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Where do you buy your seeds from?

  • w

My favorites:

Kitazawa Seeds (anything Japanese) from CA.

Rare Seeds -an amazing web site. Also a great community board. If you have a question, someone will answer thoughtfully and quickly.

Southern Seed Exchange - Good luck so far with their heirloom beans and best of all, they breed for the summers here in the South.


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  1. I live in Canada. here are my favourite sources.
    1. McFayden Seed Company: www.mcfayden.com
    If you phone now you can get their fall catalogue. A great company.

    2. In Toronto, I buy my special vegetable seeds from "Urban Harvest Garden Alternatives".
    59 Elm Grove Avenue (Dufferin & Queen

    I usually get their special heritage & organic seeds and also plants at the Farmer's Markets at Riverdale (Tuesdays) or Dufferin Grove (Thursdays).

    I have also had good luck with McKenzie Seeds for simple veggies like raddishes.

    But I bought about 4 packages from Sheridan Nurseries and half the seeds were bad. Then I noticed the McKenzie Seeds at Canadian Tire had expiry dates on them. So I suspect the Sheridan Nursery seeds had expired.

    There are other brands of seeds available in Toronto or by mail across Canada, but I find these three companies to be the best.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Smachnoho

      I have had great success with Salt Spring Seeds in the past.


      I just bought a whole bunch of seeds from Urban Harvest this year and while it's too early too tell... my little seedlings are coming in nicely...

      1. re: Smachnoho

        Seed Savers Exchange: http://www.seedsavers.org/Items.aspx?...
        I love their mission, to help people appreciate and preserve heirloom seeds, and the varieties are fantastic.

        Baker Creek (aka Rare Seeds): http://rareseeds.com/seeds/
        These people are just amazing! Love the varieties, love the philosophy. I tried the Golden Honeymoon melon last year -- OMG!! So many great seeds.

        Nichols Nursery: http://www.nicholsgardennursery.com/s...
        Nichols was my introduction, years ago, to many and varied herb and vegetable seeds. Still family run by Rose Marie Nichols McGee.

        I still buy some things from Seeds of Change, although I'm dismayed at how many hybrid seeds they offer these days. http://www.seedsofchange.com/garden_c...

        I have an old loyalty to Park Seeds (a modern seed company, though still family run last I checked): http://www.parkseed.com/gardening/GP/...

        I get some great Italian (Franchi Sementi) seeds from Grow Italian. If you're a chicory/endive/escarole fan, be sure to check them out! http://growitalian.com/Qstore/Qstore.cgi

        Finally, I'm a fan of Frank Morton, both his seeds and philosophies. Great stuff at Wild Garden Seed: http://www.wildgardenseed.com/

      2. Wood Prairie in Bridgewater, ME for organic seed taters and some other seeds - radish, carrot, kale, chard, broccoli, beets, lettuce mix.

        The remainder from John Scheepers kitchen garden seeds in Bantam, CT - sweet potato slips, additional beets, kale, chard, arugula, cabbage. Our first year with him, but so far so good.

        1. I call it Seeds from Italy, but the website is:

          Everything I've ever bought from them has been great and they have a topnotch selection of hard-to-find items.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sherri

            Thanks. This is actually the company that I bought kale from - my local garden shop has a dsiplay of about 50 or so of their seeds. Agreed - excellent quality...

            1. re: Westy

              If you like kale, see if you can buy some of their Black Kale, aka Tuscan Kale or Cavalo Nero for autumn planting. It is different from the gray-green curly kale most of us know and quite delicious.

              I also recommend the Rounde de Nice zucchini and their tomato selection is not-to-be-topped. I've gotten melon seeds, Galia especially, that produce melons that dreams are made of.

            2. re: Sherri

              Love this seed source, too - I kwym about the name confusion - they should just pick one, already, and stick with it! Primarily, Italian & French seeds, some organic or untreated. Last year was the second year I've ordered from them, and I plan to again this year. Although this year's order will be much smaller, since I have so many leftover seeds. I really liked the Pinetree format (smaller packets, fewer seeds, smaller price).

              1. Vary rarely buy seeds anymore since I acquire just about everything I need trading with online gardeners at Gardenweb.com and other places.
                When I do I go to:
                Value Seed, Parks or Pinetree Nursery

                1 Reply
                1. re: vera_ewashington

                  Pinetree prices are cheap cheap cheap. I was always satisfied with them, although since they don't do organic I've moved on.

