Seed Question

Where do you all get your seeds? I am going to start planting my starter packs for the spring in a couple weeks and want to make sure I am ready.

66 replies
  1. 1

    I get mine various places. Tomatoes from TomatoFest, but a lot, if not most, from either Johnny’s or Baker Creek.

  2. 2
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Burpees. It worked for my parents and grandparents.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    wmd says:

    I’ll second Johnny’s selected seeds.

  5. 5
    GregB says:

    The ashtray.

  6. 6
    FlyingToaster says:

    Peppers, chilis and tomatoes from TomatoGrowers.

    Most of the herbs from Grow Organic.

    Heirloom weirdness from Seed Savers Exchange.

    Most everything else I buy locally (Mahoney’s, Russell’s, Agway).

  7. 7
    marv says:

    Will also vouch for Burpees. Sometimes oldies really are goodies

  8. 8
    frosty says:


    The ashtray.

    The winnah and new champeen!!

  9. 9
    Duane says:

    @GregB: That made me snicker.

  10. 10
    Gretchen says:

    I like Pinetree Garden Seeds. They have a good variety, including heirlooms, and are less expensive than other purveyors, so I feel free to buy more expermental picks.

  11. 11
    frosty says:

    Try Landreth Seeds “The Oldest Seed House in America, est 1784”

    I’ve used their seeds for lettuce green beans and squash successfully. Broccoli not so much but it could be my black thumb. They sell plants locally, so I’ve grown tomatoes and peppers from those. Tried the heirloom tomatoes but again, not much luck. Perhaps if I’d paid more attention to them …

    ETA, after clicking on the link it doesn’t look like there’s much available online. Strange.

  12. 12
    Lyrebird says:

    high mowing seeds for flowers as well as lots of varieties of basil, sorrel, …they currently carry more than half a dozen leek varieties.

  13. 13
    Mel says:

    Johnny’s, Baker Creek, Seed Saver’s.

    Also, talk to neighbors who have good gardens and beautiful produce. Chances are that some of them save seeds from varieties that grow extremely well in your neck of the woods, and they might be willing to share. It’s also a good way to find local heirloom seeds suited to your soil, etc.

    It’s nice to build up a seed swap network with neighbors, and to share in ordering seeds. If 3 or 4 people chip in on cost and then split the seeds, you can order and try more varieties and there is almost no seed waste.

  14. 14

    @Gretchen: Second that. They have a nice catalogue, too.

  15. 15
    Gretchen says:

    @Auntie Beak: They do. Mine is sitting next to me right now, with circles on the first few pages. I need to make my way through the rest of the catalogue and place my order. I love Seed Saver’s, too. It’s wonderful that somebody is trying to preserve the rare varieties, and they have a purple snap pea this year I am going to try.

  16. 16

    Weird that the seed thread brought out trolls.

  17. 17
    stinger says:

    Seed Saver’s Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Johnny’s, Select Seeds, Pinetree, Tomato Growers Supply, Natural Gardening Company, Renee’s Garden, Scheeper’s Kitchen Garden Seeds, Baker Creek, Burpee — I like garden catalogs! Some sources are better for the latest hybrids, others are good for heirloom varieties.

  18. 18
    Gretchen says:


  19. 19
    Yarrow says:

    Johnny’s. For flowers and grasses try Native American Seed.

  20. 20
    Leaving Texas says:

    Southern Exposure Seed Exchange has great organic and heirloom varieties specifically adapted to the mid-Atlantic region. I live in Central Maryland and their seeds do well in the heat and drought in this area. Plus they are associated with the longest continuously operating commune in the US, so you know their product is extra granola good.

  21. 21
    Anne Laurie says:

    I don’t start my own seeds, but the lady who grows my favorite tomato plants swears by Gary Ibsen’s TomatoFest.

    Back when I was more ambitious, Johnny’s Select Seeds were very informative & provided great customer service. Their seeds always started well for me, too — under far less-than-ideal conditions. But we no longer have any window sills that the cats can’t access, and I don’t go down to the basement on a regular enough basis to keep a gro-lamp setup functioning successfully.

