Recommended Seed Suppliers
Consider going paperless as all of these catalogs are available online
Inset photo courtesy Robin Carlson/Chicago Botanic Garden
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
(RareSeeds.com • 417-924-8887 fax)
Baker Creek offers 1,800 vegetable, flower and herb varieties. With a focus on preservation, it is not surprising they have one of the largest selections of seeds from the 19th century. The Rare Seed Catalog wins the prize for the most beautiful photographs, complete with nutritional factoids and culinary inspiration.
It provides a selection of 78 varieties of melon and 20 types of okra. Baker Creek also has a limited but diverse availability of live plants to ship, such as goji berries, ginger root and dragon fruit. They encourage political activism, and the catalog is written with an underlying message that we’re reaching the tipping point in the struggle against GMOs.
The Cook’s Garden
(CooksGarden.com • 800-457-9703)
Burpee acquired The Cook’s Garden more than 10 years ago, and they offer the best gourmet veggies, greens and herbs from around the world. The catalog offers seeds and plants for gourmet gardeners, with vegetables and fruits often pictured in recipes alongside culinary tips. Along with well-curated collections of helpful horticultural gadgets, there are ash-handled tools, trellising supplies, rain gauges and garden hods (a flat, wood-handled basket) to make harvesting a snap. The Cook’s Garden catalogue also offers a wide range of quality products to indulge the inner gardener-chef once produce arrives in the kitchen with canning, preserving and dehydrating supplies. If the ultimate luxury is having the right tool for the job, check out the herb snips, the strawberry huller and the new pickle slicer.
High Mowing Organic Seeds
(HighMowingSeeds.com • 866-735-4454)
High Mowing Organic Seeds (HMO) provides 100% Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified vegetable and flower seed to organic growers. A helpful key on page two of the 2017 catalog includes a tutorial on how to read individual variety descriptions. Seed definitions of open-pollinated, heirloom and hybrid seeds are aptly explained and marked throughout. Crop types are headed by general cultural information and How to Grow. Each listing is complete with the days to maturity (based on conditions in Vermont, where HMO is located), disease resistance and any special attributes of the plant, including breeder credit. Don’t miss the invaluable planting chart on the last page.
Johnny’s Selected Seed
(JohnnySeeds.com • 877-564-6697)
Johnny’s Selected Seed is a 43-year-old, employee-owned company in Maine recognizing, “Good food is the basis of our well-being, and quality seed is the fundamental in creating good food.” Widely used by home gardeners and small market farmers, the seed selection includes hundreds of vegetable, flower and herb varieties in organic and non-organic seeds. The catalogue provides so much grower’s information from novice to advanced that it’s a virtual garden education. Johnny’s provides well-tested tools for garden tasks from bed prep to trellising, season extension and cover cropping. Helpful comparison charts like the one on leaf lettuce helps gardeners select seeds based on their specific growing conditions. Charts and photos compare length, width of mature veggies: and harvest windows.
Pinetree Garden Seeds and Accessories
(SuperSeeds.com • 207-926-3400)
A year-round source for the home gardener for more than three decades, these product lines comprise a complete line of gardening gear, including soil kits and amendments, animal deterrents, bee, bat and bird products, kitchen gadgets, fragrant oils and herbal teas. There is a comprehensive compendium of some of the best gardening books available.
Seed Savers Exchange
(SeedSavers.org • 563-382-5990)
Seed Savers Exchange helped start the heirloom seed movement by locating and preserving almost 20,000 varieties by growing them and seed banking at the nonprofit Heritage Farm, in Decorah, Iowa. Their mission is to conserve and protect America’s culturally diverse, but endangered, food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing and sharing open-pollinated seeds and plants. The catalog contains an anthology of stories and fascinating anecdotes about plant history and a comprehensive roster of vegetable seeds, many of which are certified organic. Be sure to check out the heirloom flower seeds, garlic and seed potatoes. Its a great resource for seed-saving supplies and helpful guides to get started planting and seed saving.
Filaree Garlic Farm
(FilareeFarm.com • 509-422-6940)
The Filaree Garlic Farm catalog comes from a certified organic garlic grower in Washington state. They encourage placing early orders for favorite rocaboles, porcelains and purple stripe garlic.
(TotallyTomato.com • 800-345-5977)
Growing tried and true tomato varieties or venturing on to new releases and heirlooms, Totally Tomato offers hundreds of tomato varieties for the avid tomato grower. Categorized by size, shape and color, Totally Tomato is a veritable rainbow for the tomato connoisseur. Focusing on solanaceous crops, dozens of pepper varieties are included, too.
Vermont Bean Seed Company
Bush or pole. Round, broad or flat-podded. Shellers or runners. Golden, purple, filet or lima, Vermont Bean Seed Company’s catalog for home gardens has them all.