                2. I received an interesting-looking catalog today for Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply. It has organic seeds and transplants as well as organic fertilizers, composting supplies, "good bugs," and all sorts of tools. The prices look pretty good, too. Has anyone tried them?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Glencora

                    Don't know who packages their store brand seed for them, but all their other products are great. We stock up on ferts and hard-to-find supplies when we visit relatives in GV.

                    As far as seed goes, I'd ask for their variety-specific germ rates if I were concerned. Seed companies are required to meet the fed and state minimum germ reg's, but others choose to exceed them. The company I sell for buys seed with the highest avail germ %; then stores the bulk seed in specially humidity-controlled rooms. Plug growers do not want to have to go back to fill-in seedling plug trays. They want and need the highest germ rate avail.

                    If you buy seed from a local garden center or nursery, pay attention to where the rack is. How much turnover does it get? Are the packets faded and dusty? Is it in a hot sunny room or in a humid room with plants, or exposed to outside air moisture? Not good for the seed. Look for clean racks with a minimum of empty pockets or "outs", in a room with an average light source and low humidity. Check the back of the packet for expiration date, although high germ % seed will still germ well after the exp date IF the seed has been merchandised and stored correctly.

                  2. Johnny's Selected Seeds (wide selection)
                    SandHill (esp. for tomatoes)
                    Pinetree (fewer seeds per pack -inexpensive way to try new varieties)
                    Diane's Seeds (good selection - advice)
                    J. Hudson, (very wide selection - large quantities for the buck)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: DonShirer

                      Sand Hill's corn selection is also second to none, particualrly if your looking for someting out of the ordinary and or have the space/inclination to try "alternate" garden corns (i.e. if you've decided you want to try your hand a growing grindng corn or popcorn)
                      I'm particularly fond of the Anasazi Sweet corn when it's available (Corn seeds at Sandhill tend to have a two year cycle of avaialalbilty for all but the most popular strains; varities avaialable this year will ususally be unavailiable next year and vice versa.) I've always liked the idea of growing and serving technicolor corn on the cob, and most of the other varities on the market don't really please me ( Rainbow Inca tends to destablelize (i.e. I tend to wind up with plants that produce all white cobs that keep sweet and others that produce multicolored cobs that, true to thier floury ancestors taste starchy by the time they are big enough to harvest) Sweet Painted Hills doesnt germinate well for me and most of the other "more that yellow/whites" (Triple play, Hooker's, Black Aztec, Cocopah, Ruby Queen etc.) just aren't colorful enough.). But Don Shiriers point is valid too Sand hill's tomato selction is excellent.

                      Speaking of tomatoes one other souce wort mentioning is Trade winds Fuits (http://www.tradewindsfruitstore.com/s...). This is one that you wouln't expect to have a large tomato section as they are primarily in the business of selling seeds from tropical plants. But thier tomato section, in fact is extemely large and has seed for many really obscure heirlooms, like White Zebra and Dino Eggs) if you are a real extmeme garderer its also the only souce i know of (short of an national agricutural station) for seed of many of the wild tomatoes, the ones that do not belong to Lycopersicon esculentum (most regular tomatoes) or L. pimpernellifolium (the currant tomatoes) some of these can be useful if you live in a particualrly extreme climate (Cheeseman's (L.cheesmanni) for example is very drought tolerant as is useful if you live somewhere where rain is minimal to nonexistant all summer)

                      Tomatofest (http://store.tomatofest.com/shoppingc...) is also a great site for heirloom types, though thier rather large minimum order means that your usally better off using it as a referce unless you have a LOT of space (or are willing to go splits on the order with a large number of your firends and neighbors)

                      Finally there is a place in France called La Boutique du Kokopelli (http://www.kokopelli.asso.fr/boutic/i...) that has some interesting items. This one however comes with two big caveats. One they may not be willing to deal with you (they sold to me for a few years, and then did not fufill and order of mine and stopped replying to my emails as to why, so for all I know they no longer do business with the US) the second is that you really need to be able, or know someone who is able, to understand French pretty well. The ordering site is in English, or at least can be set to English. But the email messages you will get updating you on the status of your order or any problems with it will be in French only.) If you can get an order through to of the more intersting things from there wehn in stock (and they usally aren't) are Paiute Corn (another muticolored sweetcorn and slightly better than even Anasazi) and the de Djerba carrot (as close to those turkish "black carrots" whose juice has become so popular in health food stores as I have been able to find in seed form
                      ) Hope something here is useful!

