There are many companies selling vegetable seeds. In the early spring, even the grocery store has seeds for sale. How do you choose which ones to buy?
To maximize germination rates, avoid the seeds in the grocery store. These seeds may have been sitting in that packet for a while, and the older the seed, the less likely it has the energy to germinate and grow a strong plant.
You can order seed on the internet, or from a catalog if you have one.
The great thing about growing vegetables from seed is being able to pick out the exact plants you want to grow. This is where the catalogs from seed companies shine.
The best seed catalogs give you ample descriptions about the plants and help you decide what to buy with pictures and detailed information. In addition, the seed packages should include complete information about the seeds and plants on them. This would include germination temps, seed planting depths, time to harvest, etc..
Nothing is more annoying than having to go back to the catalog to find out some bit of information about the seed when you are in the middle of planting seeds.
If you want to grow heirloom tomatoes or find a specific summer squash or that funny looking Romanesco broccoli, seed catalogs are a must.
My favorite seed companies and catalogs both offer heirloom and organic seeds: