Most of us dislike the darker months of the year, particularly if the cold and gloom is accompanied by the seemingly incessant rain we experience here in North Devon. However, once the festive season is past and the new year has dawned, it's time to start thinking about seed purchases. In years past, the dark months would have been the time to thumb through the tempting multi-coloured catalogues from various seed suppliers, but nowadays choosing seed is more likely to be done by browsing websites. Most of these sites have e-commerce facilities, enabling you to browse, select and order seeds for delivery direct to your door, with the convenience of payment by debit or credit card (and increasingly PayPal). For many of us, the internet has radically changed the way we do business, but the thrill of seed selection, purchase, sowing, germination and so on remains, with the ultimate anticipation being bountiful harvests of wonderful homegrown produce.