  22. 22
    frosty says:

    @frosty: I clicked on the wrong link. Most of them are there … but not the heirloom tomato called the Mortgage Lifter, because farmers could grow and sell so many they got themselves out of debt.

  23. 23
    oatler. says:

    From Sneed’s Seed & Feed (formerly Chuck’s)

  24. 24
    Aleta says:

    Speaking of Johnny’s, they started to offer Pinto Gold seed potatoes. They’re super delicious no matter what you do with them, and they keep well. Newly developed a few years ago.

  25. 25
    Ol'Froth says:

    Johnny’s and Territorial Seed

  26. 26
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @frosty: I feel like you’re cheating on me.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Gretchen says:

    @Aleta: What does it mean that the Pinto Gold are backordered till April 1?

  29. 29
    scav says:

    @Ol’Froth: My mother likes Territorial Seeds too, especially as they are essentially local seeds so more likely raised in a similar environment. I think there are even smaller, more locally-specific seed companies she uses but I don’t remember their names.

    ETA: Remembered another of hers, not a local one: Kitasawa Seed Company for Asian veggies.

  30. 30
    trollhattan says:

    Deuteronomy 22.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    tobie says:

    I go with Fedco Seeds. They’re a coop, committed to good environmental stewardship, among the cheapest for organic seeds, and their hand-drawn, detailed, text-filled catalog is positively psychedelic even if it’s in black and white. I keep it by my bedside just for fun reading.

  33. 33
    frosty says:

    @Steve in the ATL: LOL. I calls ’em as I sees ’em.

  34. 34
    Karen Potter says:

    Territorial; they have good germination rate, Horizon Herbs, for herbs and medical plants. Jungs, since ME is same zone as WI and I trust them have used them for 40 years

  35. 35
    opiejeanne says:

    @wmd: Johnny’s, Burpee’s, Jung Seeds, Territorial. Then I go to the local garden centers to see what they’ve got in stock that I haven’t seen in the catalogs. I mean, it’s winter, I have a pile of lovely catalogs, so I sit and make notes, put yellow stickies on the pages I’m interested in but most of what I buy online is vegetable seeds like corn (we have a short growing season so we need a specialty corn like Trinity) and cucumbers and beans and I keep a notebook for each year with diagrams of what I planted where because my memory for that stuff is shot and I plant several varieties of carrots, beans, and beets and we’re still experimenting with what grows best here. I have 10 4X5 beds, 2 long narrow beds, and one 10X20 for the corn.

    Most of the flower seeds I plant I pick up locally as well as tomato plants. It’s not worth it to start those from seeds here. The corn I start in its bed under a lightweight cloth that lets sun and rain through; I clip it to three bent PVC pipes so that the raised bed looks like a covered wagon without wheels. That comes off once the plants are more than 8 inches tall, and it keeps the rabbits off of them when they’re just sprouting.

    There are some things, flowers, that will come back year after year, like Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan) does for us. Ours is a mess right now; I didn’t cut it back when it was done blooming because the little birds love the seeds. They’re done now so it’s time. Daffodils will repeat and repeat with no attention and the squirrels won’t dig them up for food like they will tulips. Sunflowers are one of the most fun things to grow, especially the really tall ones. I don’t remember ever gathering the seed because we like watching the birds and squirrels strip them out. Shasta daisies come back, coneflower repeats, some penstemon does, pansies are the toughest things on the planet but after a couple of years of reseeding themselves they kind of disappear.

  36. 36
    ThresherK says:

    Totally OT: Anyone else getting a side ad for Six Pot Stocks Set to Surge?

  37. 37
    opiejeanne says:

    @ThresherK: I saw one about the “IMPENDING CRASH!” but now I’m seeing make-up tips for older women.

  38. 38
    satby says:

    Ahh, insomnia. I didn’t do as well with SeedSavers seeds, a lot didn’t germinate for me. Have had reliable results with Territorial, Jung, and Burpees, with occasional impulse purchases from Park that have done very well too. Once I got Park’s Biodome seed starter system my success rate skyrocketed, so I now have 3 of them

  39. 39
    Greg says:

    Burpees. And this year because we bought the festival membership and get 20% off, the Missouri Botanical Garden.

