Under normal conditions, vegetable seed supplies are very stable, barring unforeseen crop failures and some political strife. Due to the beginning of the pandemic last spring, garden seeds didn’t last long. Lots of new gardeners and expansion of existing gardens taxed seed supplies. Some to zero! Unlike masks and hand sanitizer, you just can’t get the crew to work a little overtime and make more. It’s Mother Nature’s timeline.
In a throwback from the old days, Wells Brothers sells garden seed buy the scoop (bulk). For urban gardens, these scoops are usually more seeds than are needed. This past spring, we sold seeds to folks that would normally buy 1 scoop but now bought 2 or 3 scoops. If you have a 48 square foot garden and are buying enough seeds to do an acre or two, you now have a seed storage problem.
You can save and store seeds from year to year. A quick internet search will yield a cornucopia of information. Seed life varies tremendously depending on the type of seed and storage conditions. Seeds in the paper package in a kitchen drawer are good for a year or three before the germination rate starts dropping hard. I have planted 3-year-old seeds that still had about 70% germination rate. Then there is the “Methuselah” tree. It was germinated in 2005 from seeds that were found in 1963 where they had been stored for 2,000 or so years!
You can hedge your bets on seed availability by harvesting the seed of the plants that you grow. It’s not difficult, but it has its own skillset. Just remember that the seeds from “Hybrid” plants will grow one of the varieties that were used to make the hybrid.