Garden Seed Sources

February 16, 2012 · 8 comments

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably getting seed catalogues in the mail almost daily and tossing half of them into the recycling bin without giving some of them more than half a glance. If you’re new to gardening, you’re might be scouring the thousands of seed sources on the internet and in your local feed stores and nurseries, perhaps paralyzed by too many choices. (Or maybe you have your own Ryan Gosling to help you through. haha) I certainly don’t claim to be the authority on these sorts of things, but I wanted to drop a couple names of reliable seed companies, a couple of which are run by friends of ours.

Johnny’s Selected Seed and Osborne Seed Company are both fairly large companies with diverse offerings including both organic and conventional seeds. They are the primary seed sources for my part-time employer Gathering Together Farm (certified organic). Johnny’s is employee-owned and established in Maine in 1973. Osborne has been operating in the Northwest since 1982. Territorial Seed Company is another fairly large, family-owned business based in Oregon that sells a wide array of seed choices.

Wild Garden Seed is the organic seed-producing arm of Gathering Together Farm operated by Frank and Karen Morton and their small crew. They specialize in various salad greens and herbs, but they also have other vegetable offerings including quite possibly the best delicata squash seed in the country. Frank and Karen live just a few miles down the hill from us, and they’re super nice.

Henry recently made friends with Andrew and Sarah of Adaptive Seeds located near Crawfordsville, Oregon. Adaptive Seeds is a small group of honorable young farmers in their first few years of seed production. They have a whole bunch of interesting varieties including beans, grains, and melons. Henry’s excited to plant some of their red brussels sprouts this spring. I have a grand plan to visit their farm and tell you more about their operation sometime this spring or summer, but for now, I’ll just direct you toward their website where you’ll find this excerpt explaining their philosophy and variety choices:

“We grow and steward rare, diverse and resilient seed varieties and distribute these to other ecologically minded farmers, gardeners and seed savers. Most of our seed is adapted to the Pacific Northwest and short season northern climates. All of our seed is grown by us and a few local friends who act as our isolation gardens. We strictly sell only public domain, open-pollinated (OP) seed, and some diverse genepool mixes. NONE of our seeds are proprietary hybrids (F1), patented (PVP) or genetically modified (GMO) and all of our seed is grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.”

Last but not least, I’d like to introduce my friend and fellow Etsy seller Laura of Cubits. Laura is living in Toronto, Canada, and she specializes in urban gardening.

This short list is in no way, shape, or form a comprehensive collection of upstanding and seed companies selling earth-friendly and palate-pleasing fruit and vegetable seeds. If you have a favorite seed producer (or two), feel free to leave a business name and a link (if available) in the comments below, so we can support each other’s gardening aspirations for this growing season. Thanks.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim February 16, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Nice list. Add to it the fine folks at Uprising Seeds up there in Bellingham WA and their splendid network of growers.
http://uprisingorganics.com

Reply

Sarah February 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm

love adaptive seeds; also really interesting is JL hudson, seedsman (“a public access seed bank”) and carol deppe’s select seed offering (she’s the author of the resilient gardener and breed your own vegetable varieties, both of which are excellent).

Reply

Brie February 16, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Our homestead is in Northern Wisconsin, and our family and many of our like minded friends have gotten wonderful heirloom, non GMO, non hybrid, open pollinated veggie, herb, and flower seeds from family owned http://www.stclareseeds.com/. Good prices and super speedy delivery!

Reply

Laurie February 16, 2012 at 7:17 pm

I’m in central NC, and a favorite is Southern Exposure Seed Exchange: http://www.southernexposure.com/ . A good source of inexpensive, though not necessarily organic seed, is Pinetree: https://www.superseeds.com/.

Reply

Riley Wing February 19, 2012 at 11:00 am

I live in Maine and I buy pretty much all of my seeds from Johnny’s or Fedco, which are both local. :)

Reply

abby February 20, 2012 at 12:48 am

I would have loved this list last year. I was glad to find a few great sources though, with a fair bit of research. For the last couple years I have been ordering most of my seeds from Baker Creek. Their shop is here http://rareseeds.com/shop/ and their about page http://rareseeds.com/about/. They collect and sell only heirloom varieties. They have an impressive collection in their catalog. Another source I really like is horizon herbs http://www.horizonherbs.com. They have a great selection of rare and medicinal herb seeds, and are right here in Oregon (Williams).

Reply

Preita February 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I’m going to have to look up Adaptive Seeds. I like that they are based in Oregon. Though I’m just over the river I still consider Oregon local. We are tilling up a bit of the pasture this spring to make a larger garden and I’m really interested in veggies that make are better for our climate.

Reply

Katie February 26, 2012 at 11:00 am

I spot the top to the Nichol’s catalog there in your stack. It is the oldest family-owned seed nursery in Oregon, and this year went entirely online for the catalog browsing experience. If you haven’t been to the shop, it’s a fun excursion in Springtime, since they are in Albany. http://www.nicholsgardennursery.com (full disclosure, this is my parent’s company and was founded by my grandfather in 1950 :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: