Resources for Seeds & PlantsSafe Seed Pledge | Seed Company Criteria | Seed Companies | Edible Perennials | Herbs | Flowers | Potatoes | Native Plants | Mushrooms
All the seed companies we recomend and deal with took the Safe Seed Pledge.
Check out our Blog series on seed companies
Safe Seed Pledge
"Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms poses great biological risks, as well as economic, political and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities." See the entire list.
Our Favorite Seed Sources & Why We Love Them
Territorial Seed Co.: Providers of high quality seed, including many open pollinated varieties. . We love their lettuce varieties and have had great success with their seeds for many years. They may very well have become our most used and favorite seed company. Great selection of varieties, excellent information on growing each variety. They have been very conscious about no carrying any Monsanto or similar companies seeds or varieties. They carry a good selection of organic seed and are the only seed company who has a separate catalog dedicated to fall and winter gardening! We love that! 800.626.0866 http://www.territorialseed.com/
Seed Savers Exchange saves and shares the heirloom seeds of our garden heritage, forming a living legacy that can be passed down through generations. If you love history and reading about where a variety comes from, you'll love reading their catalog. Become a member and get access to even more varieties. They do vitally important work and have the largest privately held seed bank in the US. 100% open pollinated and many organic. 563.382.5990 http://www.seedsavers.org/
High Mowing Seeds - More folks who are really doing great work. Their philosophy says much: "We believe in re-imagining what our world can be like. We believe in a deeper understanding of how re-built food systems can support health on all levels - healthy environments, healthy economies, healthy communities and healthy bodies. We believe in a hopeful and inspired view of the future based on better stewardship for our planet. Everyday that we are in business, we are growing; working to provide an essential component in the re-building of our healthy food systems: the seeds." .. They are 100% certified organic. They have a high percentage of hybrid seeds, bred by an impressive group of conscious breeders to help you be successful in these changing climate time or if you have had difficulty growing something. Try one of their hybrids, they are organic and might perform better for you than an heirloom or open pollinated variety. 802.472.6174 http://www.highmowingseeds.com/
Sow True Seed A happy find are these folks in Asheville, NC where they also have a retail store there. By page 2 of their catalog, we knew we wanted to add them to our list. These folks really do it all well and have become a favorite company. In addition to what they grow themselves, they sources their seed from a variety of small farms. Very cool, but we had to test their seed, and as we expected - great! Give them a try, you'll be spending your money wisely! Sow True Seed provides open-pollinated, heirloom and organic vegetable, herb, and flower seeds to enthusiastic home gardeners and small market farmers. You could do well to only buy from them because their selection choice is excellent. Some organic seed. 828.254.0708 http://sowtrueseed.com/
Botanical Interests Family owned business offering high quality, non-GMO and some organic seed. Easiest organic seed to find locally at Whole Foods and garden centers. They are really nice folks doing a good job. Some organic seed. http://www.botanicalinterests.com/
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Hey locals, a great Virginia seed company! They offer more than 700 varieties of vegetable, flower, herb, grain and cover crop seeds. They emphasize varieties that perform well in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, although gardeners and farmers from all over the country grow our seeds. We have found they are the best when it comes to heat loving varieties and southern specialties like peanuts, sweet potatoes, collards, beans, black-eyed peas and cotton. They are a worker-run cooperative where every worker has a voice in the decisions of the company and where workers receive equal compensation regardless of the economic value traditionally placed on the jobs done. Some organic seed. 540.894.9480 http://www.southernexposure.com/
Adaptive Seeds -We have fallen in love with their greens, great kales, lettuces and chards. They steward & disseminate rare, diverse & resilient seed varieties for ecologically-minded farmers, gardeners & seed savers. Their catalog is full of robust, productive varieties as well as rare adaptive gems. None of their seeds are proprietary hybrids (F1), patented (PVP) or genetically modified (GMO). All their seed is grown without chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. They are Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth. Outstanding for northwest US growers although we have found them to be awesome for cool weather fall greens in Virginia. 541.367.1105 http://www.adaptiveseeds.com/
Lake Valley Seeds Debby's Aunt Jo in Boulder Colorado introduced her to this seed company in the late 1980s and their seeds have always grown well with high germination rates. They have a line of organic seeds and and unless you have someone to send you seed from Colorado, are only available locally at garden centers and even the big box home improvement stores.. yea!
John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds Started in 1908, and we are quite taken with them as they have varieties not found in our other catalogs. They have many European varieties and are reminecent of some no-longer in business small comapnies we used to deal with and have missed. Good seed packet counts on lettuce and a great marigold mix (Hero) that is a major favorite. 860.567.6086 http://www.kitchengardenseeds.com/
Fruition Seeds - Okay, we apologize we keep forgetting to add them to our list. We first met these awesome young seed farmers at Mother Earth News Fair a few years ago, but since they don't have a catalog, we keep forgetting them.. forgive me for using seed catalogs as a reason to get OFF the computer! Anyway, they are certified organic and really great folks, so please support them, especially if you are in the northeast as they specialize is short season NE locally adapted varieties. https://www.fruitionseeds.com/
Wild Boar Farms - If you love tomatoes, you've gotta check these folks out ! We discovered them last year and love the outcome ! Their Beauty King tomato won out on taste tests last year. We also love their Pink Berkley Tie-Dye , a cross between Russell and Debby's traditional favorites. These guys are certified organic and as they say on their website "The main focus is on bi-color and striped varieties with extreme flavor and fascinating looks." To us, they achieve it. Great new varieties, small business in all the right ways, and bred the old fashioned way. Give 'em a try. We have started to see their varieties on other folks' catalogs - go Brad Gates! 707. 225.5757 http://www.wildboarfarms.com/
TomatoFest Looking for an heirloom tomato and not a member of Seed Saver's Exchange? Gary and company don't have a catalog, one strike-out, but with hundreds of fantastic heirloom varieties from around the world, certified organic, plus, they carry two of our must-have red tomatoes, Thessaloniki and Old Brooks, so we'll forgive them. https://tomatofest.com/
Certified Organic Potatoes
Wood Prairie Family Farm - Certified Organic Potatoes - Yes! Their catalogs showed up one day and we are soooo happy it did. Great potato selection and information. Not sure what to try, get their organic certified potato experimenter's special and try four varieties of your choice. Have kids? Get their Organic Potato Blossom Festival. http://www.woodprairie.com/
Select Seeds - Hey flower lovers, we haven't forgotten you. Great place to get flower as they have a great selection and fit our criteria. They specialize in old-fashioned fragrant flowers, flowering vines, rare annuals and perennials and have many antique hard-to-find heirloom flowers. They also have veggie and herb seeds including some of our favored varieties. Beauty is food too, so don't forget the flowers. 800.864.0395 http://www.selectseeds.com/
Horizon Herbs/Strictly Medicinals Professional Medicinal Herbalist, Rico Cech and family's company. They know herbs! Herb seeds, plants and extracts you can trust. Looking for an 'odd herb' or herb seeds from real herbalists, you found them.. check them out! https://strictlymedicinalseeds.com/
DeBaggio Herbs Catch them in season and get the best selection of herb plants locally. They don't ship, so this is a local plant source. They are only open from mid-spring through June, so catch them while you can. Fun place to visit. They also have vegetable plants and cool tools. 703.327.6976 http://www.debaggioherbs.com/
Our Favorite Edible Plant Folks
- Edible Landscape Plants
Raintree has a great and large variety of fruit trees, berries & vines, nut trees and unusual fruits. They have a solid reputation for providing home gardeners with edible plants. Of all the tree nurseries we have tried for fruit and nut trees, they are the absolute best. Easy to work with, again, selection, selection, selection cannot be emphasized enough and they are a fantastic resource of information and answers to your questions. 800.391.8892 http://www.raintreenursery.com/home.php
Our Favorite Native Plant Folks
Hill House Native Plant Farm & Nursery Hill house is an enghanted place to visit and the owner, Janet, is a wealth of knowledge about native plants in Virginia. They grow an outstanding variety of very healthy native plants. Enjoy a trip to Rappahannock County Virginia and visit them. Call or email to make and appointment. http://www.hillhousenativeplants.com/
Wood Thrush Natives (formerly Enchanter's Garden) Our Founder, Debby owes much of her native plant knowledge to Peter Heus who started this company, which is now run by his son. They are amazing at starting hard to start natives. Awesome people, awesome plants, including some unusual natives not found at other native nurseries. Now in Floyd VA http://www.woodthrushnatives.com/
Earth Sanga Great folks who we exhibit next to each year at SpriingFest Fairfax. Their nursery is in Springfield. An organization doing wonderful conservation work. A good local place to pick up some natives for a butterfly garden or any other native plant vision you might have. http://www.earthsangha.org//
Grow your own Fresh Mushrooms
Sharondale Farm - We loved meeting Mark Jones and Mother Earth News as he is a wealth of knowledgeable and very personable (some mushroom folks can be sorta out there). Great resource, outstanding instruction on growing, right here in Virginia. http://www.sharondalefarm.com/
Fungi Perfecti The best known mushroom people, started by they guy who made mushrooms famous, Paul Stamets. Think mushroom can save the world, you are not alone. They have a goodselection of plug spawn, mushroom patches, mycorrhizal fungi, books, growing equipment, mushroom teas, extracts, foods and gifts. We've enjoyed our shiitakes ! 800.780.9126 http://www.fungi.com/
Field & Forest is a great place to get all you need to grow mushrooms outdoors or indoors. Best selection we have found and very reliable. Their catalog has great information on growing the different types. http://www.fieldforest.net/
Our Seed Company CriteriaWe are pretty darn picky about where we get our seed and the companies we recommend to our customers. We have developed the following criteria for evaluating a seed company. A seed company does not have to meet all the criteria, for example. They may not be certified organic, but we have been in relationship with them for years, so know their quality and practices. There are a couple show stoppers, like buying seed from a company that engages in genetic seed modification. Here are our current criteria. We review the criteria and seed companies each year. Want more information on how we use these criteria, consider taking The Foundations of Organic Gardening course where we go into this in depth so you can be a savvy seed buyer and know right off if you want to use a company or not.
1. Have they taken the Safe Seed Pledge ?
2. Do they use and promote organic methods.
3. Do they sell organic seed.
4. Do they sell organic gardening products.
5. Do they define their seed well, with Latin names and delineations such F1 & OP to the degree we know what type see we are getting.
6. Do they have OP varieties for each type of crop ?
7. What is the percentage of Open Pollinated and Heirloom crops do they have overall?
8. Does their mission statement support biodiversity, organic methods, preservation of seed diversity, etc. ?
9. If they offer books, are the titles by any of our trusted authors/publishers that are in our library ? Are the topics in line with our philosophy of non-chemical growing ?
10. Are they certified organic ?
11. Do they belong to the organizations who support organic, biodynamic or permaculture methods ?
12. Has our experience with their seed been good ? Is it of good quality with high germination rates ?
13. Has our experience with their company been positive ? Are they open, do they freely and helpfully answer questions, take and fill orders etc ?
14. Does the company sell varieties that are owned by companies who engage in genetic modification of seeds?
15. Does the company actually grow the varieties they sell or use small farm seed growers?
16. If the company is buying seed from another company, are they buying from a company that meets these criteria?