  40. 40
    ThresherK says:

    We do not garden. No space at the apartment, plus my wife has the death touch like a Disney evil queen.

    I do understand the “seed pr0n” effect, as I read “The Egg and I” while a kid.

  41. 41
    Currants says:

    Fedco seeds and Johnny’s for most things. Both are in Maine (similar growing region to mine), and for me more importantly, FEDCO is a co-op and Johnny’s is employee owned.

    I also get some seeds from Botanical Interests in CO for certain heirloom/hard to find seed. For ex, I grow black beans for drying and it takes less space if I can grow them as pole beans (Cherokee Trail of Tears I think?), and not many places carry them.

  42. 42
    Buskertype says:

    I really like Fedco

  43. 43
    Currants says:

    @tobie: YES!! I LOVED last years cover that came out in Dec post-election. When I’m done with the catalogs I pass them to a friend who doesn’t garden but likes reading them when she takes a hot soak.

  44. 44
    DSC says:

    Baker Creek Heirlooms has THE most beautiful catalog, great seeds, great service (highly recommend Aunt Ruby’s German Green and Cherokee Purples). Park seed for Julliets (a fabulous prolific won’t stop till frost tomato with great taste) and corn of the hybrid variety, and thin skinned cucumbers. John, I really suggest, as early as you can, sow a cover crop to fix nitrogen in your garden patch)–check Territorial or Johnny’s for that. And with dogs, I highly recommend Arbico Organics for Flea Eating Nematodes. ONce you get them established, all living beings in your house will thank you.

  45. 45
    Karen Potter says:

    You are going to want tomato cages, get good ones; they last for years. I use mine for tomatoes, pole beans, snow peas, cucumbers and some pepper plants that bear heavily.

  46. 46
    Karen Potter says:

    @satby: I had Jung’s seed starter kits and replaced them with heavier ones from Gardner’s Supply; ones made from light weight plastic only last so many years before cracking. So far the ones from Gardner’s Supply has lasted longer.

  47. 47
    laura says:

    Baker creek, Renees, burpee, seed savers and the seed bank (-their store is in a great old granite bank in Petaluma, but closed in Saturdays because they’re seventh day adventist).
    Also, the farmers market and garden supply and hardware stores usually have starters, but you pay a lot more.

  48. 48
  49. 49
    Bob Esler says:

    I have a large vegetable garden in Wisconsin and get most of my seeds from Jung Seeds, Seeds N Such and Pinetree. Burpee has high prices for its seeds in their catalog, but low prices if you buy their seeds at Walmart or our regional home improvment store, Menard’s. Pinetree generally has fewer seeds in their packets and lower prices. Seeds N Such offers a wide variety of tomato and pepper types along with a good selection of everything else- and, if you buy 20 or more packets, a price of $1.99 per packet.

  50. 50
    Duhkaman says:

    Maine Potato Lady

  51. 51
    ron says:

    Listen to Margaret Roach’s “A Way to Garden” podcast’s most recent couple of episodes. they all cover getting seeds and mention several places to get them from depending on what you want.

  52. 52
    chopper says:

    territorial mostly.

  53. 53
    qdat says:

    I am very lucky to have the Friends School Plant Sale available to me every Mothers Day Weekend. It’s become a tradition for my daughters and I to get multiple varieties of heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers and eggplants all started. We do save a few seeds and start our own but, because of this sale, we have favorites that we would never have thought of trying.

    So, now I’m curious, if this type of large plant sale fundraiser is typical across the US (or if there’s opportunity for some fundraiser looking for ideas).

  54. 54
    Karen Potter says:

    @Bob Esler: I used to live 40 minutes from Jung’s; my favorite part is that if your plants don’t make it they will replace with no questions asked. I once ordered enough strawberry plants to do whole new bed; 200 plants, dry year and about half didn’t make it. They replaced the whole order, and someone threw in an extra bundle of ever-bearing plants

  55. 55
    EricNNY says:

    Seed Savers Exchange

  56. 56
    Gretchen says:

    @qdat: there’s nothing like this in my area but it sounds great.

