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My Ten Favorite Seed Catalogs

I can’t help it.  I know I should stop my catalogs from coming in the mail because they do waste a lot of paper, but they make me so happy!  Really, really happy.  It’s my little vice.  I don’t have very many, but this is one of them.

I read them before going to sleep, and dream of the spring and summer, when fabulous heirloom fruits and vegetables abound!

Well, it is time to start becoming inspired, and having that little twinkle in your eye.  Let your imagination roar with the possibilities now…. before you have to come back down to reality as you begin to plot your garden for the year in just a few weeks.  No, you can’t plant 10 apple trees and 25 types of tomatoes in all sorts of shapes and sizes!  (At least most of us can’t.)  But right now, you can dream.

My Top 10 Favorite Seed Catalogs

These will all be in the US, so for our international readers, please feel free to discuss your favorites in the comments here – you come from all over the world, so it would definitely be helpful to others!

  1. Seed Savers Exchange – beautiful photos, amazing resource, wonderful mission
  2. Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply – a great resource for organic seeds, as well as gardening supplies
  3. Bountiful Gardens – heirloom, untreated, open-pollinated, these back-to-landers have lovely seeds and supplies as well
  4. Seeds of Change – my first love, these seeds are always predictably good and the catalog is beautiful
  5. One Green World – drool, drool, the fruit!  So many you’ve never heard of, so many you want to grow!
  6. Raintree Nursery – our more local equivalent to One Green World (last year we took a trip to buy loads of blueberries, tayberries, raspberries, and currants)
  7. Irish Eyes – our potatoes came from here last year, and we were very happy with the results!
  8. Abundant Life Seeds & Territorial Seed Company – Abundant Life is my preference, as all the seeds are organic, biodynamic, and/or sustainable, but its parent company Territorial Seed has more variety and sells healthy seed starts.  I believe in the past Territorial may have purchased some GMO seeds, but they have since signed the Safe Seed Pledge.
  9. Botanical Interests – last year they sent me my free and very successful amaranth, along with a few other samples, in a beautiful box with a cute garden desk calendar – so they have won me over!
  10. Nichols Garden Nursery – from the folks who wrote Bountiful Container, there are some wonderful varieties called out specifically for their ability to do well in containers and small spaces.  Also, they’re featuring 6 different seed packets for the 6 different decades they have been around – at the original prices.  So summer squash originally from the 1950s is 25 cents!

Some Others I Enjoy:

  • Renee’s Garden – a good standby, perusing their catalog is like stepping back in time
  • The Pepper Gallots and lots and lots of peppers
  • Tomatofest – hundreds and hundreds of organic, heirloom tomatoes, with a huge selection of cold-climate tomatoes to boot.  Great stuff.
  • The Cook’s Garden – expensive seeds, but the catalog is really beautiful and inspiring
  • Forest Farm - a 500 page catalog of shrubs, trees, and vines. No kidding – 500 pages
  • Whatcom Seed Company – Rare and interesting seeds to experiment with

Ok, have at it:

What Are Your Favorites?

Please share, tenured gardeners!

And get ready… new Growing Challenge coming next week…!

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21 comments to My Ten Favorite Seed Catalogs

  • Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in MO. Some wonderful, older varieties. I really don’t buy from anyone else.

  • Corrie

    I agree, Baker Creek! They are a family owned and operated little company, with a mission to preserve heirloom and historical seeds. And their catalog is beautiful! http://rareseeds.com/

    And High Mowing Seeds. Based in VT, certified organic, and dedicated to sustainability. http://www.highmowingseeds.com/

  • I wrote my first blog post ever about seeds catalogues :) They are great! I decorated a tabletop last spring with all the pretty pictures I saved from seed catalogues and Nat’l geographic… Anyhoo — Mother Earth News did a great article that lists seed catalogues by area throughout the US. You’ll get the best plants for your soil and climate if you order from local seed companies, because their varieties have been growing for generations in similar conditions — especially if you stick with the heirloom varieties. Here’s the link to that ME article: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2007-11-01/Best-Garden-Seed-Companies.aspx

  • Jeff

    Southern Seed Exposure
    http://www.southernexposure.com/

    I am from down south, so this one has a lot of heat tolerant heirlooms. I will definitely be checking out some of the ones you posted. Thanks!

  • Oooh, you’re right, you all – I forgot Baker Creek! They have some amazing varieties and they are a good company. Thanks for reminding me…. I wonder which one I should take off the top 10 list, because they do belong there! Hmmm.

    Jeff, Southern Seed Exposure – I love them, too. They are an awesome resource for those in hotter climates.

    Corrie, I’ve never heard of High Mowing Seeds – it looks like a lovely company.

