DES MOINES, Iowa — Dreaming of biting into a garden-fresh cucumber sandwich this summer? Better order your seeds now.
A poor growing season last year and increased orders from Europe could make it difficult for home gardeners to get seeds for the most popular cucumber variety and some vegetables this spring. Farmers, who usually grow different varieties than home gardeners, aren’t likely to be affected.
Seeds for what’s known as open-pollinated cucumbers seem to be most scarce, but carrots, snap peas and onions also could be in short supply.
“I suspect there will be some seeds you just won’t be able to buy if you wait too long on it,” said Bill Hart, the wholesale manager in charge of seed purchasing at Chas. C. Hart Seed Company in Wethersfield, Conn. “The sugar snap peas we’re not able to get at all, and other companies that have it will sell out pretty quickly.”
The problem is primarily due to soggy weather last year that resulted in a disappointing seed crop. European seed growers also had a bad year, leading to a big increase in orders for American seeds.
Demand for seeds in the U.S. soared last year, as the poor economy and worries about chemical use and bacteria contamination prompted many people to establish gardens. Homegrown food seemed safer and more affordable. But some wonder if the wet weather that ruined gardens in many areas last summer will discourage first-time gardeners from planting again.