Thursday, December 15, 2011

Choosing Our Seeds: Part 2

The last blog post highlighted three great seed companies.  With this post, we’ll describe other interesting options.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive directory; it’s just a list of seed companies we know and love.

Sow True Seed
A favorite regional seed company is Sow True Seed in Asheville.  They carry many heirloom and certified organic varieties that grow well in the southern Appalachian Mountains and the piedmont area (where Greenville is located).

Sow True only sells untreated seeds, which means that no fungicides or other chemicals have been applied to them.  All seeds also are open-pollinated (as opposed to hybrids), which ensures that when the purchaser saves seeds, the resulting plants normally look and taste like the originals.

Seed Savers Exchange
Seed Savers Exchange, located in Decorah, Iowa, is a leader in locating and resuscitating heirloom and historically-significant varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs.  SSE publishes a beautiful catalog with botanically accurate names and vivid descriptions of plants and fruits.  A favorite of mine is their McMahon Texas Bird Pepper, a variety grown by Thomas Jefferson, which can be dug up, wintered inside, and replanted outside the following year.  

If you join SSE (for about $40/year, or $25 for those on a reduced or fixed income), you receive a 10% discount on each order and a copy of their Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook, which lists nearly 14,000 varieties of seeds owned by members.  Its intent is to encourage seed-sharing and to connect people who have similar growing interests.

If you want a catalog where you don’t have to search for the organic seed designation, take a look at High Mowing Seeds, a small operation in Vermont.  100% of their seeds – over 600 varieties - are certified organic and non-genetically modified.   

Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
Peaceful Valley offers a line of private-label, organic seed.  One advantage of ordering from them is that they also sell other brands of seed (Renee’s Garden, Horizon Herbs and Seeds of Change), allowing you to purchase from several companies with one order form and one shipping charge.

Horizon is the ultimate seed catalog for high-quality, organic herb seeds, herb plants and tincturing supplies.   The most beautiful plants I’ve ever received were shipped by Horizon from the west coast, one of which was a horseradish plant that’s been shared with many friends over the last few years. 

Do keep in mind that the companies we’ve covered in both blogs sometimes have very different prices for comparable varieties of seeds.  Always check the number of seeds or weight of packets when you are comparing companies’ prices.

If you have any other companies you think we should know about, please share their information with us in the “Comments” section below.  It’s time to curl up on the sofa with those beautiful catalogs and a cup of hot chocolate or eggnog!

1 comment:

John said...

Thanks for the shout-out to Seed Savers Exchange, Rebecca. Fyi, you can order a free copy of the just-released 2012 catalog here: After all, tis the season for drooling over seed catalogs!