I have been asked a lot this year about what seed companies we do business with, and who we recommend. Our list of seed companies below contains notes – most are heirloom seed companies, but a few also sell F1 hybrid seeds. I personally have no issues with F1 seeds, you just cannot collect seeds from them is all.
Not every seed seller grows their seeds. Ask the company if you are concerned about this, and those who are ethical will tell you where they source from.
One of the more disturbing trends the past decade has been the buying up of smaller seed companies by the large players, just as it has played out in the food industry. A flow chart that shows how bad it is, that is already 6 years out of date: seedindustry.
Always follow the money. For example, Seeds of Change, an organic company that produces both food and seed, was bought out awhile back by Mars, Inc. Does it change them? That is open to discussion of course, but once the money is taken, the company is tainted. If that is all you can find to buy, then yes, buy it…but you’d do much better supporting a small company, that is family run – and supporting local economies. Even I have changed over the years – a few years back I still bought Burpee brand, which I no longer do. However, I won’t judge if it is all you can find (and if you have only big box stores to buy seeds at locally, you will nearly always see large displays for them). Because in the end, as long as you are gardening, that is what truly matters!
Baker Creek Seeds. Baker Creek is one of the biggest players in heirloom seeds and you cannot go wrong with supporting them. We have used them for years. One caveat though – read the days needed on the seeds. Some heirlooms just don’t do well in short summers, in a Northern area. For example, certain tomatoes may never fully ripen on Whidbey Island unless you have them in a hot-house.
Deep Harvest Farm. Their organic farm is less than a mile from us. I love what they do and their seeds are for sale on Whidbey Island in various stores. Support the truly local!
Uprising Seeds. Organic seeds based just outside of Bellingham, they grown many of their seeds – and they know who grew the rest. They carry a lot of unusual such as wheat seeds.
Territorial Seed. A Oregon based institution.
Seattle Seeds. It’s your local hipster seed store – and they sell a lot of truly cool things. If you urban garden, the packets of seeds won’t overwhelm you.
Ed Hume Seeds (F1 seeds) Having visited their seed company, it truly is a business run out of love for gardening. Their seeds rarely fail, even packets that have sat in a drawer for 5 years. Some of my favorite zucchini come from them. As well, if you want seeds that grow in ultrashort summers, this is THE company to buy from.
Johnny’s Seeds (F1 seeds) If you grow in large quantity, you will end up doing business with Johnny’s, especially if you are using a seeding machine or a paper pot transplanter.
Renee’s Garden Seeds. They sell some very fun options for the garden. They are based out of California.
Strictly Medicinal Seeds. This is the only place I buy herb seeds from now. From culinary, to medicinal, to rare and obscure, you will love their seeds. The company is run by amazing people who live for growing herbs and making the world a better place. Based out of Oregon.
High Mowing Seeds. Vermont based seed company.
Irish Eyes. They are an Eastern Washington (Ellensburg) seed company that often shows up in stores on the West side. Great company to buy from.
Adaptive Seeds. Oregon based, doing heirloom seeds. They grow most of their seed, and are open where the rest comes from.
And don’t forget to save seeds from your heirloom plants you have grown, and to participate in local seed swaps!