At some stage soon as it's the winter months and that when allotmenteers do this kind of thing, you will be thinking about what you are going to grow and the seedaholic in you will twitch and start to emerge and you will want to start buying packs of seeds.
First thing to do is have a family meeting and decide what it is you actually like and want to eat, what do you eat the most off. Ask your self are there things you would like to eat more off but are expensive like asparagus for example.
Now having had the family meeting and before you rush out to your local DIY store or Garden Centre and spend a fortune on seeds, here is a little information about seed suppliers and buying.
There are well known and long established seed companies out there like Marshalls, Suttons, Mr Fothergill's etc. So it's worth visiting their web sites and requesting either a paper seed catalogue which is equivalent to an allotment owners porn, of download the catalogues as Adobe or surf them on the internet.
Subscribe to their news letters and you will be bombarded with offers to save and spend your money, some are good some are not so good, it depends on what you want. They will inform you when postage is free for 24 or 48 hours or there are price reductions i.e. Mr Fothergill's Black Friday offer in 2020 was £1 a pack on 400 varieties, with packs of seeds starting at 49p and some with a massive 76% OFF.
Westland bought Marshalls/Unwins in 2004 and annual turnover increased from less than £2m to well over £10m. The company trades as SE Marshall, which owns the brands Marshalls (80 per cent of turnover) and Unwins (20 per cent of turnover). We are going to see more of Unwins in 2021 after the Marshalls rebranding last year.
I took Kings Seeds and Kitchen Gardener to task recently when they put a RRP on the pack that was 5p dearer than what they were selling for 180 seeds. On the promotion pack on the magazine they only supplied half of the seeds that one would normally get if buying direct. I hate dishonesty in marketing. So remember the Free seeds are not free they are inclusive in the product you are buying and that the value is inflated and the quantity of seed can sometime be halved.
Normally on Sundays at the end of the January when there is not a pandemic there are Potato Day & Seed Fair around the UK check out http://www.potato-days.net/ for events near your area.
Then there is Brightons Seedy Sunday which is the UKs largest Seed Swap which again when not in the middle of a pandemic is held on a Sunday in late Jan early February between 10:30 AM - 4 PM at the Brighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College where you can swap seeds, buy seeds, listen to expert speakers, visit more than 50 stalls and enjoy Infinity Cafe's wonderful food
Check out your local Allotment Trading Huts For a small membership fee many large allotment sites have trading huts which enable you to purchase all your gardening needs at reasonable prices and are more convenient than going to your local garden centre as long as your happy to shop on a Sunday morning.
Most of these trading huts are not only open to the plot holders but some are also open to gardeners in the surrounding area. Most are no profit making and are staffed by volunteers any profits go back into the association or get donated to charity. So if you have taken on an Allotment or are growing vegetables from home check out your surrounding Allotments and find out where they are located.
In terms of seed sales Wilkos' seeds which I suspect are packaged for them by the Fothergill group as they also sell Johnsons sell off their wilco branded packs of seeds at 10p a pack and Johnsons at 30p a pack at the end of the season, but they go very fast and on the last couple of days the 10p packs have been known to go through the tills at 1p per pack.