Sowing seed is a good and economical way for gardeners to try things out and to make our gardens grow. What are you going to sow this year? Which seeds will germinate and grow in the garden, the greenhouse, the conservatory or orangery or garden room, and on the kitchen windowsill? It's time to get our ideas straight and order seeds.

Here are two very good reasons to order seeds now

1. It’s a pleasant occupation on a gloomy, rainy or cold day. Whether you choose the most comfortable chair and settle in or begin mapping out your campaign at the kitchen table, you'll be warm and dry.

2. The Christmas break may provide the time to pore over general and specialist catalogues and work out what you’re going to sow, and what you will need. Some authorities recommend getting in an order before Christmas but, for many of us, this is the first opportunity to think seriously about the new year in the garden.

Specialist catalogues

RHS members can take advantage of the RHS Seed Scheme. It started more than 100 years ago and is run by a small team of staff and volunteers who collect, clean and pack seed gathered from RHS gardens for members.

The Hardy Plant Society members have a Seed Distribution Scheme.

Members of Garden Organic can also become members of the Heritage Seed Library.

And here are five more very good reasons to order seeds now

3. You can try things out at very little cost. I did very well with lemongrass last year which germinated rapidly, like mustard and cress. In fact, it's everywhere - I'm awash in it!

4. When you've ordered seeds you don’t have to wing it. You know what you’re going to sow. Of course, there’s room for a bit of spontaneity and serendipity (like free seeds from fellow gardeners and magazines) but, in the main, you’ve got the broad seed-sowing outline in place.

5. You’ll have all your seed supplies ready before starting the job. I know things don’t always work out this way so let’s say that you’ll have most of your seed supplies ready.

6. You’re likely to get seed in good condition which will germinate readily. Seed kept in the cooler, more stable conditions of a warehouse is going to be more reliable than seed bought from a shop where temperatures vary widely.

7. Choosing and buying seed will be one thing less to do in the busy, sometimes hectic, spring season when there are never enough hours in the day.

So there you are! Seven great reasons to order seeds now!