                      1. re: jumpingmonk

                        minor update
                        wile wandering online I discovered that now Native Seeds/SEARCH also has Paiute corn listed, at least I think it is (they're using the same description word for word as they did for the Cocopah, so whether they just realized they had the rong name on it or whether the two are in fact the same variety I don't know)

                      1. Someone else mentioned them already. Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa. Google their website.

                        This year is the first year I've bought seeds from them. I like their mission.

                        1. I mostly buy local. I live on Vancouver Island BC and have bought seed from West Coast Seeds for many years without disappointment. I also go to my local Seedy Saturday event each year and participate in the seed exchange and buy from smaller local vendors. I figure if they've grown it and saved seeds in my climate, I'll be successful growing it too. For unusual things I sometimes cave and supplement elsewhere (I'm a seed catalogue junkie in the winter) and I faithfully buy seed spuds from a farm in Alberta.

                          1. I purchase my seeds from Burpee and from Seeds of Change, you can never go wrong with these two companies and they have a wide selection of seeds to plant throughout the year - based on where you live.

                            I have been using these companies for over thirteen years to grow my container plants and I have never had a problem with any of the seeds.


                            Be well,

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: EbonyEyedEnigma

                              I have been getting all these wonderful seed catalogues in the mail since December. I would like to ask: when do you start ordering your seeds?
                              I have seen a list of scented Geranium seeds in the Richters" catalogue. www.Richters.com
                              Has anyone here had luck growing scented geraniums from seed?

                              1. re: Smachnoho

                                I'd order early -- it doesn't mean you have to plant them the minute you get them, and sometimes sellers run out of stock on the popular stuff. Once you get the seeds, best to keep them in a coolish, dry place. Sorry, can't help with the geranium query.

                            2. I used to buy my seeds from the big seed company's like Burpee, but not anymore. After learning about Monsanto and some of the things they do, I just can't support them.

                              Here's a very informative post: http://www.garden-of-eatin.com/how-to...

                              It will tell you WHY you shouldn't buy from companies that carry Monsanto seeds. They also give a list of great places that sell "safe seed" and won't sue you for harvesting seeds from your plants at the end of the season! Lol.

                              Anyways, my favorite is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: http://rareseeds.com/

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: JocelynB

                                I understand your concern about Monsanto but please read the 2009 letter Johnny's received and Rob Johnston's reply. Yes, they carry some seeds from Seminis but they are trying to replace those. Most of their seeds are not from a Monsanto-related company.

                                I think a company like Johnny's doesn't deserve the bad publicity. They are honest about what they are doing, fully aware of the situation and doing their best to provide non-Monsanto seed and find new sources to replace what little they do have.

                                1. re: JocelynB

                                  I really don't want to start something disruptive, but that link is basically garbage.

                                  1. re: JocelynB

                                    Thank you so much on the info about avoiding Montsanto seeds. I thought I knew about stuff like that, but I had -no- idea that some of those seed companies carried Monsanto! Thank you! Really appreciate it!

                                  2. Great bean source if you want to grow your own dry beans: Purcell Mtn Farms in Idaho.

                                    A friend brought over some simply-cooked Eye of the Goat; they were fantastic!

                                    I've got them and some flageolets ordered; now to keep the critters away.

                                    1. I like J.L. Hudson Seedsman http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/ . They have a nice selection of Heirlooms.

                                      For rare and exotic stuff... coffee, tea, black pepper, and banana trees... http://www.banana-tree.com/ They also have Hibiscus Cannabinus which has an interesting palmate serrated leaf, and hemp like stature & bushiness.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Rojellio

                                        I used to use banana tree quite a lot as well, when I was going through my "try and grow everything" phase. From them I got my first seed samples of some of the "great timbers of the world"; even today I have fond memories of my bloodwood tree (Heamalotoxylon campechiana). Actually now that I think of it, the white bird of paradise (Strelezia nicolai) we have in the living room came from them. I admit though, I havent bough much from them recetly, the $15 minium is a hurdle now as its hard for me to find $15 worth of seed I actually want.

                                        Icidentally if you are skilled in the growing of bananas from seed, you may be ready to try a travelers tree (Ravelana madagascarenis or guyanensis) they take a while, but the effect (imagine a giant palm leaf fan stuck into the ground) is stunning

                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                          I wanted to throw one more into the mix:


                                          I like them because they have cheap shipping. That's a big plus for me as I tend to get my heart set on a bunch of obscure varieties and end up paying a lot in shipping. I had good germination and good plant quality with the stuff I bought.

                                      2. I just bought some snow pea, lettuce and herb seeds from a seller on Etsy. They're organic, heirlooms -- inexpensive, too. We'll see how they turn out.