several generations these seeds will take on better-growing qualities to grow in these areas and yield better results as you continue that cycle.
Say you are not as worried though at this time where your seeds are grown as long as you have the varieties you are looking for and want to grow. Well then, buckle up because now that plan of growing peas just got a lot more intensive as you pick from the 5 types the commercial seed companies carry now. But, what happened to the ones you liked or want to try out, where are those interesting and diverse choices, how can you even know that there used to be 40 types to pick from or maybe small varieties used to be the best growing in your area. Well, unless you have some good friends, a local seed exchange, or want to do some heavy reading you might not even know what you’re missing out on. The global commercial seeds market is highly consolidated, where the top three players account for over 50% market share. This has lead to a deep sharpening of what used to be a very wide range of seeds available to grow from. Tomatoes are another great example of this decrease in options. Did you know there are over 15,000 known varieties of tomatoes out there? The grocery store has anywhere from 2-5 varieties available, such as a regular slicer, maybe a beefsteak, and some cherry tomatoes. The nursery might have a little more, but it’s still a small selection.
Growing your own seeds and exchanging seeds within your community can have a wide range of benefits for the garden to combat this marketed frustration that commercial seeds have ingrained into the gardening experience. So, before you give up and think about looking into some seed companies from your region that might have seeds better suited for your climate and might be able to help you troubleshoot those issues. Also, feel free to ask the local blogs and websites (such as AskAggie) on where to find local seed growers or what varieties work best in your area.
If you want to read some more about the Seed Industry from the USDA, we have attached the report to be able to read or download for further learning.