Here are my tips on choosing Seed Companies:
- Don’t just grab seeds from your local chain-hardware store and think that they will do the job. Many seeds from local chain stores are OLD and they sit in the bright lights all day long. Seeds should actually be stored in dark and cool places (like a refrigerator) in order for them to stay in the best condition. (here’s more info on that)
- Do your research! Sadly, many popular seed companies are now owned by big corporations who don’t care about the GMO’s, chemicals, etc., in their seeds. Make sure that the seed companies you support are participating in the Safe Seed Pledge.
- Focus on buying Organic and Non-GMO seeds whenever possible.
- Consider supporting local Heirloom varieties of plants whenever possible.
- Choose open-pollinators whenever possible so that you can start saving seeds in the future and save money.
- Try not to choose just ONE seed company.Here’s what happened to me when I bought all of my seeds from one seed company. It’s always a good idea to try multiple good-quality seed companies and compare their products!
- Make sure you check the viability of your old seeds before you spend money on new ones. It’s always nice to save some money! ?
I am not here to lecture you or use scare-tactics to get you to buy ONLY organic/non-gmo/heirloom varieties of seeds. I’ve always hated reading negative posts from other websites that make me either terrified or feeling guilty of my past life choices. Instead, I am just encouraging you to TRY to get these better-quality seeds whenever possible.
Since I don’t trust seeds from local stores, I’ve searched the internet for the BEST high-quality seed companies that I could find. I am sure that there are more out there, however, these are the ones that I thought had something extra special about them: professional websites, lots of varieties, great gardening information, an emphasis on purity, etc. Feel free to tell me about other online good-quality seed companies in the comments section below. I would LOVE to try more seed companies in future years.
High Quality Seed Companies that I am trying this year:
** I tried their seeds in my fall garden, and they were all successful. They have TONS of varieties and their catalogs have an ‘old-fashioned’ style to them that makes me all nostalgic. However, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange puts their focus on the Southeastern section of the United States (where I live), so this company might not be for everyone. I also love the way they support and work with local Southeastern agriculture conferences, companies, workshops, etc. to encourage sustainable and organic gardening.
More Gardening Ideas & Resources
**This is my new favorite Seed Company. I absolutely LOVE that SeedsNOW has 100% open-pollination seeds! This frugal gal just did a virtual backflip in celebration (hello, future seed saving!). Their website is amazing, too. The blogger part of me loves the graphics, colors, etc. The gardener part of me loves the variety packs (like a medicinal herb variety pack or the chicken garden variety pack!). The researcher part of me loves the grow guides, how-to videos, and various articles.
**This company has one of the largest collections of rare heirloom seed varieties in the U.S. If you are thinking about focusing on heritage and heirloom seeds this year, this might be the company for you. They also have tons of resources, videos, and gardening information for each plant, and as a bonus, they include recipes for the vegetables! I was thinking about getting their cauliflower seeds, and one of the tabs on the cauliflower seed webpage is a few cauliflower recipes! That’s genius!
**This seed company has a great variety of seeds, which is always something that I love to see. They also participate in a Seed Donation program which supports helping spread farming and nutritional information. I am ALWAYS willing to support a business that wants to spread knowledge about gardening to other people. Plus, if you live in Vermont, they encourage you to visit their farm/warehouse, and they participate actively in local events.
**Johnny’s Selected Seeds company prides itself on being employee-owned. That’s amazing! I absolutely LOVED their ‘about us’ section, so the link to their website goes to that page. Their ‘about us’ section includes great info on heirloom seeds, hybrid seeds, and everything you need to know about the seeds they sell. I have great respect for thorough information like that! And WOW! They have a HUGE selection of seeds! I look forward to buying some of their herb seeds. Make sure you check them out!
**Despite my searching on this company website, I could not find their Safe Seed Pledge. This concerns me a bit, so I am only giving them an honorable mention. If I have time, I might email them about it. However, I still wanted to mention this company because I LOVE their commitment to saving seeds! They even donate free seeds(!!) to community gardens, non-profit organizations, schools, and educational programs that apply for them. That is amazing! They also have a strong and admirable plea to us all about participatory preservation. That is a beautiful thing. <3
**I am giving this company an honorable mention because while they have a Safe Seed Pledge and emphasize organic heirlooms, they seem to have a limited selection of seeds that are available. It’s possible that it is a small company that runs out of seeds in the off-season, however, it was a bit frustrating for me to click on their goods and have it say that they were ‘sold out’ over and over again. They do, however, have a catalog, so I ordered one. It is possible that this company will get added to my list if/when they have their products and website ready to go.