  57. 57
    Ol'Froth says:

    Not seeds, but I’ve had great success with the Square Foot Gardening method.

  58. 58
    Amy! says:

    Hmmm. No mention of Sow True Seed? . Asheville; their seeds seem to prefer a touch of mountain air (or else I’m a bad gardener, which is … well, pretty certain regardless).

    I also like to get plants from a local nursery, but that’s just the buy local bit, and some things are too much trouble (for me) to start from seed.

  59. 59
    Karen Potter says:

    @Amy!: I don’t buy from local nurseries since so many use herbicides and pesticides on plants as well as things like miracle gro; when I order plants I get from organic places that don’t use chemicals. The problem with pesticide use on plants is that they retain the chemicals and can months later still be poisoning helpful insects

  60. 60
    central texas says:

    Totally Tomatoes, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and a local organic co-op. Being well south, we have to be aware of heat tolerance and water requirements. You probably less so. I’ll check with the relatives in Clarksburg and see whether they have other suggestions.

  61. 61
    Amy! says:

    @Karen Potter : agreed on standard commercial nurseries. I’m fortunate in knowing the folks who own a local nursery (it’s in a very rural spot), and consequently being able to rely on their sustainability. I also get lazy and buy from some bigger-boxed chains, knowing that I shouldn’t, but that’s because I rarely manage to organize myself completely before it’s time to get everything in the ground.

    This thread is actually really good for me, ’cause it means I’ve got peas on the way, and if I get peas in the ground by St. Brighid’s, then it’ll be a good year for gardening. :-)

  62. 62
    Aleta says:

    @Gretchen: Guessing that it could be they don’t ship them until April because of the possibility they would freeze in the mail if there’s a cold snap?

    Or maybe it’s because of the process that’s used to produce reliable, disease-free seed potatoes? (The potato fungus being destructive of entire Maine crops, so they do testing to prevent its spread?)

    All I know about seed potatoes is that people save some of their harvest from the year before over the winter and then cut them into pieces to plant. But I don’t know if Johnny’s overwinters the potatoes at their place, and does their own process for quality, and then ships; or if they order deliveries in the spring from the place that developed them, the U of Maine organic farm. (Which would do it own processing for quality –sproutability?– fungus check, etc). In that case, I guess Johnny’s would be waiting on some schedule at UM.

    And being ag scientists, it could be UM uses a more stringent timing and testing schedule than the regular farmer.

    We’ve been buying them the last 3 years at farmer’s markets, from the UM farm. Last year the regular farmers sold them too. The crops were big (unlike the blue potatoes or the little fingerlings). I think that might mean they grow well, produce well. They are so delicious that I gave some bags as solstice/Christmas presents this year. And my housemates objected each time any left the house!

  63. 63
    Karen Potter says:

    @Amy!: I was corrupted at a very young age, my grandparents had pictures of me “helping” in garden at 2; Great grandma and I started planning garden as soon as winter solstice had come and gone. She kept journals and I did the same for years; we planned where things would go, what would sleep under ground cover and beds that were ready to expand. I was organic and self sufficient when it was a way of life not a life style.

  64. 64
    Karen Potter says:

    @Aleta: Potatoes, for years I put them back basement and what sprouted was used the next year. I had big, plot nearly 1/4 acre of yearly garden plus potatoes; I found rotation and cover crop made the world of difference. If you dig potatoes and then plant rye, it will replace what potatoes took; then put corn after that. I also “cheated” and bought Garnden’s Alive fertilizers. A couple of years the tax return paid for the expensive stuff; were you test the soil and get bags of fertilizer that supply what soil needs. I also had animals, manure is great. Who ever says gardening isn’t work isn’t doing it correctly.

  65. 65
    Karen Potter says:

    I have a book that has been of big help, “Tomatoes love Carrots” since I started using that book I had much better success with all my garden crops.

  66. 66
    Karen Potter says:

    Or maybe it is “Carrots love Tomatoes” my gardening books are packed and container gardening works differently.

Comments are closed.