    Healing Green, great list – thanks for sharing that. Y’all should check out that link – they’ve listed seed companies by state. My list does tend toward the northern, colder climates, because I agree that local seeds are better adapted to our particular climates. We also search for varieties that are grown in similar conditions. For instance, we plant tomato varieties developed in Russia, Japan, and Alaska, because they tend to do much better here. We also plant smaller tomato varieties, which tend to have a much shorter ripening period for our shorter summer here.

  • I haven’t gotten into seed catalogs just yet. I pick up my seeds from my produce (organic and local) and will see if they produce, as well as packets at my co-op. Although the seed savers sounds like a good thing so I might check them out.

  • the diggers club, in Victoria, australia – they have 3 newsletters / catalogues a year, with great articles as well as plant pics and descriptions.

  • Rob

    A lot of my faves are the same as yours!
    Seeds of change, container seeds, Raintree Nursery Riantree is a nursery and has some of the neatest trees, vines and shrubs, but no seeds, and Burpee’s and Gurney’s are among my favorites(I have been looking at Burpees and Gurney’s since i was a kid). Some of the newer ones (to me) are- Tomato Fest, (I got my window box romas from them), and Irish Eyes,I like because they are fairly local (Cle Elum, WA),I can spend hours looking at garden porn

  • Rob

    Hmmm- my post comment did not appear- suppose I had to many links(?) Anyway we like a lot of the same reads; Territorial, Irish Eyes, Seeds of Change Tomato fest are among my faves. I also like Container Seeds (not a catolog, but online source at http://www.containerseeds.com/ ) Also Like the old standbys Burpees and Gurney’s. One of my fave catalogs isn’t a seed catolog, but Raintree Nursery (http://www.raintreenursery.com/ )in Morton WA- They offer the most unusual trees, vine, bushes and shrubs.

  • Sorry Rob – looks like WordPress thought your comment was spam. Here it is!

  • This was the first year I got a peek at Baker Creek. It is beautiful. I order mostly from Nichols, Seed Savers Exchange, and Irish Eyes at this point. Raintree is good for shrubs/trees, but I have an even more local resource, Cloud Mountain.

  • I wish we got seed catalogues like that over here.

    Diggers catalogues are good but I am not a huge fan of them as a seed source. Unfortunately my favourite seed company doesn’t do catalogues at all. On the bright side they have a wonderful website which is almost as enjoyable to click through.

    Kind Regards
    Belind

  • Tree, great idea to find seeds from your local farmers! Seed Savers is amazing – someday if you start saving seeds yourself, you can become a member, where hundreds of thousands of additional varieties become available – it’s an amazing network!

    catmint, thanks for sharing that resource!

    Rob, I’d never heard of Container Seeds – looks very interesting. Maybe I’ll try out a couple varieties. Do you know anything about them? The website doesn’t say much about who they are, how & where they grow, etc? BTW, I learned about Raintree from you last year – thank you!!

    Deb G, Nichols – I forgot to add that to my list of additional catalogs I enjoy. And I took a look at Cold Mountain – looks lovely. I’m glad you mentioned it!

    Belinda, would you mind sharing your non-catalog source? I would bet catmint and other readers would be interested. We do have an awful lot of seed catalogs in the US! Isn’t there an equivalent to the Seed Savers Exchange in Australia? I seem to remember hearing about it once…

    Howling Hill, I’ve never ordered from Fedco, but I love the great information in the catalog, and they’re quite reasonably priced. Thanks for sharing that!

  • my favorite which you have not listed is Johnny’s Seeds – Albion, Maine -
    they have great selections and lots of info and growing instructions for gardeners and farmers -

  • [...] the better adapted they will be to your specific soil and weather.  I’ve created a list of my ten favorite catalogs (be sure to look at the recommendations in the comments as well), or you can visit your local [...]

  • [...] cool-weather flowers!  Or give her flower seeds for her to scatter about the yard in the spring.  Here is a list of my favorite seed companies, all of which carry [...]

  • Same as yours: Nichols, Raintree, Irish Eyes…Territorial is my favorite. I order a few tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants from them each year. They carry a lot of short-season varieties that do well just east of the Cascade crest. I’m a firm believer in matching the variety of plant to the local climate.

    Also check out The Northwest Gardener’s Resource Directory, created by Stephanie Feeney. I borrowed the local library’s copy to guide my web surfing…oh my! The ultimate in garden porn!

  • Dolly

    I used to get these great fried green tomatoes from my southern relatives. I could never quite duplicate the taste. I just discovered they were using a green tomato not an unripe red tomato. What varieties of green tomato are good for frying?

  • David Jennex

    Hi. I live in Toronto and would like to send some seeds to a cousin in Barbados. Any suggestion re suitable online seed catalogs? Thanks.

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